Celebrity chef Bourdain dead at 61
PARIS, June 9, (Agencies): Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef and citizen of the world who inspired millions to share his delight in food and the bonds it created, was found dead in his hotel room Friday in France while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions. He was 61. CNN confirmed the death, saying that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert, and the company called the death a suicide.
A prosecutor in eastern France said Bourdain apparently hanged himself in a luxury hotel in the small town of Kayserberg on the Alsatian route. French media quoted Colmar prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel as saying that “at this stage” nothing suggests that another person was involved. However, investigators were verifying the circumstances of Bourdain’s death.
Widely loved and rarely afraid to speak his mind, he mixed a coarseness and whimsical sense of adventurousness, true to the rock ‘n’ roll music he loved. Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” seemed like an odd choice for CNN when it started in 2013 — part travelogue, part history lesson, part love letter to exotic foods. Each trip was an adventure. There had been nothing quite like it on the staid news network, and it became an immediate hit. Within hours of his death, “Kitchen Confidential” was in the top 20 on Amazon.com.
“We are constantly asking ourselves, first and foremost, what is the most (messed) up thing we can do next week?” he said in a 2014 interview with the AP. Bourdain’s breakthrough as an author came with the 2000 publication of his “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” The book created a sensation by combining frank details of his life and career with behind-the-scenes observations on the culinary industry. Colleagues, friends and admirers shared their grief Friday.
CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker sent a company letter calling Bourdain “an exceptional talent. A storyteller. A gifted writer. A world traveler. An adventurer.” As president, Barack Obama sat down for some bun cha in Hanoi, Vietnam, with Bourdain in an episode of “Parts Unknown” in 2016.
On Friday, he shared a photo of the interaction on Twitter: “’Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi ….’ This is how I’ll remember Tony. 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. We’ll miss him.”
As he left the White House for the G-7 summit in Quebec, President Donald Trump, whom Bourdain had sharply criticized, offered his “heartfelt condolences” to Bourdain’s family, which includes his 11-year-old daughter, Ariane. Jamie Oliver wrote on Instagram that Bourdain “really broke the mould … he leaves chefs and fans around the world with a massive foodie hole that simply can’t be replaced.” Others noted Bourdain’s strong defense of the #MeToo movement.
His girlfriend was actress Asia Argento, who has accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. After Mario Batali was accused of sexual assault, Bourdain published an essay in Medium in which he wrote that “one must pick a side.” “I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women,” he wrote.
Argento posted this note on Twitter: “Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did. His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds. He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with his family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine.” Another Weinstein accuser, actress Rose McGowan, tweeted a video of herself, sobbing. “Anthony I am so mad at you,” she said. “You were so loved, the world is not better without you. I have a message for those considering suicide as a solution to a temporary problem.
Please call a hotline.” Bourdain’s death came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade killed herself in her Park Avenue apartment in New York. Spade’s husband and business partner said the 55-yearold business mogul had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. In a 2008 interview with the AP, Bourdain had said that his daughter’s birth had changed his outlook on life.
“I feel obliged to at least do the best I can and not do anything really stupidly selfdestructive if I can avoid it,” he said. Besides showcasing food, a “Parts Unknown” trip to Japan in the series’ first season included an odd show with robots and scantily clad women, a visit with a death metal band and a meal shared with a woman involved in the city’s sadomasochistic community. Bourdain was reluctant to analyze why his series succeeded.
LOS ANGELES: CNN said it would air several tributes to Anthony Bourdain, the chef and adventurer whose program, “Parts Unknown” has been a cornerstone of the Time Warnerowned outlet’s schedule in recent years. “Remembering Anthony Bourdain” will air this evening at 10 pm The cable- news network will air a series of Bourdain’s favorite episodes of “Parts Unknown” starting at 8 pm on Saturday evening.
A new episode of the series, set in Berlin, is expected to air Sunday at 9 pm, with a special introduction by Anderson Cooper. CNN will follow that broadcast with a re-airing of the tribute it will air Friday night. CNN has turned its Bourdain site, “Explore Parts Unknown,” into a live tribute to him, and is currently running a full page takeover on the main CNN.com homepage with a special banner ad promoting the content.
CNN said in a statement earlier Friday that Bourdain had been in France working on an upcoming episode of “Parts Unknown,” which he has led on CNN since 2013. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller,” CNN said in the statement.