It’s really been an awful week. We started it with the sad news of Kate Spade’s suicide, and now we’re ending it with the extremely shocking news that culinary legend Anthony Bourdain has been found dead of what reports are describing as a suicide.
CNN says Anthony was in France filming the latest season of his Emmy and Peabody Award-winning television show Parts Unknown. He was reportedly found unresponsive in his hotel room by his good friend, French chef Eric Ripert. He was 61 years old.
He is survived by his 11-year-old daughter Ariane, and his girlfriend Asia Argento.
Anthony was born in New York City, and went on to work in and run various kitchens. He began writing about food and cooking, like for The New York Times. From 2000 to 2016, he published eight books about food, including his popular memoir Kitchen Confidential. In 2002, the Food network got inspired by Kitchen Confidential and gave Anthony his first TV show, A Cooks Tour. That was followed by the Travel channel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, which saw Anthony touring the world (most times on a motorcycle) eating simple, local foods.
In 2013, he left the Travel channel for CNN with Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. Through his shows, he became an advocate for traditional or “peasant” foods, especially those in developing countries. CNN has released the following statement regarding Anthony’s death:
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
Several food world people have also tweeted their condolences.
Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain. He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food. Remember that help is a phone call away US:1-800-273-TALK UK: 116 123
— Gordon Ramsay (@GordonRamsay) June 8, 2018
RIP doubtful. Tony’s restless spirit will roam the earth in search of justice, truth and a great bowl of noodles. @Bourdain
— Tom Colicchio (@tomcolicchio) June 8, 2018
I am shocked and deeply saddened. RIP to a father, partner, chef, writer, and incredibly talented man. @Bourdain ❤️ Prayers for his loved ones.
— Antoni Porowski (@antoni) June 8, 2018
Anthony was considered by many to be the “bad boy” of the food world, which I want to believe was shorthand for saying he was a devastating hunk that swore like a sailor. But really, it was most likely because he didn’t follow rules and pushed boundaries. Possibly combined with the fact that he used to be a hardcore boozer and drug user. In recent years, he was clean from drugs, and spoke publicly about the current opioid epidemic. He was also a very vocal champion of the #MeToo movement, like publicly supporting Asia Argento after she spoke about her alleged assault by Harvey Weinstein, and speaking out against fellow chef Mario Batali’s alleged behavior.
But of course, some of us will always remember Anthony Bourdain for the amazing amount of attitude he could lay on other chefs and food, like my personal favorite of his targets, Guy Fieri, or Chicken McNuggets. Apparently Anthony thought Chicken McNuggets were one of the most disgusting foods ever made. Normally I like to wrap up my Friday with a six-piece and a BBQ sauce, but tonight I’ll respectfully abstain.
Rest in peace, Anthony.