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5 ways Anthony Bourdain helped reshape the food industry

  • Anthony Bourdain was a maverick chef who helped change the food industry.
  • His death on June 8, 2018 shocked the food world.
  • Here are five ways Bourdain changed the way many people eat and think about food.

The name Anthony Bourdain evokes many emotions. From his groundbreaking book “Kitchen Confidential” to his distinctive travel shows to his death by suicide in a French hotel, Bourdain’s life was filled with intrigue, humor and, ultimately, monumental sadness.

Five years after his death, his impact still resonates. Here’s how he helped change the restaurant industry and the way we eat.

1. Don’t eat fish on Mondays

In “Kitchen Confidential”, Bourdain appeared to expose a common money-making scheme in the restaurant business – often at the customer’s expense. It would become one of his most famous rules.

He said fish markets usually receive fresh stock on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, many restaurants had fish delivered on Fridays for the weekend. This meant diners would receive five-day-old fish the moment it landed on their table on Monday.

It’s unclear whether his advice affected fish consumption in New York restaurants on Monday. Bourdain then reversed his position, telling Insider in 2017 that it was okay to go pescatarian at the start of the week: “Eat that goddamn fish.”

2. Eat out on Tuesdays

Good often follows evil. And if Mondays were a little uncertain, Tuesday brought redemption, at least according to Bourdain.

He argued that Tuesdays and Thursdays were the best days to eat out. Tuesdays were especially good because, unlike Mondays, the ingredients tended to be fresh, and top chefs were also more likely to have Sundays and Mondays off.

Again, it’s hard to say how many people have changed their eating habits based on Bourdain’s recommendations.

3. Try new cuisines

Bourdain made a seamless transition from the page to the small screen, first as host of “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, then on “Parts Unknown,” which ran for 12 seasons, between 2013 and 2018, on CNN. and won 12 Emmy Awards.

Bourdain’s shows have inspired a new generation of diners to be more adventurous in their eating habits. By following him to distant destinations, viewers were introduced to new and radically different cuisines, some of which became popular in America.

His 2002 tour of Vietnam, one of his favorite countries to visit, spotlighted pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup.

Soon after, Vietnam became the place to go and pho the thing to eat, food and beverage industry veteran Barb Stuckey wrote for Forbes.

Vietnamese cuisine is more popular than ever, with a report from the Food Institute calling the United States the “hotbed” of Vietnamese cuisine, with 8,000 restaurants across the country.

4. Eat simple, unpretentious foods

Bourdain’s taste for food, much like his rock star image, was at odds with the dining experience, and he often praised simple, down-to-earth restaurants.

US President Barack Obama (center) leaves after dining at Bun cha Huong Lien with CNN's Anthony Bourdain in Hanoi on May 23, 2016

Barack Obama leaves Bun Cha Huong Lien in Hanoi, where he dined with Anthony Bourdain in May 2016.

Jim Watson/Getty Images

In what became one of his most famous TV moments, Bourdain took President Barack Obama to an unassuming little restaurant in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam,

Scenes like these highlighted not only Bourdain’s level of fame, but also his theory of what makes good food, neatly summed up by writer and journalist Patrick Radden Keefe as “earthy, fresh, without pretention”.

His example encouraged many Americans to seek out good food in more modest establishments.

Alan Richman, a critic for GQ, told Keefe that Bourdain “helped create the circumstances in which one of New York’s most beloved restaurants is the Spotted Pig”, which he said was “known for its simple cheeseburgers”.

“I don’t know anyone who is more of a 21st century man,” Richman added.

5. Eat on the street

Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain shooting in Manila for “Parts Unknown”.


Bourdain was a big fan of street food, and he hoped to put that passion into creating an ambitious project called Bourdain Market, which aimed to emulate a Singaporean hawker center, or food court, that offered a variety of food and drink.

While Bourdain’s “Olympic village” of street food never quite materialized, a Singaporean entrepreneur named KF Seetoh took the idea and created Urban Hawker, a 17-stand taster of Singapore. At New York.


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