How Anthony Bourdain Slays His Lazy Inner Hippie Every Morning

CNN‘s Parts Unknown explains why pleasurable interruptions are a slippery slope for him.

How Anthony Bourdain Slays His Lazy Inner Hippie Every Morning
Anthony Bourdain Chef, author, and TV Host, CNN’s Parts Unknown

Anthony Bourdain

Chef, author, and TV Host, CNN‘s Parts Unknown


“I wake up early. Any writing I did during my career in the restaurant business required that I do it before a 12-hour-or-more shift in the restaurant. So I’m a morning person. I try and get done as much as I can before noon. Any notes on editing for the show, or editing a manuscript, or any important conversations–those are best done in the morning. I’m at my most productive before I even have my first cup of coffee. I only get slower and stupider as the day progresses.

I’m honestly the first person on set. I’m there in the lobby waiting for the camera crew. As a chef, I spent so many years in a business with a lot of moving parts, and when I’m in a situation where there are a lot of things to do, I’m very organized. I relentlessly check and double-check that all of the little pieces are moving the way they’re supposed to be moving. Holding it together is clearly part of my pathology. I like to be in control. Even on summer vacation, I write a menu of what I’m going to be cooking for dinner.

I’m a big believer in momentum. As an ex-abuser of drugs, I’m not a person who should have any pleasurable interruptions. Inactivity, time for reflection–these are not good for me. I work a lot, do a lot of different things, but I think in some ways I’m overcompensating for the inner, hidden knowledge that somewhere deep inside me there’s a lazy hippie waiting to get out, that if I’m given the opportunity, I’d lay down on the couch, turn on Adventure Time or The Simpsons, smoke a joint, and lay there for the next six months. If I go to work, I’m going to do things. I keep at them.

I have an assistant. She’s a huge help. There’s got to be somebody to receive the emails and phone calls or my head would explode. Soon after we started working together, she became pregnant and had a child. I’d had a child just prior to that, so I understood what that meant. I structured our relationship so that just about everything I needed done could be done over the phone or by email or text. We rarely meet, though I like her very much. I don’t need somebody standing next to me with a hairbrush or telling people not to come up to me.”

Time he gets up:

“It doesn’t matter what time zone I’m in, I’m usually up at 6 a.m.” First thing he does each morning: Check email.

Apps and other assists:

“I use a Google calendar, which is synced with my assistant.” Also: “I keep lists.”



“It was pounded into me when I started washing dishes years ago that you show up on time. It’s just hugely important to me that you show that respect.”

Last thing he does each night:

“On location, I’ll have a dinner or bar scene for the show, so I will stagger home and collapse into bed. If I’m home, I’ll watch TV.”

Time he goes to bed:

9 p.m., “when my daughter goes to bed. Frequently she crawls in with us. By 10, I’m asleep.”