58 year old Anthony Bourdain is an American chef, author, and television personality. He is known for his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, and in 2005 he began hosting the Travel Channel’s culinary and cultural adventure programs Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layover. In 2013, he joined CNN to host Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
Bourdain’s wife. Ottavia is a recently promoted purple belt BJJ competitor. She trains twice a day. Last year, she convinced him to start training at Renzo Gracie academy in New York.
Bourdain talked talks to Yahoo Sports about his enthusiasm for jiu jitsu and how he looks for BJJ academies whenever he travels somewhere for work:
“Increasingly when I’m on the road, I train at wherever the best place is and if there’s no best place, I’ll take what I can get,”
“But increasingly as I make the shooting schedule and put together a list of destinations, in the back of my mind I’m thinking ‘Can I train when I’m there?’ and if it is a place where they do have an academy, I try to arrange my shooting schedule so if I can wake up very early in the morning and go roll for an hour or two, I will.”
Bourdain has so far trained in New York, Scotland, Los Angeles, Miami and South Korea.
“I’m easily in the best shape of my life.”
“That really wasn’t the intention at all. I didn’t get into this for my health. But I thinks it’s a byproduct of (when) you come in every day, try real hard not get your ass kicked.”
About his new healthy lifestyle as a result of BJJ:
“Look I’ve had to make adjustments,” he acknowledged. “If I know with absolute certainty, as I do, that just about every day I’m going to be waking up early in the morning, going into the academy and getting my ass kicked by some 22-year-old wrestler, yeah it certainly changed my alcohol intake, I can tell you.”
“I’m not drinking anywhere near what I used to and I’m much moderate in my eating habits — because you really pay a price for misbehaviour immediately on the mat. You feel it and you pay a price in physical pain and humiliation.”
“It’s a lot like being back in the kitchen again, in my first days as a young cook where I was the worst cook in the kitchen and there was so much to learn,” said Bourdain, fresh from a workout. “And every day that I did manage to learn some tiny technical detail that made my game better, that was the kind of satisfaction that I haven’t had in a while.”
He likes the BJJ community:
“People in the BJJ community tend to be very nice and very generous.”
About what he expects from Jiu-Jitsu:
“I have to be realistic. I’m 58, I will never be winning medals against people a third my age. Jiu-jitsu will not make me younger or smarter — well maybe smarter. I will probably not live long enough to ever get my black belt. But I really deeply enjoy the process of sucking a little less at something every day.”
“I like the fact that it’s a really steep and endless learning curve. And that it’s a hard thing. It’s easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It’s certainly the most challenging physically ever.”