Adam Richman Shares The Best Advice He Ever Got From Anthony Bourdain - Exclusive

Adam Richman wasn't exactly a household name before he started knocking down challenges for Man v. Food, but that quickly changed when the show launched in 2008 (via IMDb). It almost immediately became a sensation, according to the LA Times, catapulting Richman into stardom. The host admits that, while appreciated, the overnight success could be overwhelming and difficult at times. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Richman explained, "no one tells you how to go from zero to 60... [from] anonymous to recognizable... to go from a consumer of pop culture to being part of it."

But Richman did get some guidance along the way, including from the food media legend himself, Anthony Bourdain. The two had an interesting relationship to say the least, and Bourdain could definitely be counted among those with a very outspoken opinion of Man v. Food. Richman said bluntly, "Tony didn't like Man v. Food. He liked me. And he made that very, very clear." Richman also shared some words of wisdom with us that Bourdain once offered him, which have stuck with the television personality ever since.

Richman got rare apology from Bourdain

To say Bourdain was not a fan of Man v. Food is an understatement. The LA Times reports that he once even claimed the show was helping recruit people to ISIS, saying "the show confirms their worst suspicions — that Americans are fat, lazy, slothful [and] wasteful," and it didn't stop there. Adam Richman recalled when Bourdain snubbed Man v. Food on The Late Show in 2011 (via Miami New Times). "He threw me under the bus on Letterman once because Letterman... [said] a lot of very disparaging stuff about me and the show." Richman said the whole thing was hurtful on several levels. "I was a Letterman fan," he told us, adding, "to hear him say such nasty stuff about me, having never met me, I mean, never having done anything wrong to him, was really hard... And then to see Tony on Letterman, and not only not defending me but kind of dog piling a little bit..."

But Richman says after confronting Bourdain about it, something rare happened. He told us "I wrote Tony this really long letter. And it was funny because our producer was like, 'I think you got the first apology out of Tony in 11 years...'" Maybe it was Richman's way with words ("I fancy myself to be a pretty good writer," he told us), but we think it was probably more than that, because Bourdain went on to give Richman some inspirational words to live by.

Bourdain helped Richman ignore the haters (including himself!)

Adam Richman suggests that one of the biggest things he's had to accept from his experience hosting Man v. Food is "a degree of hateration that's going to come your way just by virtue of the fact that you have the courage to put anything out there." And he says Anthony Bourdain helped him realize that.

After Bourdain apologized to Richman for his harsh words, the late chef and TV personality offered an important piece of advice, which Richman paraphrased for Mashed. He says Bourdain told him, "you have to acknowledge that there is going to be a portion of sick Fs that are hoping something bad happens to you, that are rooting against you." Richman says Bourdain also advised him "you have to find a way to continue to do your journey... otherwise, you risk getting nibbled to death by ducks. And you have to just block things and move on. And you have to focus on yourself and your stories."

The sentiment was especially impactful for Richman and his career, but those are wise words to live by whether you're a TV star or not. As Richman put it, "you can draw the most perfect picture of a dandelion and put it out there, and someone is going to hate it, hate you for making it, hate dandelions, hate anything associated with them. And that's got nothing to do with you."

You can watch Adam Richman on the newest seasons of Modern Marvels and The Food That Built America, both airing now on the History Channel and streaming on