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Men's Health

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Anthony Bourdain's Recipe for a Good Life

The globe-trotting chef talks to WebMD about his guilty pleasures, his health habits, and how becoming a father has changed him.

Do you have a guilty-pleasure food?

KFC’s macaroni and cheese. I’m SO ashamed.

What kind of food did you grow up eating?

My mom was a good cook with a small but very decent repertoire of French and American classics. We ate at fairly adventurous restaurants for the time: Chinese, Japanese, Swedish. And of course, I spent summers in France, eating classic bistro and brasserie and home cooking.

What’s your go-to dinner for surprise dinner guests?

You’re making a big mistake if you think you can get a surprise dinner off me. My refrigerator is empty. We're going out to dinner -- or calling out for pizza. I’m a New Yorker!

What disease or condition would you most like to see eradicated in your lifetime and why?

Well, other than AIDS, breast cancer, the obvious answers ... I think it’s disgraceful the rate of morbid obesity and type 2 diabetes among children in this country.

If you could eat just one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?


What’s the worst culinary trend you’ve witnessed in your career?

Fusion. And molecular gastronomy. [Spain’s star chef of El Bulli fame] Ferran Adrià is a genius. Chances are, the guy imitating him is NOT. As far as fusion, I’d more often than not eat authentic Thai rather than fake Thai.

You became a father in April 2007. How has this experience changed your views about your own health and the health of the planet?

I try to feed my daughter healthy things -- so she has the opportunity later to make her own choices. I quit smoking for her. Because I obviously can’t smoke around her. And because -- while dying early was once my own prerogative -- I now feel an obligation as a 51-year-old new dad to at least try and be around for her a bit longer. Beyond that? My feeling is you’re on your own.

How do you relax and recharge from your globetrotting?

A beach, a palm tree, pile of books, and a beer.

Originally published in the January/February 2008 issue of WebMD the Magazine.

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Reviewed on March 29, 2010

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