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Anyone who has read or heard the sarcastic words of Anthony Bourdain knows the infinite wit of the beloved chef. This past Friday, June 8th, Bourdain was found deceased in his hotel room by friend Eric Ripert. He was in Strasbourg, France, filming season 11 of his hit television show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unkown. His death was determined to be suicide by hanging. Clearly, resounding grievances came from fans and friends alike. Bourdain was 61 when he died.
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A New Yorker at heart, Bourdain grew up in New Jersey, eventually washing dishes and cooking grub in Massachusetts. After attending the Culinary Institute of America, the chef worked at high-end restaurants in Manhattan. It wasn’t until Bourdain released his book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly in 2000 that shit quickly got real. Bourdain’s fame climbed with his rebellious personality and spunky writing. He eventually starred in several television travel shows about culinary art and culture.
His latest show Parts Unknown is what really left the mark. The show had been 11 years in the making and has been airing on CNN. From Hanoi, Vietnam with Barrack Obama to Buenos Aires to Nashville, the “culinary bad boy” gave audiences a different piece of the world every week. The show featured him talking with locals, eating traditional cuisine, and embracing the world around him. We felt like we were with him, traveling to places we had never even thought about.
Like many other fans of the badass star, I felt a sense of aching upon hearing the news of his suicide. With a discipline in Brazilian Jiu Jitzu and sleeves of tattoos, Bourdain was someone everyone envied. We, especially myself, aspired to be more like him. He inspired many to travel and think differently about the world around them. No matter where he was, he truly showed eating as an immersive experience and traveling as education. There is no doubt that Bourdain had true talent and free spirit.
Throughout the countless episodes of Parts Unknown, Bourdain has touched upon his inner struggles and possible depression. However, it was not fully known to audiences. Family members and friends were shocked to hear of his death and will to end his life, which brings to light a much deeper subject.
Only days after the suicide of designer Kate Spade at 56, the news brought attention to suicide prevention. It’s a harrowing thought to know that someone can go through something so awful without many noticing. Hopefully, Bourdain and Spade’s death alike can draw fans to focus on the people around them and reach out if something doesn’t seem right.
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