It takes a special personality to make someone who never met you evoke great sadness upon hearing of your passing. Such is the case with the tragic death of Anthony Bourdain. Aside from his friends and family, numerous others were shocked and saddened over hearing the news just three days ago.
Bourdain always reminded me a little bit of Leonard Cohen. He was a Foodie, not a Poet although with his artistic combination of mixing food with storytelling through travel, you could almost describe him as being somewhat poetic. His lifestyle influenced so many people. He represented to dining what Muhammad Ali represented to boxing or Leonard Cohen to poetry. A master of his craft – which was food.
According to the New York Times, Bourdain rose to fame after writing a darkly funny memoir about life in New York City restaurant kitchens which made him a celebrity chef and touched off his second career as a journalist, food expert and social activist.
His mother, Gladys Bourdain, was a longtime editor at The New York Times. She said she had no indication that he might have been thinking of suicide. “He is absolutely the last person in the world I would have ever dreamed would do something like this,” Ms. Bourdain said.
Despite his untimely death, Mr. Bourdain taught us a lot about enjoying the good life and that is something to celebrate.
Life Lessons from Anthony Bourdain
Never one to shy away from dramatics, Anthony Bourdain’s latest cookbook, Appetites, begins with an interpolation of a famous quote from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina: “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.”
“If I’m in Rome for only 48 hours, I would consider it a sin against God to not eat cacio e pepe, the most uniquely Roman of pastas, in some crummy little joint where Romans eat. I’d much rather do that than go to the Vatican. That’s Rome to me.”
“Tokyo would probably be the foreign city if I had to eat one city’s food for the rest of my life, every day. It would have to be Tokyo, and I think the majority of chefs you ask that question would answer the same way.”
“Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain.
Anthony Bourdain’s legacy is that he left a lot of good behind.