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Anthony Bourdain: Five of his tips for eating out

Anthony Bourdain Image copyright Getty Images

New Yorker Anthony Bourdain was not known for hiding his opinions and he had huge influence on the eating habits of many people around the world.

Through his book Kitchen Confidential, his travel show and countless articles, he gave frank advice on all things culinary.

Here are some of his tips on eating out - and two other food critics appraise the list.

1. The best day to eat out is Tuesday

"Generally speaking, the good stuff comes in on Tuesday: the seafood is fresh, the supply of prepared food is new, and the chef, presumably, is relaxed after his day off. (Most chefs don't work on Monday.) Chefs prefer to cook for weekday customers rather than for weekenders, and they like to start the new week with their most creative dishes," he wrote in the New Yorker magazine.

2. Ordering steak well done comes with a risk

A tough piece of steak found in a kitchen may be saved for the "philistine" who wants his meat well cooked, Bourdain wrote in the same piece.

"People who order their meat well-done perform a valuable service for those of us in the business who are cost-conscious: they pay for the privilege of eating our garbage. In many kitchens, there's a time-honoured practice called 'save for well-done'... the philistine who orders his food well-done is not likely to notice the difference between food and flotsam."

3. Avoid restaurants with photos

This is one for holidaymakers - when you're in a foreign country, there is a lot you can judge from the clientele and the presentation of the restaurant, he wrote in Time magazine.

"You want to go to a place where there's locals only. No photos of the food, the menu is not in English and there are people eating there that look like they go there a lot."

He gave the same advice to eating in New York - go where the New Yorkers are.

4. Dirty bathrooms are OK

"I used to say a dirty bathroom was a sign you should not be eating in a restaurant. I've learned the opposite is true. Some of the best food experiences I've ever had are places that really don't give a [expletive] about that. They know their food is good and that's enough," he wrote in Time.

5. Aeroplane food is beyond saving

Bourdain often talked about his disgust at food served by airlines. Not because he thought it was badly prepared but bad was the best you could hope for.

"The food can't possibly be that good. It can be edible at best, no matter how hard they try. The conditions that they're working in, there's not much they can do."

There was also the changing palate as a factor, he said.

"Every food tastes completely different than it does on the ground, so they have to make adjustments to it," he told Travel and Leisure.

What two food critics say about this list

His advice about restaurants showing their best face on Tuesdays is brilliant, says Brian Halweil, editor-in-chief of the Edible magazine series.

"With Kitchen Confidential first, and so much else after, he showed us the food chain that we didn't know about. How restaurants get their meat, how mentally challenging the chef business can be, and how to maximise your eating and drinking experiences.

"Bourdain showed us that food is, after everything else, about other people. You get to live in another person's shoes by eating with them. As such he inspired a whole industry of food tourism, where you sleuth out a food spot to visit even before you choose where you are staying that night. Travelling for food became a thing."


Bourdain changed the way people thought about restaurants and the way he shone a light on how kitchens are run will lead to better working conditions for many, says Corby Kummer, food writer at The Atlantic. And his writing was without equal.

"Bourdain's savage wit cut through every kind of cant," Kummer tells the BBC. "He was the champion of honesty, and of looking for yourself to find quality and taking nobody else's word - or well-done steak - for it."

Read Kummer's tribute to Bourdain in The Atlantic

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