Anthony Bourdain is back on Sept. 28 on CNN with Season 4 of Parts Unknown. In advance of that, the adventure travel chef discusses drugs, alcohol, hedonism and his favorite remedy for a hangover in an interview with Men's Journal.
On Alcohol: I like to have fun. I do take intense joy in self-indulgence. But I’m honestly pretty disciplined. You see me drink myself stupid on my show all the time. And I have a lot of fun doingHs that. But I’m not sitting at home having a cocktail. Never, ever. I don’t ever drink in my house. I don’t even drink beer in my house. During summer vacation, maybe I’ll have some beers while I’m grilling in the back yard, because it’s part of the experience. I’m pretty moderate in my vices: When I indulge, I indulge. But I don’t let it bleed over into the rest of my life. I have shit to do. I caught a bunch of lucky breaks, I’m not going to fuck it up. That’s an important lesson to learn. Or at least an important thing that I understood after Kitchen Confidential came out. I was 44, I was uninsured, I was broke and I was dunking fries into a fast-food fryer. I understood that I got a pretty lucky break here, and that it was statistically unlikely to happen again. I’ve been pretty careful about not fucking up the opportunities that have come since.
Bourdain's Hangover Cure: This is something I learned very early. I mean, if I’ve got to wake up and go to meetings tomorrow morning, I’m not getting hammered tonight if I can avoid it. I know - I’ve learned. So the thing is: Schedule. Schedule your hangover. Wake up as soon as you can.
'A cold Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Wash down a couple of aspirin. Smoke a joint. And the joint will help you to develop an appetite at which point have some really spicy food. Some spicy leftover’s. Kung-pao Chicken would be perfect.'
On Drugs: I was a long-time drug addict, and one of the things drug addiction did, especially when you have to score cocaine or heroin every day on the streets of New York - you learn a lot of skills that are useful when dealing with Hollywood or the business world. In a world full of bullshit, when you need something as badly as drugs, your bullshit detector gets pretty acute. Can I trust this guy with money? Is this guy's package going to be all he says it was? It makes it a lot easier to navigate your way through Hollywood when you find yourself at a table and everybody says, “We’re all big fans of your work.” Well, none of you motherfuckers have actually read it. You don’t fall victim to amateur bullshit when you’ve put up with professional bullshit. My bullshit meter is very finely tuned, and you learn to measure your expectations.
On Hedonism: Look, I understand that inside me there is a greedy, gluttonous, lazy hippie - you know? I understand that free time is probably my enemy. That if I’m given too much free time to contemplate the mysteries of the universe, I’m afraid of that inner hippie emerging.
'There’s a guy inside me who wants to lay in bed and smoke weed all day, and watch cartoons and old movies. I could easily do that.'
My whole life is a series of stratagems to avoid, and outwit, that guy. I make sure I commit to projects based on: Will they be interesting? I like to keep momentum going. I’m aware of my appetites, and I don’t let them take charge. It goes back to heroin: If heroin, or delicious delicious food, is the No. 1 thing on the to-do list every day, there probably won’t be a No. 2 thing on your to-do list. You know?