On Friday Morning, the extremely talented chef, author, story-teller & television sensation Anthony Bourdain was found unresponsive in his French Hotel room by friend & french chef Eric Ripert. Per CNN the cause of death was suicide.
Regarded by The Smithsonian as, “the Elvis of bad boy chefs” Bourdain was such an incredible & progressive talent. Using his platform in his travels to not only discuss food but touch on the culture, issues & more importantly the people effected by those issues. Bourdain had such a unique way in his story telling to make you feel as though you were there & experienced it yourself. The best attribute featured during Bourdain’s travels was how real & raw he was in story telling.
It wasn’t always sunshine & rainbows for him though. In his 2000 memoir, Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain touched on his journey through the culinary world fueled by sex & drugs. Now to some that might just sound like a great time, for Bourdain it could have ended what was an incredible career before it even started. In his 2014 Parts Unknown episode in Massachusetts, Bourdain briefly discussed his early days in the kitchen & his discovery of Heroin.
Publicly critical of celebrity chefs such as Paula Deen, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri & Rachael Ray for how much they commercialized their status as celebrity chefs. The very same sentiment was the root cause of him leaving the Travel Channel in 2012. In 2013 Bourdain’s absolutely incredible series, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, Premiered.
Parts Unknown really embraced his profanity & booze laced rock star personality. Traveling to normal locations such as, Jamaica, Miami, Hawaii & many more essential travel destinations he did way more than just sit pretty & eat great food. Bourdain got personal with the actual locals, rolled up his sleeves & embraced the actual culture that the majority of viewers would never even consider. Aside from those major locations Bourdain traveled to many locations that, by many, would be considered dangerous or just down right undesirable. Places that by the end of his journey you say to yourself, “wow that was amazing, I would totally go there.” Places misunderstood, where if you didn’t have ties of heritage or religion to you might find it best just to keep your fat ass on the couch. Places like, the Congo, Iran & Russia to name a few. His ability to connect to those hosting him & make it relatable to the viewer was such a precious commodity that will long be missed. I know that after watching him on television & reading one of his books I really would have loved to be somewhere random like Lake Tahoe, walk into a dive bar & see Bourdain parked at the stool at the end because that seemed like it was actually possible. He seemed like a person you could just park next to & start having a mind-blowing conversation with. Just ask Barack Obama that’s exactly what he did in Hanoi during the filming of a 2016 episode of Parts Unknown. Certainly not one to bite his tongue or to be short on sarcasm. I know that what Just Grubbin is all about is something he could have gotten down with.
As a child of a mother that was ultimately defeated by Heroin it was incredible to see the career that Bourdain had & perhaps made me like him even more because he was seemingly able to escape those demons that come with addiction. However, as I sit here begrudgingly typing this article, I know that is not true. Mental health is a problem, but it’s not just a problem for those going through issues related to their mental health. It’s everyone’s problem. As someone who experiences mental health issues it’s ok not to feel ok. If you need help please, I beg you, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Featured image h/t Mario Tama/Getty Images
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