The National Restaurant Association’s choice of Anthony Bourdain as a featured speaker at its recent Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show was crazy smart. Clearly it was a bid to attract a younger, hipper audience, but no matter what age you are, the guy demands your attention. Bourdain—never shy about sharing his innermost thoughts—isn’t for everyone. He’s like a car crash: some people slow down and take a look, others want to pass right by. But whatever you think of him, you've got to admit the guy is wildly entertaining. And there was no shortage of Tony at the NRA’s restaurantpalooza in Chicago. For two days he was all over the place, judging the Star of the Bar mixology contest, signing books and commanding the stage for an hour-long, one-sided “conversation.” In that hour, here’s what we learned:

• He knows he has the best job in the world. “I get to go anywhere in the world with my friends and tell a story about it. I get to get drunk, I get to curse and I get paid for it,” he boasted.

• He has little patience for mediocrity. Describing a lifeless, precooked burger at an airport-based burger joint, he said, “It was very likely not just the worst hamburger I have ever had, but maybe the worst meal….Why would any company clearly care so little about customer satisfaction as to give so little a shit?” he asked.

• Bourdain might consider McDonald’s and Burger King necessary evils, but he grudgingly admitted he admires them for one thing: “These companies give considerable thought to their products. These are carefully tested flavor bombs.”

• He is not above patronizing some of the very places he skewers. “I have a dirty, filthy little secret: my unholy late-night urge for KFC,” he admitted. He craves the mac ‘n cheese.

• His mild apology for trashing so many popular restaurant brands: “I don’t want to sound like a snob. I am a snob, but I don’t want to sound like one.”

• He values authenticity. In his travels, the meals and foods he has enjoyed the most are those with a family history. “It’s personal—these are intimate transactions. It should mean something when someone looks you in the eye and they feed you,” he observed. Similarly, he abhors knockoffs or unnecessary shortcuts. Bourdain cringes when a cooking professional suggests purchasing already-chopped garlic in olive oil, for example. And “when I see fake Italian food sold in a restaurant—food that any Italian grandmother can make in 20 minutes—that makes me berserk.”

• Yes, he has tried some esoteric foods in his travels, but he’s a piker when compared to Andrew Zimmern, who hosts the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods. “I eat a lot of dick, let’s put it that way. I’ve eaten a lot of unusual things.” He said he balances out those experiences by eating well at other times.

“But how does Andrew Zimmern do it? Poor bastard…. Zimmern eats dick, dick, dick, dick, dick all day.”

• No, he doesn’t get sick very often. The crew on his TV show No Reservations has a pool to see who will get sick first, and the culprit, he revealed, is more likely to be the breakfast buffet at the modern hotel than the food carts on the street.  His take on this? “The taco dude is serving his neighbors. He’s not going to stay in business day after day by poisoning his neighbors— that’s not a sustainable business model.”

• The standard, safe order for the road warrior crew that travels with Bourdain to exotic locations is a club sandwich; newcomers quickly learn why when they end up spending a lot of time in the bathroom. One adventurous producer went for the jambalaya, to everyone else’s amusement. “Shrimp, sausage, chicken, mussels, all cooked together. Any one of those could be the bitch of the bunch.

“It’s like getting into a hot tub at Hugh Hefner’s house after Ron Jeremy just got out: No good can come of this.”