“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom...is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.” ― Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain, a man that became famous for his blunt, entertaining tales of being a chef yet left a legacy far greater than that. He was a complex figure that made an impact on culture and society that supersedes his impact on the culinary arts. Sadly, Bourdain took his own life on June 8, 2018 before he could continue to leave his mark on the world. Let’s take a little bit closer look at the man that so many have come to revere.
- Born in New York City to a French-Catholic father and Jewish mother.
- Bourdain grew up spending his summers in France and spoke fluent French.
- He spent time cooking in restaurants in Provincetown, MA which inspired him to seek out cooking as his career.
- He attended the Culinary Institute of America and eventually made his way to executive chef at Brassiere Les Halles in Manhattan.
- In 1999, The New Yorker published Bourdain’s “Don’t Eat Before Reading This” which catapulted him into the public spotlight.
- The article in The New Yorker was the foundation for his 2000 bestseller “Kitchen Confidential.”
- In 2002, he made his way into television with “A Cook’s Tour.” The show ran for 35 episodes.
- In 2005, “No Reservations” launched which hit the world by storm and earned an Emmy-nomination.
- Bourdain and his crew were stuck in Lebanon during the Israel-Lebanon conflict of 2006. The team was eventually evacuated by the USMC but the episode went well and beyond cuisine and remains one of Bourdain’s shining moments.
- Bourdain was married twice.
- Bourdain took up jiu-jitsu after his second wife began to take the sport seriously. Bourdain would earn a blue belt and compete and win gold at an IBJJF event.
- After his second divorce, he began dating Italian actress Asia Argento.
- Bourdain was an advocate for many social and political causes prior to his death.
- Bourdain was a former drug user who gave up hard drugs and instead focused on his career and jiu-jitsu in the later years of his life.
- Bourdain took his own life in a French hotel room. The act was said to be impulsive and the narcotics report showed no signs of drug use.
- Following his death, hundreds of celebrity tributes were given including from former US president Barack Obama who had famously shared a meal with Bourdain while in Vietnam together. Obama said of Bourdain: “He taught us about food—but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown.”