Anthony Bourdain revealing how he got his big break at 44 should be inspiration to everyone

The passing of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain shocked pop culture in a deeply memorable way back in 2018. 

When people get as famous as someone like Bourdain it’s hard to remember a time where they weren’t in the public eye.

But a video resurfaced this week, serving as a timely reminder that the success of New York’s favourite food lover was not immediate in the slightest. In fact, he had to wait a few decades until he was given the opportunity to show people what he could do.

Bourdain’s quote on the matter was featured in part of his last ever interview forFast Company the same year he died.

He details how one story publication changed his life overnight, after years of grave financial insecurity.

It took years of unsolicited article submissions and a failed first book before he even came close to becoming the figurehead of modern cuisine he remains to this day.

He shared the following:

New Yorker called and said ‘we’re running your story, we’re buying your story’. They ran it. That was a huge break for me because within 48 hours a competitor at Bloomsbury had read the article and commissioned me for the staggeringly high price of $50,000 to write a book.

“When that book came out it was immediately a bestseller and it changed my life overnight. Overnight. I mean, I was desperately in debt. Hadn’t paid my rent on time, ever. Owed AmEx for ten years without making a single payment. Owed the IRS, hadn’t even filed.

“(I) was in a very, very insecure place aged 44. Suddenly people were offering me things, offering me opportunities.”

“I was old enough and had f***ed up enough already that I just said – I realised that this is a lucky break. I was unlikely to get another. I made very careful choices in that environment and was very determined to not f*** up.

When prompted by the interviewer that it doesn’t “make sense on paper” for him to have been selective about money making opportunities, the clip concludes with the best possible reply.

“What’s good for you in the short run isn’t necessarily good for you in the long run. You know, you’re starting out as a writer. You’ve written one book and you’ve got a TV show. Somebody offers you a million dollars to represent diarrhoea medication? It’s a lot of money in the short run, but you’re always going to be that guy with the sh**s”.

It inspired Netflix to share an equally lovely clip of Bourdain sharing a pub lunch with Nigella Lawson as part of his show, Parts Unknown.

The reminder of Bourdain’s slow burn route to success has touched a lot of people on Twitter today.

Clearly an important reminder to be had there.

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