When he’s not traveling the globe eating things like jellied foie gras and pit-roasted goat on his hit CNN travel show Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain is perfectly happy tucking into a cardboard box full of chicken from Popeyes. The Kitchen Confidential author has professed his love for the chain several times over the years, and in a new People profile, he brings a reporter along to the last remaining buffet-style location of Popeyes in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he orders a spicy fried chicken dinner with mac and cheese, biscuits and gravy, and a large Dr Pepper.
“To me, Popeyes is exotica,” Bourdain remarks. “I was eating noodles and roast goose and Chinese food for the past 10 days. So to be back and eat some Americana food, well, I will weep with gratitude at macaroni and cheese.” In an accompanying video, the the author/TV host also says that he will sometimes pull a hoodie over his head and sneak down to Popeyes late at night to score some mac and cheese. Despite the quasi-disguise, Tony often gets recognize by fans on these junk food runs, which is not ideal. “Have you ever been caught coming out of a porn shop?” Bourdain quips. “It’s embarrassing.”
Elsewhere in the People profile, Bourdain explains that Parts Unknown shoots typically take about 10 days per location, and he breaks up filming with short trips back home to New York. “I’ll go back, see my daughter, unpack, repack, mimic a normal life, which is extraordinarily pleasurable to me,” he says. Tony typically spends around 250 days a year on the road.
The TV star writes his own narration for Parts Unknown, but there’s no other formal script for the show — Bourdain just researches each location and wings it once he arrives. Typically, when the Parts Unknown team shoots a meal scene, the cameras will start rolling well before the host arrives so all of the guests will be comfortable with the TV crews by the time he shows up. “Ideally I shut up and let other people talk,” Bourdain remarks. “Or if I ask a lot of stupid questions, we’ll edit those out.”
Although Tony has spent much of the last 16 years shooting TV shows, he shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. “I would have had a different answer a few years ago,” Bourdain says. “I might have deluded myself into thinking that I’d be happy in a hammock or gardening. But no, I’m quite sure I can’t. I’m going to pretty much die in the saddle.”