The world lost a great man today. Anthony Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room this morning in France at the age of 61 to apparent suicide.
The news shocked the world. Since he first hit the public eye Bourdain was always seen the bad boy chef of the culinary world. He spoke his mind, ate what he wanted and played by his own rules. He was a true rebel with a heart of gold.
Bourdain, who is most well known as a host for CNN’s travel show No Reservations and Parts Unknown he lived the kind of life most of us only dream about. Born in New York City in 1956 he was raised in New Jersey and grew up with an avid love of both literature and music. This was in part due to his parent’s influence. His mother was a copy editor and his father was a music executive.
After working the kitchens as a teenager Bourdain eventually graduated from the illustrious Culinary Institute in 1978. Bourdain spent years working the kitchens in New York including high-profile establishments like the Supper Club and Sullivan’s before become executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.
Just before taking over the kitchen Bourdain caught the attention to the mainstream media with a provocative article entitled “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” which was published in the New York Times in 1997. That article catapulted him into the spotlight leading him to write his own book Kitchen Confidential in 2000. Within a year he had his own show A Cook’s Tour on PBS which let him travel the world as a food journalist.
Since then he has spent nearly 18 years traveling the world both as a food journalist and a travel reporter for CNN and other cable networks. Despite being a rising star he never seemed to crave the spotlight. Instead he used his show as a platform to highlight parts of the world and cultures that might not otherwise get attention.
Bourdain knew the significance of food not just as a meal to be enjoyed but a gateway into other cultures. That perspective made him unique among his peers and elevated his work. He is considered by many, including the writer, to be an inspiration and a role model. His sense of adventure and passion for culture has made him an undisputed icon.