Anthony Bourdain Dead at 61

Anthony Bourdain

Chef and television food host Anthony Bourdain has died at age 61 in what is being reported as a suicide. The host of CNN’s “Parts Unknown” was found in his hotel room in France, where he was working on a forthcoming episode.

NY Times:

The travel host Anthony Bourdain, whose memoir “Kitchen Confidential” about the dark corners of New York’s restaurants started a career in television, died on Friday at 61.

For the past several years, Mr. Bourdain hosted the show “Parts Unknown” on CNN and was working on an episode in Strasbourg, France, when he died, the network said Friday morning. He killed himself in a hotel room, the network said.

“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague,” CNN said in a statement.

Bourdain had a long career in food, but rose to prominence with the publishing of his book “Kitchen Confidential” that lead to a career in televisoon:

Biography.com:

Born on June 25, 1956, in New York City, Anthony Bourdain was raised in suburban New Jersey, developing a devotion to literature and rock music. (His mother was a copy editor and his dad, a music executive.) Bourdain eventually attended Vassar College for two years and then graduated from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in 1978.

Later acknowledging self-destructive drug use during his youth, Bourdain soon began running the kitchens of New York restaurants such as the Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue and Sullivan’s. He became executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.

In 1997, The New Yorker published Bourdain’s now famous article “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” a scathingly honest look at the inner workings of restaurants, specifically their kitchens. With his credibility as a renowned chef, the article carried much weight and led to other writing projects. In 2000, his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a vast expansion of the New Yorker article that highlighted Bourdain’s sometimes rough disposition, came out to great popularity.

Bourdain’s was the second high profile suicide this week, following the news of fashion icon Kate Spade’s death earlier in the week.

Reuters:

Bourdain hanged himself, the network said in a statement. He was found dead in a hotel room in Strasbourg, France, where he had been working on an upcoming episode of his program, CNN said.

Bourdain’s death was the second suicide this week of a high-profile American figure. Designer Kate Spade, who built a fashion empire on her signature handbags, was found dead in her New York apartment of suicide on Tuesday.

Suicide rates rose in nearly every U.S. state from 1999 to 2016, according to figures released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday.

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14 thoughts on “Anthony Bourdain Dead at 61

    • Seems right up there with the ethics of reporting on the details of mass killings/killers. Money wins out over ethics, despite growing evidence that the reporting causes others to trip their thresholds.

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      • The counter-argument is that not reporting about mass shootings allows for people to avoid uncomfortable arguments that they don’t like. Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil. Even if mass shootings do cause other would be mass shooters to reach their threshold, should the public be kept in ignorance of what is actually happening for their own good? Helps to avoid any argument on guns to.

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        • That’s close to my view. While there may be smarter ways to report on mass shootings* than what the media currently do, they’re still news. However, I get that Oscar wasn’t saying the media shouldn’t ever report them. He was just saying the media might want to refrain from specific details. But even those details, in my opinion, may be important for compelling us to face uncomfortable discussions.

          *(I realize this sub-thread started by talking about suicide, and that may be a different thing when it comes to what the media should report and how it should report it.)

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    • I tend to feel the same way. (And also the same way about mass shootings).

      I know of late people have liked to blame social media for many of our culture’s ills, but I think the 24-hour news channels are also complicit. (I’m old enough to remember a time before CNN)

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      • I stopped watching cable news in 2015 and discovered that I did feel much less stress and anxiety.

        Following cable news to stay informed is like watching the constant readout of the stock market to keep track of your retirement account; it tends to fixate on the minutia and ignore the larger trend lines.

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  1. I will second what Roland said about him and how he impacted the way I see the world. Bourdain taught me a LOT about food, culture and how it’s all connected. He also taught me that the street vendor selling tacos should be celebrated just as much as the 5-star restaurant.

    All of these suicides are tough to process, but this one floored me. He was a hero of mine, no doubt.

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    • Yeah. For me at least, the interesting thing is I wasn’t a fan. I saw one or two episodes of one of his shows and and decided it wasn’t for me. But strangely, I’m saddened by this death beyond the usual sadness when someone dies unnecessarily (if there is such a thing as “usual sadness” in such circumstances).

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  2. Concur.

    His show’s new episodes were really the only shows I had much interest on tv. Because of his show, my “wanna go there” list increased a lot. And I’ll give him probs for doing jujitsu at his age. Dude got a blue belt.

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  3. Due to the subject matter of this post wanted to share what happened this morning writing it.

    The TSN article for this morning was going to be based on the NPR article that just came about suicides, buttressed with TSN article last week and also the Kate Spade news from earlier in the week. So that post was just about ready to go when I reached out to a friend to make sure I had a fact about the Kate Spade passing correct, and the response came back “Hold on Bourdain killed himself in France.” Shortly thereafter the news broke, so we scraped that and went with what you have here.

    It was flooring. Bourdain had made his fight with demons from drug usage to depression publically known, but it was still shocking the hear, especially in the context of prepping a post about suicide and to have one announced on top of it was chilling. He was a deeply flawed and in some ways tortured man who never the less managed to accomplish much and do a lot of good. I cannot recommend “Kitchen Confidential” enough as a read, because much like his programming and other ventures, food is just the vehicle; he is really telling a story about people. I will miss his contributions, and hope he and his family find peace in this tragic time.

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