It’s common knowledge within the journalism industry that some people are just quote machines. Even if you’ve been living under a rock for the last 16 years, you probably already know that Anthony Bourdain is one of these people. So the staff here at instore decided to take stock of Bourdain’s time on the Show & Sell Center stage at IDDBA and revisit our favorite moments. Here are what we think were the celebrity chef’s most quotable words while interacting with the crowd:


  1. “I can tell you, you’re going to be much cooler, and certainly get a lot more play on the foodie websites by finding that $4.99 bowl of noodles in a strip mall than eating at a fine dining restaurant.”
  2. “Let’s face it, there are times in your life when you’re sitting at home, and you’re drunk, it’s late at night, and wouldn’t you pay $32.95 for a really bad burger? I know I would.”
  3. “Instagram is always a good indicator of how popular food is. Now I lead a pretty interesting life; I put some pretty cool stuff up on Instagram. Now a picture of me, let’s say in a hot tub, with Christopher Walken, an octopus and the Dalai Lama doing bong rips — you’d think that this would be a pretty interesting shot and that I could expect a lot of ‘likes.’ That’s good for about 5,000 likes. But let me tell you, I took an innocuous picture of an In & Out burger sitting by itself on a counter and it got 20,000 likes in 10 minutes. What does this tell us about the world? I don’t know.”
  4. “Kale! Kale was garbage only five years ago. Nobody wanted it, it was like a weed. Only the Portuguese ate in soup, that was it. Now everybody does. I don’t know when it started, if Gwyneth Paltrow started drinking the stuff or something, but now everyone wants kale.”
  5. “What changed? In my time, disposable income was spent on concert tickets or cocaine. Now, people — especially young people — spend that same money on going to restaurants that they otherwise couldn’t afford.”
  6. “The thought of eating raw fish 30 years ago was absolutely repellent to most people. We crossed that river a long, long time ago. Why we crossed it doesn’t matter. Did people discover the food of Japan because of a long-standing interest in Asia? No, they probably saw Sarah Jessica Parker eating sushi on Sex and the City and thought, ‘That looks good, I’ll try it.’”
  7. “The level of heat, the level of spice — the amount of just pure pain we are willing, and in fact anxious to experience, (is rising). And of course, the funk. Stinky cheeses, fermented stuff, fish sauces, kimchi — these are all products that are going to be essential flavor components that will soon be far more American than apple pie. I mean, who eats apple pie? I like it fine, but I can’t even remember the last time I ate it. Whereas kimchi — two days ago.”
  8. “(When traveling) I look and I eat what people eat. If I go to Mexico, I eat what Mexicans eat. Meaning that if there are a whole lot of Mexicans eating at a street food stall, I don’t really need to know what’s in it or where it came from. A whole lot of people from the neighborhood are eating it and seem to like it. This is a business model based on feeding your neighbors, meaning that no one’s running a successful small food business by poisoning their neighbors.”
  9. “Overall, I don’t get sick on the road. You know when you get sick on the road? This is a standard bit of wisdom we have learned: it’s not from the little taco stand, or the joint selling ‘mystery meat’ in rural India. It’s the damn breakfast buffet at the major chain hotel every single time. It’s always when someone on our team says, ‘You know, I’ve been away from home so long that that Caesar salad over there looks like a really good idea.’ And you know what? It’s not a good idea.”
  10. “I asked (President Obama) the big money question (at our dinner together) too. You know the man is not running for office anymore because he gave me a totally undiplomatic, truthful answer to this — and it’s a big question, but as a Chicagoan, I knew he had an opinion. I said, ‘Mr. President, is it ever permissible to put ketchup on a hot dog?’ and he said, ‘No! Never. Not after the age of eight. Before eight, you can have a little bit, but after that you’ve got to have a talk with your child.’”