AQP#31: We lost Anthony Bourdain. The chef, author, adventurer and television host was as much a wordsmith as he was a culinary explorer, and the fact that his wittiest remarks were often about living life to fullest makes his death at 61-years-old all the sadder. Here’s a reflection on mental health, the necessity of coloring outside the lines and the punk mandate of living inspiration, in tribute. I can hear him so clearly in my head. Bourdain had such a wonderful, distinctive voice. His book Kitchen Confidential (under $7 on Amazon) made chefs seem like badass kitchen pirates, and inspired tons of people to think outside the box in cooking, figuratively, culturally and beyond.
We’ve got a deeply fucked up vision of “success” these days, prioritizing wealth and acquisition over joy. But Anthony didn’t ever fall into that trap, recognizing his ability to translate his successes into a greater awareness of the cultures, struggles and kaleidoscopic variety of life in the world. He had one of the only shows on TV that tried with all its might to teach Americans not to be scared of other people.
Bourdain was open about his depression. His travels didn’t inspire the Eat Pray Love zen aloofness. Far from it. Between Parts Unknown and No Reservations, he took us to the farthest reaches of culture, cuisine and the human condition and got in on the ground level, among the people. He made the world a little smaller for those of us who didn’t have the chance to travel, and was the living definition of punk as he called his own shots, took minimal shit and gave his all to his own unbeaten path.
Listen now on iTunes – and please subscribe!
The episode of Parts Unknown in Beirut was one of the best pieces of television I’ve ever seen. He was there when a shooting war broke out, and chose to go out into the city to see how the locals were dealing with heavy weapons fire in their city.