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20 Lessons we can learn from Anthony Bourdain to perpetuate his legacy

Bourdain samples a home cooked meal offered by the Hausa people in Lagos, Nigeria

  1. Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.
  2. Without new ideas success can become stale.
  3. You can learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.
  4. Under “reasons for leaving a job”, never give the real reason, unless it’s money or ambition.
  5. If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.
  6. If I am an advocate for anything, it is to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. It’s a plus for everybody.
  7. Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts; it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
  8. I don’t have to agree with you to live you or to respect you.
  9. Don’t lie about it. You’ve made a mistake. Admit it. Move on. Just don’t make it again. Ever.
  10. I’m a big believer in winging it. I’m a big believer that you’re never going to find perfect city travel experience or the perfect meal without a constant willingness to experience a bad one. Letting the happy accident happen is what a lot of vacation itineraries miss, I think, and I’m always trying to push people to allow those things to happen rather than stick to some rigid itinerary.
  11. Open your mind. Get off the couch. Move.
  12. Luck is not a business model.
  13. It’s very rarely a good career move to have a conscience.
  14. Good food is very often the simple the simple food.
  15. If you look someone in the eye and call them a ‘fat, worthless, syphilitic puddle of badger crap’, it doesn’t mean you don’t like them. It can be – and often is – a term of endearment.
  16. The way you make an omelette reveals your character.
  17. Context and memory play powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life
  18. Without new ideas, success can become stale.
  19. Cooking skills are a virtue, that the ability to feed yourself and others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and women as a fundamental skill, as vital as growing up, learning to wipe one’s own ass, cross the street by oneself or to be trusted with money.
  20. There is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom is realising how small I am, and unwise, and how fair I have yet to go.
WTM Africa 2020