"I like filling little plastic containers with delicious things," says the Parts Unknown host

Credit: Source: Anthony Bourdain Instagram

Anthony Bourdain: chef, world traveler and … lunch box-packer extraordinaire?

“I like filling little plastic containers with delicious things,” says the father to Ariane, 9, in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “My daughter sometimes challenges me to not repeat myself, so it’s something different every day.”

Bourdain, 60, will whip up everything from Spam musubi to braised rabbit to pasta carbonara. “I love sending her to school with stuff other kids don’t have and never will have,” he says.

If Ariane can join in on the preparation, all the better—for her at least. “Anything she can cook with me, she’s very happy, though it makes me nervous,” says the author of the new cookbook Appetites. “She’s been cooking with me since she was seven. The first time she picked up a knife, for a dad that’s a terrifying thing, but I taught her well so so far so good.”

At home in New York City, these mundane tasks are a welcome change from Bourdain’s busy life on the road. “If I’m not traveling, I’m pretty much doing jack s— on a Friday night, ” he says. “I’m not going to the hot new restaurant. I’m not walking a red carpet. I’m cooking something that my daughter decides she wants, or staying very close to home.”

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For more on Bourdain, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.

If he does go out, it’s decidedly low-key, like grabbing a “decent bowl of pasta” with friends, or eating grilled steaks at Eric Ripert’s home. “Now I go to bed ridiculously early,” says Bourdain. “When my daughter goes to sleep, I’m out. I’m done.”