Arts preview: Anthony Bourdain on lessons learned raising a daughter and the rise of Trump

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Anthony Bourdain turned 60 years old earlier this year - not that he paused to consider the milestone.

"I didn't really stop long enough to get all philosophical," said the eternally busy television host ("Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," "No Reservations"), author ("Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly") and social critic, who visits the Palace Theatre for a speaking engagement on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Thankfully, Bourdain did take some time out from a late-September visit to Spain to chat withAlive about everything from the life-altering experience of raising a daughter to the reasons he feels compelled to speak out against Donald Trump.

You turned 60 this year. Do you find yourself drawn to telling different kinds of stories now than you did even 10 or 15 years ago?

I think that's not necessarily as much a function of age as experience. I am a father now, and that's probably the biggest difference. You're no longer the star of the movie. You have to think, "There's a little girl out there and she may hear this story someday. How will it affect her? How will it change her worldview?" That's always in your mind.

After having your daughter in 2007 did you start to see more of your parents' traits surface in you?

To be honest, yes. I was both amused and dismayed. I try to smother her by cooking for her, and I feel rejected if she doesn't like what I cooked for her. My dad was very good at being silly and pointing out the ridiculous and hypocritical things in life, and I try to be that way with my daughter.

As a parent, what's the biggest thing you hope to instill in her as she grows up?

There's so little you can do, I think. Look, if she has high self-esteem and she knows she is loved, and she's healthy with good martial-arts skills and doesn't take any shit from men, then I've succeeded.

Where do you think you got your natural sense of curiosity?

I was exposed to a lot of great music and books and films very early on in my life - and particularly the films: pirate films and Tarzan films. I saw all these fantastic worlds, and like any boy I was curious about them. I wanted to see them. I wanted to be in them. Really nothing has changed.

Do you wrestle with finding a balance between celebrating these cultures and the awareness that putting a spotlight on them could alter them in some way?

I'm very aware of that. It's something we're all aware of, and we try to be sensitive and careful. I think there's also a recognition that making television is in some way a destructive process. We're looking at things that genuinely interest me and that I genuinely love, but by putting them on TV we change them. And that worries me, yes.

Henry Rollins once said he didn't want to get stories you could just hear anywhere; he wanted to "pull them from the belly of the beast." Do you take a similar approach?

I don't know. I kind of like when you hear the same story from people from very different cultures. I find that most satisfying. Someone who is seemingly very different from you and believes very different things and comes from a very different background and mindset - and may even be your enemy - to see them value the same things and to find something in them that's very similar, I find that very interesting.

Do you find you'll often have a story in mind and once you get into it you realize there's something else there?

Every time. To deny that is the danger. To look at a country like Iran and go, "Well, you know, it's just filled with bad guys." Maybe that's easy to think that and to feel that way, but however you feel about a government or a policy - and Iran is an example of a country with a very unpleasant government - I think what a lot of us don't realize here is that a lot of the people who live there feel the same way. I can go to a country and come back and tell whatever story I want. I live in America; I can say whatever I want. But I do very much have to think about the people I was associating with back in that country and how what I say might impact them. That's something we have to take into account.

In all your travels, what's been your biggest takeaway in terms of that shared human experience?

I think that everybody is in their own way kind of fumbling and groping towards doing the best they can under the circumstances. They don't always do a very good job of it. We do terrible and cruel things to each other. It's the story of everything: We all do what we think is in the immediate self-interest of ourselves and our families.

You've spoken about how immigrants are the backbone of the food service industry, so I'm curious what you make of the rhetoric coming from people like Trump and the Republican Party.

I'm shocked and dismayed. I understand, I guess, how we got here. I can even understand why people find themselves feeling that way, but it's sickening and it makes me very, very sad and afraid.

As someone who has a platform, do you feel any pressure to speak out when you see these things?

I really try to avoid that. Look, I'm sitting in a nice hotel in Spain right now. I'm very aware that some blue-collar guy who just lost his job, the last thing in the world he wants to hear is my political opinion. But I think there are some things where you have to dig your heels in. People say all the time, "Stick with food. We don't want your damn political opinions." Well, the fact is, on an issue like immigration, where I work in the restaurant business with mostly Mexican cooks - as most cooks and chefs do in this country - that's a personal issue for me. That's something I live. It's something I have real experience with. When we're talking about Donald Trump, for instance, I'm a New Yorker, and, for better or worse, he's one of us. We've lived with this guy for 30 years. We see how he treats people; how he does business; what he says; and then what he does after he says it. We know a thing or two about this guy because we've had to live with him.

When you visited Kihachi [for a 2010 episode of "No Reservations"], Michael Ruhlman made an off-handed comment about how shocking it was to find a spot that good in the heart of Applebee's country. Do you still receive grief for that statement?

That might have been true 20 years ago. Now everywhere in Applebee's country you find some talented young chef or chefs doing good work. The world is changing. Look, I'm not afraid to look like an idiot or a snob on TV. I acknowledge that I come from New York, often with a New York-centric attitude, so for the purposes of television I will express that kind of surprise. But I shouldn't be surprised anymore. The world - particularly the world of food - has really changed. I've found punk-rock bands in Myanmar and communist China, and I've come across great restaurants in tiny little towns all across America. There are cool people doing cool things everywhere you can think of. Maybe that's the whole point. The world surprises me all the time.

Palace Theatre

8 p.m. Saturday,

Oct. 29

34 W. Broad St.,