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5 Things Celeb Chef Dad Anthony Bourdain Thinks About Kids

Photograph by PacificCoastNews.com

TV star, celebrity chef and businessman Anthony Bourdain loves a good challenge. So how did he fare when he became a father at 50?

"Kids are great, because they are always watching, they are merciless in their observations," he says. "You quickly learn they absorb and remember everything, and will play it back to you when it suits them," Bourdain told me when I interviewed him at the recent Cayman Cookout, an annual celebrity chef-fueled weekend on the Cayman Islands and the only food festival the notorious critic of celebrity chef enterprises is associated with.

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"My daughter is very lawyerly in her arguments, much like I was, but I think the biggest change when you become a parent is that you are instantly no longer the star of your own movie, and you joyously give that up," he said. "You think, thank god, that was a burden. You know it's not about 'me' anymore at all."

Bourdain and I hit on some of the hot parenting topics, including kids in restaurants, travel with babies and raising little girls. Here are four more things that were on his mind that day.

1. On food and travel

"My daughter, Ariane, is 8. She grew up on planes and in restaurants from the time she was 3 months old. She has been to many, many places and, to her credit, we've never forced her to like things. But the fact is, with an Italian mom and grandparents, and seeing her dad on TV eating all sorts of weird stuff (she's obsessed with Andrew Zimmern), she is very open about food. Our big father/daughter show we will watch together is 'Cutthroat Kitchen.' She adores that show. She's likely to grab the thing on the table that you would think would be the most un-likey thing on the table for a kid to go for."

2. On kids crying at dinner

"She's never made a scene at a restaurant, never cried at a restaurant, disturbed anyone else's time, which is an unpardonable sin, by the way. I'm a big believer in when the little brat starts to cry—OUT."

3. Why weird is good

"She's a weird kid with weird parents. She goes to school with a lot of kids with very differing backgrounds who come from different places. She understands that not everyone lives like her. She's traveled a lot and enjoyed it, and I like to think that has given her a restless and curious mind. I encourage that in every way I can."

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4. His duty as a dad

"She's been training jiu-jitsu since age 4. My soul duty as a parent and as a father, particularly raising a little girl who is going to grow up to be a young woman, is that she will never look to men for affirmation, or anyone else for affirmation or self-worth or be physically intimidated by anyone. My daughter spinning arm bars is a thing of envy—Ronda Rousy quality."

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