Obituary: Anthony Bourdain Dead at 61

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Anthony Bourdain found dead at 61

Beloved chef, television personality, and author Anthony Bourdain was discovered in a hotel room in France, dead on an apparent suicide. Mr. Bourdain was in France to film an episode of “Parts Unknown”, a show that introduces people to food from places that most people never visit.

Mr. Bourdain introduced people to foods, people, and places that are off the beaten path. He visited places from Michelin star restaurants to the homes of families in rural China, a three day trek from a major town. He tried any dish that was put in front of him, and even if it was something that he found unpalatable, he always thanked his host.

Mr. Bourdain began his career in restaurants, working his way up to head chef. Spending over 20 years in kitchens, there are few people who know the food business like he did. Which was one thing that led him to write his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, in 2000. His book has defined a generation of kitchen workers, opening the doors to show the politics in a kitchen, the drug use, and the brutal hours that people work. It is still the defining memoir in the field of food.

After leaving the kitchens, Mr. Bourdain started his many seasons of No Reservations on the Travel Channel. There he highlighted obscure cuisine and unknown restaurants.  His next show, Parts Unknown, focused more on the people and places that he visited. He ate noodles and beer in a restaurant in Hanoi with President Obama and discussed things like fatherhood and and relations between Vietnam and the United States. This was one of the most known and beloved episodes of Parts Unknown, showing people bonding over food, showing that food is the thread that connects all people.

Mr. Bourdain was 61 and left behind a daughter, Ariane, and his girlfriend, Asia Argento, as well as his two ex wives. But more importantly, he left behind a legacy. He taught people about places and people and foods that the majority of the world didn’t know about, let alone visited.

A dear friend wrote an eulogy that beautifully encompasses his life and his demons.

© Anthony McConnell 2018

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Robin LynnObituary: Anthony Bourdain Dead at 61