Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Chef, author, and Emmy-winning television personality, Anthony Bourdain, has been found dead, Friday 8 June 2018 of an apparent suicide at the age of 61.
Anthony Bourdain, chef, author, and Emmy-winning television personality, has been found dead, Friday 8 June 2018 of an apparent suicide at the age of 61. He was found by lifelong friend chef Eric Ripert in his hotel room in Strasbourg, France, while filming an episode of the television series Parts Unknown.
At the time when Anthony Bourdain released his book Kitchen Confidential in 2000 I was in San Francisco, California, a place that brought together beat poets, writers, musicians, gold miners, and droves of passionate revolutionists.
Everything changed in the kitchen of the late 90's when here in Spain, Ferran Adrià was launching molecular gastronomy to the world. In the early 2000's, across the world in the United States, the New York and San Francisco cooks had had enough.
Chefs were no longer servants meant to be seen and not heard. In Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain was the first to write about what it's really like to work as a chef and the underbelly of kitchen life in a tell-all book intended to entertain his fry cook. A move which launched his career as a television personality, author, and philanthropist, he became the first poster boy for "the irreverent chef." He was honest about his past drug addiction to methadone and heroine and exposed a lot of brutal realities about kitchen life.
When it was first published, the Sunday Times called it "More gripping than a Stephen King novel".
His adventures traveling the world and his authentic, straight-forward demeanor made him a relate-able character across audiences and cultures, and a voice for the industry that was seriously lacking. His dissatisfaction was satisfying. All of the grit of the kitchen was finally exposed and the walls came down...literally. Transparency was becoming important so open kitchens started to become a thing. You actually started following chefs around to restaurants and searching out their recipes like groupies.
Anthony Bourdain was a vindication of the rights of chefs, touching the Crocs (I still don't forgive you Balenciaga) of food industry folks from top to bottom.
It seems cruelly coupled with yesterday's tragic news of designer Kate Spade, found dead yesterday of suicide. Across the fashion and food world instagram is flooded with #RIPkatespade and #anthonybourdain along with heart-breaking messages from devastated fans around the world, rocked by the passing of these icons.