The world awoke on Friday to news of Anthony Bourdain’s death by suicide at age 61, which has left many reeling. As CNN’s Brian Stelter and Jake Tapper both quickly reported, the famed chef, television host, and world traveler was found unresponsive by his friend and fellow chef, Eric Ripert, in his hotel room. CNN’s sweeping obituary calls special attention to how the Smithsonian dubbed him “the Elvis of bad boy chefs” and the “original rock star” of the culinary realm.
At the time of his suicide, Bourdain was in France to work on his award-winning and wildly popular CNN series, Parts Unknown, and news of his death can only be described as shocking and devastating. He was a vocal advocate of the #MeToo era alongside his girlfriend, Asia Argento, and a friend and supporter of Uproxx who indulged us with wonderfully insightful and blunt interviews. His influence reaches far beyond all things food and travel, and reactions to his passing are pouring forth.
First and foremost, the former President of the United States weighed in.
Bourdain’s fellow chefs — including David Chang, Nigella Lawson (his co-host on The Taste), Gordon Ramsay (of MasterChef), and Carla Hall (of The Chew) — have paid tribute. Words from Michael Ruhlman, a home cook who has penned several books about chefs, hit particularly hard.
Chrissy Teigen, food obsessive and author, has thanked Bourdain for “making food so exciting … And always standing up for everything right.”
Elsewhere, celebrities and media personalities have expressed sorrow.
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reposted: @questlovesfood Just saw the news this morning about Anthony Bourdain’s passing. I have so many thoughts about him—memories, emotions, and unanswered questions—that right now it’s sort of a jumble. I feel so thankful for him to introducing me to a world I never knew, the world of food and especially food around the world. It was through Anthony that I learned about the sushi master Jiro Ono was and that recommendation (seeing the Jiro doc & making a pilgrimage to Tokyo by any means necessary) singlehandedly changed the course of my professional and creative life. Anthony also believed, and talked often, about how all forms of creativity were connected: how chefs and drummers and comedians and actors and directors and painters all drew on the same well of thoughts and emotions. That feeling stuck with me. Watching him take trips to faraway lands to get a taste of heaven (and, just as often, to show how life on earth can be hell for people under the thumb of cruel governments or oppressive poverty) was the equivalent of my many trips to obscure record shops continents away. Lastly I’ll miss our endless banter about the merits (or lack therof) of Yacht Rock. Anthony came on Fallon often, and every time he liked to warn me that his walk-on music better have “some umph to it.” He wanted power and attitude. I’d agree with him, and then I’d play another Billy Joel song, which infuriated him. A few years back, to thank him for writing the foreword to my book, I started the ultimate troll project, though I never got to give it to him. We had an “argument” over Herb Alpert’s “Route 101”: I made the case that the song’s good-feeling/good-time vibe couldn’t be denied, and he made the case that he denied it, and the more heated the argument got the more we laughed. I told him imma make him the mother of smooth-pop playlists and then he would see the light. I’m finishing that playlist, and when I do, I’ll name it after him, just so I can imagine that laugh of his.
Food writers have also paid their respects and described their experiences with Bourdain, who always kept it real and touched the lives of many.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, help is not far away. Please dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.