Rest In Peace, Tony Bourdain…

By now, you’ve heard that celebrity chef and world traveller Anthony Bourdain died, on his own terms, Friday, in a Strasbourg, France, Hotel room. He was there to film an episode of the next season of his hit CNN TV series, Parts Unknown. Why he took his life remains a mystery, but we do know some things…

Bourdain and Cooper - © eater.comBourdain with his friend and CNN associate Anderson Cooper on an episode of Bourdain’s
hit TV show. Cooper delivered a warm, personal recollection
of his friend on CNN Friday evening…

I, for one, consider Parts Unknown mandatory viewing for anyone who is serious about food and the human condition. More than a food critic, Anthony Bourdain was a keen observer of cultures and customs, and simply focused his observations on the one factor that unites all people: the breaking of bread. In studying how people prepared and consumed their food, he opened windows for us into their cultures.

A genuine person…

It’s been said that Bourdain never talked down to or patronized his interview subjects. It’s true, and it’s a rare thing in this age of navel-gazing, narcissistic ‘journalism’ – especially on TV. Friends and associates uniformly comment that he was the same person, on or off camera, in public or in private. That, too, is a rare thing in this day and age. I mourn his passing for many reasons, not the least of which, because I never got the chance to meet him.

A master story teller…

Bourdain was, first and foremost, a master story teller. His first widely known achievement in that department was Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Volumes to follow included No Reservations, about his TV series of the same name, and several cookbooks. Few people know he wrote three mystery novels set in the food world and a couple of graphic novels, which showcased his interest and mastery of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He was a Blue Belt.

His TV efforts won him multiple Emmy Awards, and he even earned a Peabody.

A troubled soul…

Close friends say Bourdain complained of a troubled soul. No surprise, perhaps, considering his troubled past. He would tell you that he started on the street with nothing and got into the food world when he snagged a job as a dish washer. Once a part of the restaurant industry, he worked his way up to Executive Chef and became a noted author and commentator on food.

On the way up, though, he battled and beat heroine addiction, and was, for much of his life, a heavy smoker and drinker. When asked by an interviewer, during a promo for the current season of Parts Unknown, what had kept him running through ten seasons of the show he gave a one-word reply: ‘Alcohol’.

In a 2016 interview, he disclosed that he had been struggling with depression for some time.

Whispers of marital discord…

At least one video post in the past 24 hours suggests his latest relationship was in trouble and that, while he was on the road making Parts Unknown, his girlfriend was caught by a paparazzo behaving amourously with a French reporter on the streets of Rome. The pix found their way to the Web. Did Bourdain see them? We’ll never know.

Rest in peace…

Anthony Bourdain leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter. He was 61.

~ Maggie J.

Posted under: Chef Secrets, Food News

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