One might think that the late Anthony Bourdain was fearless. After nine season of No Reservations and seven seasons of Parts Unknown, the celebrity chef had seen and tried it all. He swallowed a beating, bloody cobra heart in Vietnam, had be be evacuated when conflict broke out in Beirut, and had been pushing to film in unstable Afghanistan for years. But despite all of his exotic experiences, one destination always scared him — Switzerland.
That’s right. Bourdain once told Conan O’Brien on Conan, “I have a morbid fear of everything Swiss.”
Yes, Switzerland. The country most famous for neutrality, cheese, and chocolate.
“I must have had some terrible childhood experience while watching Sound of Music that I blocked out,” Bourdain half-joked. “Even alpine vistas, like snow-capped peaks or Lake Geneva, or cuckoo clocks or those hats with the feathers — even the cheese; it’s scary to me.”
Like most irrational fears, Bourdain couldn’t explain why Switzerland freaked him out, but he did mention yodeling specifically. “You just feel that in your marrow… It’s horrifying.”
And sure enough, Switzerland never appeared in a single episode featuring Bourdain. He gladly shot in countries with unsanitary conditions and political turmoil, but not once in Switzerland.
And as for his favorite?
Bourdain shot more episodes in Japan than any other country, which makes sense. He once told National Geographic that, “If I had to die mid-meal anywhere, it would be Tokyo.”
Also try, 9 Bourdain quotes on food and eating.