The Anthony Bourdain I Knew…

Was only through his writings and TV shows.  And through them, I felt as though I found a kindred spirit of sorts.

I tweeted this last night.  Yesterday was very difficult…

While the many real-life friends, co-workers, and acquaintances refer to him as “Tony”, I am but one of the millions of minions who just refer to him as “Anthonybourdain”.  And I feel like I lost a close friend when his delicate life ended two days ago.  I don’t cry at the passing of celebrities, but this was different.  I felt that same shock through the system that I have when those I knew personally had passed.

But I don’t want to be morose.  I want this post to be a celebration and fun post about this wonderful man who changed my views on food, travel, and a curiosity of culture.

Bourdain at Les Halles, the restaurant where he was executive chef.  Me, Bonaparte and my kids enjoyed many a brunch here.  The restaurant has since closed but the memories are alive!

This guy.  I first heard about him back in 2006.  I was going through my divorce and working at a local community bank in Pennington, NJ.  My co-workers all knew of my love of cooking and food—especially since I catered the Board Meetings.  One of my colleagues asked me if I heard of Anthony Bourdain.  I hadn’t.  Then she told me he was a food writer of sorts and had a food/travel show. The show was “No Reservations”.  She also mentioned that I would love Bourdain because he was a little edgy—like me.

Not just edgy, but we have similar cooking styles!!

And when I finally did watch the show, I immediately fell in love. His approach to the food and travel wasn’t usual.  He wasn’t the snob with that smug, self-righteous, condescending attitude who made you feel like less of a person because you couldn’t afford the exciting life that he was leading.

Far from it.  He was unpretentious.  He was humble.  He had a wicked sense of humor and irony.  He could be snarky without being mean or nasty.  He could shock in a non-offensive way. He was curious—almost with the curiosity of a kid.  He hung out with people that you knew he genuinely liked and loved.

His unpretentious nature came out best in one of my favorite episodes ever.  His No Reservations episode on Brittany.  It’s a classic and he was at an epic greatness!

And he knew his stuff.

When I read Kitchen Confidential I laughed out loud at some of the things he wrote about because I used to work in a restaurant in NYC.  Everything he wrote was spot on.

Image result for kitchen confidential

Kitchen Confidential.  A great read and his style of writing will hold your interest!!!

And when I saw photographs of the younger, twenty-ish Bourdain, all I could think of was. “Damn, if I ever met him when I was younger, I would be in serious trouble”.  He was that bad boy so many of us, as young women are drawn to.  (Am I right—or is it just me?) He was that hot looking rebel.  He was the guy who you could possibly allow to take your virginity away—and even as a passing fling, he would still keep in touch with you over the span of many years because he knew it was special.

Bourdain on the far left.  I would have been in serious trouble if I met young Anthony!

He was the endearing rebellious bad boy.

He personified bad-boy charm…

And wore it so well.  Those eyes are saying more than “Want Sushi?”

And he was the endearing rebellious bad-boy man and we loved him for that!

Whether you are team No Reservations, team Layover or team Parts Unknown.  He had a gift.  And that gift was simplicity.  He never strayed far from that simple and to-the-point way about him.

It comes across so well in his TV series.

Some of my favorite Bourdain moments are…

His visit to Paul Bocuse in Lyon.  Bourdain was so humble that I started to cry.  I’m not lying.  That episode made me cry.

Zamir Gotta and Bourdain in Russia for Parts Unknown

And ANY episode with Zamir always made me laugh out loud.  I love these two together!

I forgot to add this Hare dish.  It’s on my “bucket list” of foods to master.

The seafood tower in Brittany.  “I want my seafood tower” is now a catch-phrase with me and my kids!

The Cajun Country episode of No Reservations made me want to high-tail it back to Louisiana for some pig-butchering!

And his visit to Montreal on Parts Unknown is another one of my all-time favorites.  These guys–Bourdain, Fred Morin and Dave McMillan were a trio of fun, comedy and great food! I want to go to Montreal and Quebec!

And the other thing is…through Bourdain, I’ve found great recipes to challenge my culinary skills.  Because of him, I found out about Chef Ludo Lefebvre and added his Snails in Parsley Butter recipe to my regular rotation.

Bourdain “introduced” me to Chef Ludo!!  And he’s a mini-Bourdain!

Image result for atypical60 escargot

And now this is a regular in the Lartigue dinner rotation!

Chef Daniel Boulud’s “Poulet A La Crème” is another dish in my winter rotation.  Without “discovering” Boulud through Bourdain I would have never found this recipe.

Image result for anthony bourdain daniel boulud lyon

I can’t find my photo of the chicken in cream sauce so you’ll have to settle for this pic instead!  Bourdain was a guy’s guy and he seemed loyal and true to those he loved!

And where would I be without the infamous “Salmon Rillettes” recipe of Eric Ripert?  I’ve even made it my own with the addition of dill!

Image result for atypical60 salmon rillettes

Thanks to Bourdain for introducing me to the world of Eric Ripert, Salmon Rillettes are now a staple in my house!

Image result for anthony bourdain eric ripert

The many episodes these two shared–Bourdain and Ripert–they could have had a team series!  They are the reason for our dinners at Frenchie restaurant in Paris!

And let’s not forget the best Beef Bourguignon recipe.  Bourdain’s!  Oona and I have made this together quite a few times on her visits home from college!

Image result for beef bourguignon anthony bourdain

This photo is from The Travel Channel’s Bourdain recipe. I can’t find a pic of mine but trust me, it looks just like this!

Of his visits to France, the Paris episodes of NR and The Layover are counted with my  favorites because they bring memories of the city back to me and make me giddy that I’ll be returning.

I loved watching him read excerpts from a French rule book, eating pain aux raisins and relaxing at Canal St. Martin.

And because of Bourdain, my “travel bucket list” has grown substantially.  I never get to those places but he’s brought them there to me.  Bonaparte refuses to travel to Brittany because he says “the weather is merde” Does my Frenchman not realize that we live in the Northeast of the USA where the weather is crappy 75 percent of the time?

Image result for no reservations brittany episode

Alright.  Maybe it IS a bit overcast in Brittany. But I still want to go there because of Anthony Bourtain.  And I want my seafood tower!

Bourdain put a smile on my face and brought a sentimental tear to my eye and gave me a sense of wanderlust.  He’s given me both delicious food for the palate and food for thought.

And he even got to spend time with THIS guy!  Look how happy both are!!!

He will be missed by a world full of admirers and people like me who only knew him as we saw him on TV or read him through his books and writings.

There’s a whole lotta hurt going on throughout the world today. It’s not going to end in a day or two either. Rest in eternal peace Mr. Bourdain. You’ve touched us all.

I saw this illustration on Instagram this morning.  The artist is Carlos Tourné and when I asked for permission to put it on my blog, he granted it.  The illustration was shocking to see at first, but then—I saw it as a perfect definition without words.

I have to say, when I first saw this I was shocked.  Then when the shock wore off the reality came through. This illustration says it all.  

So please.  If you notice that a friend or relative isn’t their usual self or has changed or seems like they are having a difficult time, reach out to them.  If you are feeling down or depressed or need someone to talk to please call 1-800-273-8255. Nobody should have to cross over that fine line to the end.

Here’s a little video clip of the Parts Unknown episode of Lyon. This is one of my all-time favorite Bourdain moments! Bourdain and Boulud are having lunch in a school with second-graders.  Don’t be jealous of their lunch!!!

This is one of the ways I want to remember Bourdain. And he had the curiosity of a child!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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42 Responses to The Anthony Bourdain I Knew…

  1. I so echo your sentiments. He challenged his viewers in so many ways through his savior faire…..

  2. OJ's Pride says:

    Its so sad to hear of his demise.

    May he R.I.P.

  3. LOVE this. Thank you!

  4. Judy says:

    A wonderful, brilliant, deeply moving post, Catherine. Thank you so much. And oh boy, I am with you on that bad boy fascination! RIP AB, wherever you are, may you be happy at last. You deserve it.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Judy. He was one helluva bad boy alright. And a much-loved one. I’m also hoping that he is happy at last and his demons have been lifted!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  5. L says:

    It’s cold and rainy in Minneapolis today, and I am indoors watching Anthony Bordain on Netflix. Somehow, I just knew you’d be talking about him so I came to see what you posted on your blog. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful piece. I can’t believe he’s gone.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi L. I am having a bit of a hard time processing the fact he’s gone too. I watched the Lyon episode of Parts Unknown twice today and was just moved by his humility with Bocuse. XOXOXOXOXO!!!!

  6. Elly says:

    I am totally heart broken. He was definitely a favorite of mine. Charming, intelligent, non-judgmental and he had my dream job. Will be missed dearly.

    • Catherine says:

      Elly. You hit all the right spots with your description. He was an incredibly non-judgemental man and that was a special gift and a beautiful one as well. As far as the dream job goes–oh yes. He had that job that we all wish we had and he did it so well. Bonaparte and I were discussing that over dinner and we both came to the conclusion that even though nobody could fill his shoes, Chef Ludo could be the person to bring Parts Unknown into a new phase….XOXOXOXO!!!!

  7. Juliet says:

    A really moving post – I enjoyed his video clip, Lyon is an amazing city. You never know what goes on in peoples heads and you never know how much courage it takes, and how much of a struggle life is for some people. So, so sad

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet. That video clip is one of my favorites. He really enjoyed himself during that school lunch. But it’s true–you just never know what goes on in the minds of others–that’s why mental health is so important. Unfortunately, in this era there is still a stigma…..XOXOXOXO!!!!

  8. bone&silver says:

    A lovely and personal tribute- I’m so gutted he felt he had to leave- mental health is our biggest challenge- we need to stay connected with our friends and make the time to really feel how people are going, not just take the ‘social mask’ at face value. When I was depressed, hiding it from everyone became the only success I could achieve… to my huge detriment. Thank goodness I reached out… but I may not have. Hold your loved ones tight, and celebrate food and culture in his honour 🙏🏼❤
    Thank you Catherine for sharing your story, G xx ❤

    • Catherine says:

      Hey G. It’s true mental health is a challenge. When I was going through my divorce, life was very difficult for me and my anxiety reached an acme. Fortunately for me, I sought help but others cannot. It’s a vicious cycle. I wish Bourdain was able to seek the help he needed..XOXOXOXO!!!!

  9. Momcat says:

    This post is BRILLIANT!! So clever of you to bypass the morose and concentrate on this life so well lived. Bourdain was up front about his previous addictions and I guess the world and he thought he had the demons beat. I love when folks concentrate on the absolute genius of an individual who has left the planet and not focus on the why or how. How we remember them is their legacy and so many will have fond memories of Bourdain…
    I have sat in an ICU on watch with a wayward child who thought he could cure his pain with a massive drug overdose. A child who had been through more psychiatrists than I can count and did time in a psychiatric unit. Thank God he pulled through and has created ( with no small effort) a positive life situation for himself, but we still worry, we always will.
    You do the world a great service by posting information about suicide prevention and depression.
    I have noticed with the loss of Bourdain and Kate Spade an increase in blogger’s posting relevant information for those who have or may have someone in their lives facing this tragic action.
    RIP Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. If one life is saved because we lost you, you did not die in vain.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Momcat. Thank you for your touching reply. That last sentence hit the nail on the head and what’s sad is that suicide is now an epidemic of sorts. Is it because we are a society striving for perfection? It is because people are overworked and underpaid? Who knows. The loss of Bourdain really hit home. Its hard to be addicted and then get clean because those demons may be sitting back for a while but sometimes they just come back to visit………………XOXOXOXO!!!!

  10. Rhonda says:

    My heart is heavy. I have a hard time finding any joy to celebrate such a phenomenal life that is now gone because of the pain and torture he must have suffered. To know that makes my heart break 💔 and so, so, sad 😢 I know time heals, but it’s so raw….

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Rhonda! You and Bonaparte share the same sentiments. We started to watch the Marseille épisode of Parts Unknown last night and had to stop. He became to upset when they were at the Calanques. My husband’s mother had a house there and it was lovely but it had to be sold when she passed. He’s very upset about Bourdain and he never gets upset about the those he doesn’t know—that’s how beloved Bourdain was….😓😓😓😓💕💕💕💕

  11. Bluetulips says:

    Great post Catherine, loved watching his tv shows. (Especially the ones with Zamir, make me laugh all the time) have wanted to read his books but never got around to it. Will have to do that.
    Love how you wrote about the influence he had on your cooking and travel. I haven’t stopped thinking about him.

    • Catherine says:

      Didn’t Bourdain and Zamir make a great team????? It’s just so heartbreaking to have the realization that Bourdain is gone. But his work will live on!!💖💖💖💖

      • bluetulips says:

        There is an episode of No Reservations Russia with Zamir, airing here on Sunday night. I am going to record it and watch it again.

  12. Pingback: The Anthony Bourdain I Knew… | Atypical 60 – International Badass Activists

  13. patricia blaettler says:

    I loved him and Eric Ripert together. It was like watching brothers having fun together.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Patricia! That was one great bromance!!! I’m hoping that CNN will continue Parts Unknown with perhaps Ludo or Ripert as hosts or with different friends of Bourdain’s. that would make a wonderful homage……XOXOXOXO!!!!

  14. What a wonderful man who tried to bring the world together. This is a wonderful tribute, Catherine. Beautifully written without being maudlin. Bravo!

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you. So many tributes are now focusing on his dark side. Well, I do like to believe that he had a far lighter side than dark. The dark just took over on impulse and he crossed the line………..XOXOXOXO!!!

      • So true – I’m glad you focused on the light. By the way I bought Chloe and I LOVE HER!!! Have a look at my post and see what you think? You get a lot of mentions lol – you are my inspiration!

  15. vavashagwell says:

    I’ve been very upset at his passing as well. I have his books and have seen every one of his TV episodes over the years. I actually saw him in person about 2 years ago!!! I nearly fainted! He walked into the restaurant my husband I were having happy hour at, went right past our table. My god! It was one of the highlights of our vacation in Los Angeles and I took a photo of him. I was discrete about it and the photo isn’t high quality, but still………….. His death is a huge loss to humanity.

    • Catherine says:

      Vava! You were sooooooooooooo lucky to have had the opportunity to be in the same place, same time as Bourdain. That’s epic. I’m depressed today. Ain’t gonna lie. It’s not a good feeling either but I’ll deal with it by writing. I’m depressed about Bourdain and it’s not gonna go away any time soon. I hope where he is he is free of his pain and demons! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • vavashagwell says:

        I’m so sad about this, too. I don’t think that feeling will go away anytime soon, either. CNN has been running his shows and also a tribute. Tonight there will be another. Maybe someday they will make a box set of his work, if they did I’d buy it in an absolute heart beat! Can you imagine what his close friends and family are going through………….so awful.

  16. nathalie says:

    hi ,Cathy ! it’s a very bad news but i have to say we don’ t know him very much here in France .i ‘ve learned it on your blog …So the new is in little letters . I think his career was in the U S .
    But it is always horrible to discover the misery of a human .amitiés

  17. Couldn’t agree more. Bourdain brought the world to us, and by doing so, he made it a smaller place.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marybeth. I’m still a bit blue over Bourdain’s passing but it’s true, he brought so much of the world to us so that we could discover and enjoy!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  18. I did not know is father was French and he grew up in France Anthony knew how to speak french. No reservation so love this show. That is too bad. Nice post.

    • Catherine says:

      Hey Dude. There’s an episode on Parts Unknown where Anthony Bourdain and his brother go back to France to the family home and town where they spent many summers. It’s a very, very sweet episode. It’s such a shame….But thank you!!!! XOXOXOXOXO

  19. What an amazing way to remember an amazing human!

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you Vodkandcoke (I love your moniker–although I am a bourbon drinker myself–and it’s fabulous with coke). A week later and I’m still trying to process his leaving us…….XOXOXOXO

  20. emjayandthem says:

    Thank you for this ~ you focused on all the right things, in my opinion. His love for life, adventure, for being and feeling scampy, trying new things, pushing the envelope. And young or old, he was sexy as hell. You’re absolutely right, he made us all want to go to places we’d never been and try things we’d never tried ~ I hope he has peace now.


    • Catherine says:

      Thank you for « getting » the full meaning of the post. I’m still trying to process what happened. And it is just so sad. I honestly do not think he realized just how loved he was……….❤️❤️❤️❤️

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