I am not too proud to say I have cried most of today. Before I even got out of bed this morning my phone rang with the news Anthony Bourdain had died from an apparent suicide in France. The tears started at 6:15 AM and haven’t really stopped yet.
I know Tony was a celebrity that I never had the pleasure to meet, although I tried. The timing and location just never seemed to work. Having a meal and conversation with him was top on my bucket list. I always knew what I would cook and I knew what we would talk about. I already had my list of questions ready for him. Maybe someday I will be ready to share those, but not today. His quit wit, salty attitude and general disdain for “the man” just escalated my love for him. I thought we could be the bestest of friends.
But the truth is, I wanted his job. I wanted to be Anthony Bourdain, the girl version. I have been living a great love affair with food and travel and his written and spoken words have always been magic to me. He taught me to love street food. He taught me to be unafraid to order new things at local restaurants. When I did travel, I listened to the locals about where to get the best food. Bourdain convinced me to buy a good and very expensive knife. He schooled me on who really does the best cooking in high-end restaurants. I never knew what a Michelin Star was until Tony came along. He gave me the dream of going to Vietnam, Beirut and Paris, while also showing me a lot of great places in the lower 48 and what to eat when I got there.
I have everything Tony ever put on TV in my video library. I have a lot of favorites, but the Beirut episodes on No Reservations are my favorites as well the the Parts Unknown episode when he returned. If you want to see Bradley Cooper in his early days, watch the short-lived series Kitchen Confidential based on Tony’s book.
I want to say something profound about suicide and it’s prevention, but I’ve got nothing. Suicide has hit me close to home in recent years. I’ve seen the grief, I’ve seen the unanswered questions left behind and I’ve seen how those same people tried to keep going after someone they love was gone. I’ve also fought my own internal demons at times when I thought there was no other answer. But somehow life won, at least for that day.
The world is a sadder place without Anthony Bourdain. When I do travel, the places won’t be the same. When I eat, the food won’t taste the same.
The universal truth I keep replaying over and over in my head is “Be kind, everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”