As we all now know Anthony Bourdain host of CNN’s “Parts Unknown” was found dead Friday in his hotel room in France, by fellow celebrity chef and close friend Eric Ripert. Someone who had, from the outside looking in, the perfect life, hung himself in a luxury hotel room. To say I have been a great fan of Bourdain for a long time is an understatement.
I first learned of Bourdain while beginning my own short stint on the Travel Channel in 2006 while visiting the headquarters of Discovery Communications in Silver Spring, MD. We were 5 young 20-something never before TV hosts in awe of the building, the network, the producers, and of TV in general. When they shuttled us all into a big conference room to begin preparations for our new show “5 Takes: Pacific Rim” it was decided that I would be the food and music personality on the show.
At the beginning of that week a DVD was pulled from a folder and put on a big screen for us all and for the next hour we watched this man, Anthony Bourdain, show us a travel show unlike any other I had ever seen. He was real, unapologetic, passionate about food, authentic and I was instantly hooked. We were told to be like him. This was what a travel show should be. And so we were set loose out into the great land of travel television.
During the show Bourdain even personally recommended (via video) a soup dumpling place for me to eat at on the show in Hong Kong. I went and thought about him and how right he was as I was happily chowing down on one of the greatest meals of my life. Bourdain has been on my mind ever since.
I didn’t know the man personally but I consumed “No Reservations”, “Parts Unknown”, his writing and followed him more than anybody I ever have. He represented true travel which is why millions adored him and followed him just as much as I have.
I couldn’t believe, nor did I want to believe, the news when on Friday morning my wife jolted me before even a cup of coffee was consumed and said, “Anthony Bourdain is dead.” I typically scoff at people who become sad or even cry when someone they have never met in person dies. I didn’t understand it.
I guess I do now.
R.I.P. Mr. Bourdain. You were truly an inspiration to all those who long to explore.