Words by Georgia Cameron Art by Allison Gonsalves
Things are different now. Months have passed since the death of Anthony Bourdain, the famous chef turned author and TV personality.
“I don’t know what it is about this one, it’s just so much sadder.” Says the lady at a bookshop as she sells the last copy of Bourdain book Kitchen Confidential. Anthony Bourdain was never one to hide the darkest parts of life and was often perceived as being a hardened bad boy. But, to everyone who met him, he was said to be one of the kindest they had met.
Global suicide rates are increasing and we have seen many influential figures lose their lives to mental health issues, Anthony Bourdain being one of the most recent to pass. Death often leaves a hole in the hearts and minds of those people that loved them, and with Bourdain’s recent suicide there is now a hole not only in the hearts of those who loved him and his work, but also the industry he left behind.
In the introduction of one of the most recent editions of his book Kitchen Confidential, Anthony writes about how many things in life are uncertain but his life as a chef has taught him that at least a few things are, like the best way to cook an omelette. In his own handwriting, he concludes with this, “In an imperfect and ever changing world where few things are for certain, that’s satisfying still – to know SOMETHING is for sure.” Now after his passing, his words carry far more weight. But, with the passing of anyone it is important to remember the impact their lives made. In the case of Anthony Bourdain his life impacted the world of food and travel immensely.
Compared to the cookie-cutter influencers, travellers and TV chefs we see today who like to live it up in luxury, Anthony Bourdain brought a humbled curiosity to every place he travelled and ate at. Influencers can still be found ogling at the oddities of different cultures other than their own, but the legacy of Anthony Bourdain is one that met cultural differences with a loving interest.
A valuable lesson that Anthony Bourdain shared in his work was an appreciation of culture through sharing food. One of the biggest part of one’s culture is the food you eat and through sharing food, especially homemade family food full of love, is the best way to appreciate culture.
For those who watched Anthony’s shows or read his book, one of the main things that resonates with people was the idea that being a foodie didn’t mean it has to be expensive. Food could be from a street vendor who loves to serve New York Style hotdogs for a buck, or a tucked away noodle bar passionate about the process of noodle making, or even a Michelin star sushi chef – Anthony Bourdain saw and appreciated the passion and care each chef would put into the food that they created.
Anthony Bourdain shared a realness that a lot of other celebrity chefs don’t today. Anthony knew the life of working lines in a kitchen and working hard to get to where he wanted to go. While he found the new style of celebrity chef laughable, he knew that celebrity chefs were the new way of food appreciation. But, despite the ever growing community of famous foodies, Anthony’s experience set him apart from the rest. He knew the turmoils of working “shitty” hours and working hard for what you love. In his writing you can see this idea of loving what you do despite how hard it is, not only allows a great appreciation for chefs but also a great inspiration to show passion in your work.
Bourdain had a care for culture and food like no other and his life changed the way many saw food, the world and life in the kitchen. There are so many things to learn and remember from his life. It’s more than just our bodies that keep us here it’s the things we do to make a difference.