This Was Anthony Bourdain's Big Break

Our favorite enigmatic idol has a lot more in his history than the glamorous traveling and eating many of us remember him by. Anthony Bourdain's life wasn't always journeying to the far corners of the earth to share an intimate meal prepared and explained by locals, or trying a delicacy in a fine restaurant somewhere in a glitzy city. According to an interview with NPR, Bourdain got his start in the restaurant industry as a dishwasher at a restaurant in New York.

Bourdain was a self-proclaimed "very angry, bitter, nihilistic, destructive and self-destructive kid" (per NPR). He preferred to hang out with people who were doing drugs, and says that's what he chose to be the "template for a personality." Up until he landed a job working as a dishwasher, Bourdain says he was lazy, and supposes that the mixture of chaos and order found in a restaurant kitchen was what he needed at the time.

Bourdain's break came from an article he wrote for a free newspaper

After dropping out of college to attend culinary school (via CNBC), Bourdain worked weekends as a cook, finally making his way up the ladder to achieve higher roles on the line in different restaurants. He spent a few years during which he claims he "bought into the whole rock 'n' roll ethic — drugs, booze, everything — and built [his] personality around it. It defined who [he] was,” (via The New York Times).

His first experience of putting his life in the culinary arts on display was through an article he wrote for the New York Press, a free paper. He wanted to write from "the point of view of a working journeyman chef of no particular distinction" (per NPR). The newspaper kept postponing publication of the article, however, and finally Bourdain's mother suggested he send it along to The New Yorker. Despite knowing it was a long shot, he submitted it, and The New Yorker ran it (he admitted the odds against that happening were "astronomical"). Within days, Bourdain had a book deal, and that, he says, "changed everything" (via NPR). Bourdain went on to star in various television shows, write numerous cookbooks, and become the sardonic yet endearing character many love and miss.