|Anthony Bourdain with Asia Argento|
December 12, 2017
Anthony Bourdain, TV chef, found dead aged 61
CNN, which aired Bourdain’s show Parts Unknown, confirmed his death and said the cause was suicide
The TV chef Anthony Bourdain has died of suicide, CNN has said. He was 61.
The cable news network, which hosted Bourdain’s globetrotting culinary travel guide Parts Unknown, confirmed Bourdain’s death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement on Friday morning.
“His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
Bourdain was understood to have been in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series. His friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room.
Bourdain was one of cooking’s leading storytellers and authored several books, including Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly and Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook.
In his series, he could be found drinking beer with Barack Obama in Hanoi or hanging out with Iggy Pop in Miami.
“I’m proud of the fact that I’ve had as dining companions over the years everybody from Hezbollah supporters, communist functionaries, anti-Putin activists, cowboys, stoners, Christian militia leaders, feminists, Palestinians and Israeli settlers, to Ted Nugent,” he once explained.
“You like food and are reasonably nice at the table? You show me hospitality when I travel? I will sit down with you and break bread.”
Bourdain cultivated an image as a “culinary bad boy”, and delighted in eating from the extreme end of food spectrum, whether sheep’s testicles in Morocco or raw seal eyeball in the Arctic. Besides a chicken McNugget, he said the most disgusting thing he’d ever consumed was unwashed warthog anus.
Bourdain was candid about his history of drug use. He said he had also smoked cigarettes and drunk alcohol to excess.
“We were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in refrigerator at every opportunity to ‘conceptualize’. Hardly a decision was made without drugs,” he wrote in Kitchen Confidential.
In 1999 he wrote a New Yorker article, ‘Don’t Eat Before Reading This,’ that became Kitchen Confidential. Those stories were largely based on his years working at Les Halles, a French bistro on Manhattan’s Park Avenue South. He delighted in the shocking or unhygienic aspects of the chef’s trade.
In 2013, while accepting a Peabody award, Bourdain described how he approached his work.
“We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions,” he said, “we tend to get some really astonishing answers.”