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Why Anthony Bourdain Refused to Eat Airplane Food

Bridget McCusker
2016 SXSW - Anthony Bourdain Keynote, Austin, USA

There are probably few people who have spent as much time in the air as the acclaimed chef, author, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain in his travels to all corners of the globe. His enthusiasm to eat whatever seemingly strange and exotic foods were put on his plate inspired many palettes to become more adventurous. It’s clear that he had a taste for the unknown; his lesser-known distaste was for the infamously bland, the processed, and the predictable—namely, airplane food.

For a man whose career as we know it was founded by revealing unsavory industry secrets about the restaurant business starting with his famous New Yorker article, his reason for eschewing airplane food was pretty simple. In an interview with Bon Appetit, he said: “No one has ever felt better after eating plane food. I think people only eat it because they’re bored.” He's not the only celebrity chef who won't eat it, either. Gordon Ramsay denounced the food, citing the fact that he had worked for an airline for years and knew exactly "where it's been and where it goes."

On all those trips to far-away destinations, Bourdain surely logged hundreds of hours in the air, but thankfully, he didn’t spend it all starving. The chef laid out his perfect plan for a long flight: “I’d eat some cheese and drink myself stupid,” naming port as his wine of choice on a plane. Check out these other ways Anthony Bourdain kept it real.

If that’s not good enough advice, his last bit of wisdom regarding the matter revealed how often even the smallest philosophies of Bourdain’s became lessons in how to live, as he stated, “I like to arrive hungry.” So, there’s no special secret—the food on the plane just can’t compare to the culinary treasures you might find wherever you’re landing. Here are some more ways Bourdain changed how the world eats—just be sure to remember his advice the next time a flight attendant comes around for your order.

Related Video: Anthony Bourdain on Doing What He Loved