Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain traveled the world in search of indigenous food and untold stories but struggled with profound loneliness. In this week’s cover story, we honor the food rebel’s final days, and his unconventional rise to fame that would touch the lives of millions.

Bourdain died of an apparent suicide inside his hotel room in Kaysersberg, a small village in the Alsace region of France, where he was filming an episode of Parts Unknown, the CNN series that chronicled the travel host’s quest for culture and cuisine. He was 61. 

Video Tributes

Loneliness, separation from my daughter, existential despair. I’m on the road about 250 days a year, and I stay in a lot of beautiful places and look out the window at a lot of beautiful views but I am usually alone.
— When asked in an interview what the hardest part of his job was that no one knew
I was still on the sofa at four in the afternoon, still half-dressed, when I decided that my life could not be complete if I did not somehow become friends with Anthony Bourdain.
— David Simon
When kitchens were being wrapped in a shimmering gauze of glamour, Mr. Bourdain got busy unwrapping them, revealing the injuries and addictions, low wages and high tempers that took a toll on workers.

Among other things, he was one of the first writers to tell the dining public that many high-profile New York restaurants would cease to function without the work and talents of Mexican employees. It was almost a casual aside, yet it suddenly opened new subjects to the purview of food writing: immigration policy, labor conditions, racism.
— New York Times food critic Pete Wells
Bourdain was upfront about everything. On an extremely personal note, for him the one group he championed almost more than others were the Latinos in the food industry. By far the most exploited class, from the fields to the slaughterhouses to the lines to the people who are waiters to the people who wash dishes every night, he spoke again and again about their dignity. And not just their dignity, he also trashed anyone who dared to think that Latinos do not deserve to be given a fair shake in the United States.
— food writer Gustavo Arellano
As much as he humanized the people working in kitchens, he also made their lives seem somehow enviable.
— Daniel Patterson | chef and writer

The Tributes... read them all!

A Tribute to Anthony Bourdain by Helen

Tony by David Simon

Atlantic contributor Kanishk Tharoor celebrated the food icon’s “extreme empathy”

San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson looked at what Bourdain’s career meant to the culinary community