7 Things You Might Not Know About Anthony Bourdain

getty images
getty images

As one of the world’s most famous chefs and television personalities, Anthony Bourdain lives out much of his life in front of the camera. But there’s still plenty you might not know about everyone’s favorite bad boy chef.

1. HE GREW UP WANTING TO BE A COMIC BOOK ARTIST.

“Until I was in my mid-teens, I wanted to be a comic book artist,” Bourdain told US Weekly. “I can draw pretty well.” Though his career eventually took him down the culinary road instead, in 2012 Bourdain returned to his comic book roots when he co-wrote (with Joel Rose) the graphic novel Get Jiro! for DC Comics. The comic book, which Bourdain described as “set in near-future L.A., where warring clans of chefs with differing ideologies slaughter each other in the streets,” rose to the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

2. A CHILDHOOD VACATION TO FRANCE IGNITED HIS LOVE OF FOOD.

In Bourdain’s bestselling book, Kitchen Confidential, he shared that it was during a childhood trip to France that he first fell in love with food. He recalled how their neighbor, an oyster fisherman named Monsieur Saint-Jour, invited his family out on his boat, and invited the family to partake in some fresh oysters. “I, in the proudest moment of my young life, stood up smartly, grinning with defiance, and volunteered to be the first,” Bourdain wrote. “I took it in my hand, tilted the shell back into my mouth as instructed by the by now beaming Monsieur Saint-Jour, and with one bite and a slurp, wolfed it down. It tasted of seawater … of brine and flesh … and somehow … of the future.”

3. HE GOT HIS START AS A DISHWASHER.

In a 2014 episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain paid a visit to Provincetown, Mass., a tiny town at the tip of Cape Cod, and the place where he decided to pursue a career in cooking. But Bourdain’s first stop wasn’t behind the line; it was standing over a sink full of dirty pots and pans at the legendary Lobster Pot restaurant. “Many of the old places and people now are gone,” Bourdain said, “but the Lobster Pot is still going strong all these years later … My friends worked in the kitchen, starting the tradition. The cooking work was noble toil. At that point, I never intended a career as a chef.”

4. HE MADE HIS TELEVISION DEBUT ON MOLTO MARIO.

Long before he was a television personality in his own right, Bourdain made his small screen debut playing dinner guest to fellow celebrity chef Mario Batali. Bourdain was one of three guests on a 2002 episode of the series … and did not speak the entire time.

5. HE HELPED LAUNCH BRADLEY COOPER’S CAREER.

In 2005, Bourdain’s book Kitchen Confidential was adapted into a television series about “a bad-boy chef” named Jack Bourdain who “runs wild in his New York City eatery.” Bradley Cooper played the chef, who was based on Bourdain. And while the series only lasted a year, it helped introduce Cooper to the masses. 

6. HE WAS A WRITER ON TREME.

In 2011 Bourdain added yet another gig to his growing resume when he signed on to become a staff writer for David Simon and Eric Overmyer’s post-Katrina New Orleans-set series, Treme. Bourdain was responsible for the series’ restaurant-centric storylines, which often included cameos from real-life celebrity chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Eric Ripert, and Tom Colicchio. “I’ve said many times, and believe it absolutely, that The Wire was the single greatest achievement of the television medium,” Bourdain said at the time. “So when suddenly I get a phone call from David Simon inviting me to lunch and asking me if I’d be interested in working on [Treme], it really was like being a lifelong Yankees fan and having Joe DiMaggio call up and say, ‘How about we throw the ball around in the back yard.’ It was really that out of the blue, that seismic of an event for me.”

7. ONE OF THE MOST DISGUSTING THINGS HE HAS EVER EATEN IS A CHICKEN MCNUGGET.

Though he’s indulged in his fair share of none-too-appetizing-sounding delicacies (lightly grilled warthog rectum anyone?), Bourdain claims that the Chicken McNugget is one of his most stomach-churning foods. “Given the choice between reliving the warthog experience and eating a McNugget, I'm surely eating the McNugget,” he told The AV Club. “But at least I knew what the warthog was. Whereas with the McNugget, I think that's still an open question. Scientists are still wondering.”

8 Facts About Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Bloomsbury Children's Books via Amazon
Bloomsbury Children's Books via Amazon

Longtime Harry Potter fans who feel like first-years at heart may find it hard to believe, but the books have been around for decades. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the third installment in J.K. Rowling’s fantasy series, which follows Harry as he faces Dementors, investigates the mysterious Sirius Black, and gets through his third year at Hogwarts.

From Rowling’s writing process to how it changed The New York Times Best Sellers list, here are some facts you should know about the wildly popular book.

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was J.K. Rowling’s "best writing experience."

In a 2004 interview with USA Today, Rowling described the creation of Prisoner of Azkaban as “the best writing experience I ever had.” This had more to do with where Rowling was at in her professional life than the content of the actual story. By book three, she was successful enough where she didn’t have to worry about finances, but not yet so famous that the she felt the stress of being in the public eye.

2. The Dementors represent depression.

Readers who live with depression may see something familiar in Prisoner of Azkaban’s soul-sucking Dementors. According to the book, “Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you. If it can, the Dementor will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself ... soulless and evil. You will be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life."

Rowling has stated that she based the Dementor’s effects on her own experiences with depression. "[Depression] is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again," she told The Times in 2000. "The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it's a healthy feeling. It's a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different."

3. Rowling regretted giving Harry the Marauder’s Map.

In Prisoner of Azkaban, the Marauder’s Map is introduced as a way for Harry to track Sirius Black and learn of the survival of Peter Pettigrew. But this plot device proved problematic for Rowling later on this series. In Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, she wrote, “The Marauder’s Map subsequently became something of a bane to its true originator (me), because it allowed Harry a little too much freedom of information.” She went on to say that she sometimes wished she had made Harry lose the map for good in the later books.

4. Rowling was excited to introduce Remus Lupin.

One of the aspects Rowling most enjoyed about writing Prisoner of Azkaban was introducing Remus Lupin. The Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and secret werewolf is one of the author's favorite characters in the series, and as she told Barnes & Noble in 1999, “I was looking forward to writing the third book from the start of the first because that's when Professor Lupin appears.”

5. Crookshanks is based on a real cat.

Harry had Hedwig the owl, Ron had his pet rat Scabbers, and in book three, Hermione got a pet of her own: an intelligent half-Kneazle cat named Crookshanks. J.K. Rowling is allergic to cats, and she admits on her website that she prefers dogs, but she does have fond memories of a cat that roamed the London neighborhood where she worked in the 1980s. When writing Crookshanks, she gave him that cat’s haughty attitude and smushed-face appearance.

6. Prisoner of Azkaban was the last Harry Potter book Americans had to wait for.

Harry Potter fans based in America will no doubt remember waiting months after a book’s initial release in England to buy it from their local bookstore. Prisoner of Azkaban was the last Harry Potter book with a staggered publication date: Beginning with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the rest of the books in the series were published in both markets on the same date.

7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban broke sales records.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban sold 68,000 copies in the UK within three days of its release, making it the fastest-selling British book of all time in 1999. The book has since gone on to sell more than 65 million copies worldwide and helped make Harry Potter the bestselling book series ever.

8. It changed The New York Times Best Sellers List.

For part of 1999, the first three Harry Potter books—Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (which is known as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone pretty much everywhere besides America), Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban—occupied the top three slots on The New York Times Best Sellers list. It didn’t stay that way for long, though: Prisoner of Azkaban was the book that pushed the paper to create a separate list just for children’s literature, leaving more room on the original list for books aimed at adults. That’s why Harry Potter is missing from the famous bestsellers roundup during the 2000s, despite dominating book sales at this time.

Game of Thrones Star Emilia Clarke Turned Down the Lead in 50 Shades of Grey

Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images
Dia Dipasupil, Getty Images

Though Emilia Clarke is undoubtedly best known for her starring role on Game of Thrones, she has landed some other plum parts over the past several years, including Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys, the role of Qi'ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story, and the lead in Phillip Noyce's upcoming Above Suspicion opposite Jack Huston. But there's one major role Clarke passed on, and has no regrets about it: Anastasia Steele in the 50 Shades of Grey franchise.

The movies, based on E. L. James's erotic book series, trace the sadomasochistic/romantic relationship between college graduate Anastasia Steele and millionaire businessman Christian Grey. Both the books and the movies have garnered a lot of criticism for their graphic nudity and sex scenes. While Clarke is no stranger to appearing nude on film for her role as Daenerys Targaryen, she said that 50 Shades of Grey would have taken her too far out of her comfort zone.

“There is a huge amount of nudity in the film,” the British actress told The Sun of her reasons for not wanting to get involved with the film series. “I thought I might get stuck in a pigeonhole that I would have struggled to get out of.”

Even without 50 Shades of Grey on her resume, Clarke says she has dealt with a lot of negative backlash because of the nudity in Game of Thrones. “I get a lot of crap for nude and sex scenes,” the 32-year-old star said. “Women hating on women. It’s so anti-feminist.”

When we last left Daenerys, she seemed to be getting serious about Jon Snow—who, unbeknownst to the two of them, is her nephew. We'll see how that unpleasant discovery plays out when Game of Thrones returns on April 14, 2019.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER