Remembering the talent once called "the Elvis of bad boy chefs."
Erik Tanner/Contour by Getty Images
Published June 8, 2018
Published 2 months ago
Anthony Bourdain, acclaimed celebrity chef, author, and Emmy Award-winning host of “No Reservations” and "Parts Unknown," died from an apparent suicide in France on June 8. He was 61.
Over his 40-year career, Bourdain introduced the world to foods, flavors, and communities often not represented in the public sphere. An authentic storyteller by nature, Bourdain won a Peabody in 2013 for "expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure" on his show “Parts Unknown,” which, at the time of Bourdain's death, had just premiered its 11th season on CNN.
Here, a look back at Bourdain’s life and legacy in pictures.
Juergen Frank/Corbis via Getty ImagesTHE EARLY DAYSBourdain got his start as a chef at New York's Brasserie Les Halles (pictured), after graduating culinary school in 1978. But he really broke out after writing a book, "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly," in 2000. Part confessional memoir, part industry commentary, and part advice to diners, "Kitchen Confidential," with its irreverent tone and wild behind-the-scenes stories, helped cement Bourdain's reputation: He was, as the Smithsonian once dubbed him, "the Elvis of bad boy chefs."
Tannis Toohey/Toronto Star via Getty ImagesIN THE FIELDIn 2002, Bourdain talks cuts of meat in Toronto. His TV shows, on which he often shared life wisdom along with glimpses of culinary culture, would eventually take him to every corner of the world. "If I'm an advocate for anything, it's to move," he once said. "As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else's shoes or at least eat their food. It's a plus for everybody."NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesON 'THE TONIGHT SHOW'Bourdain chats with Jimmy Fallon in 2017. “Look, I never had to behave for the camera," he once told the Huffington Post. "I’ve been really fortunate in that I guess I was hired to do 'A Cook’s Tour,' I was already a known quantity, meaning I had written a really obnoxious book and nobody expected me to be anyone that I wasn’t already.”Bleacher + Everard Photography/Corbis via Getty ImagesA PHILOSOPHY ON FOOD"To me, life without veal stock, pork fat, sausage, organ meat, demi-glace, or even stinky cheese is a life not worth living.”
Isaac Brekken/WireImageLIVING IT UPYes, his fame allowed him access to a higher echelon, but Bourdain had utmost respect for the simplicity of cooking. "The ability to feed yourself and a few others with proficiency should be taught to every young man and woman as a fundamental skill," he once said, calling cooking "as vital to growing up as learning to wipe one's own ass, cross the street by oneself, or be trusted with money.”John Parra/WireImageWITH GOOD FRIEND ERIC RIPERTThe two celebrity chefs at the 2010 South Beach Wine and Food Festival. They first met, Le Bernardin chef Ripert recalled to HuffPost, after he read "Kitchen Confidential": "He was saying nice things about Le Bernardin. I was very happy, actually, because he wasn’t saying nice things about everybody and I called him and invited him for lunch and we had lunch, we had a good time, and that was the beginning of the friendship."Frazer Harrison/Getty ImagesEMMY WINNERBourdain holding his statue in 2014, for "Parts Unknown."
Heidi Gutman/Getty ImagesINTO THE MAINSTREAMIn addition to his CNN shows, Bourdain also made frequent appearances on cooking-competition show "Top Chef" and, in 2014, was a star of "The Taste" on ABC (with Nigella Lawson, Marcus Samuelsson, and Ludo Lefebvre).Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty ImageA NEW LOVETwice-divorced and with one daughter (born in 2007), Bourdain began dating the actress Asia Argento in 2017. Their relationship, as well as accusations against celebrity chefs, inspired him to speak out against sexual harassment in his industry. "I accepted when the book came out that I was the bad boy," he recently told Slate . "There I was in the leather jacket and the cigarette and I also happily played that role or went along with it. Shit was good. People said a lot of silly things about me. People actually used the word macho around me. And this was such a mortifying accusation that I didn’t even understand it.”Erik Tanner/Contour by Getty ImagesANTHONY BOURDAIN: 1956-2018"Maybe that's enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity," said Bourdain. "Perhaps wisdom... is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go."
For resources and help: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800- 273-8255.