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