There’s been no shortage of bad news recently, but this one really does hit home.
No, I’m not a chef. I’m not even tall. I certainly never met the man. But I admired Anthony Bourdain in a way that was very personal. (I’m by no means the only one to express this same sentiment)
His travel shows were a perfect metaphor for a good life. Sophisticated but welcoming, erudite but down to earth. Anthony Bourdain was deeply humane, you could see that from how he interacted with people, not just in front of the cameras. So many tributes mention him stopping to chat with fans, including (and maybe especially) those who would never have the money to buy his books.
Read his books, and you see an unmistakable concern for the common man. He expressed it as a respect for expertise: the anonymous staff that actually made the world’s kitchens fine one, the Guatemalan grandmother who’s signature home-cooked dish was actually a better version of something you would pay through the nose for to eat in New York.
But I think that food was just a vehicle. He used a culinary vocabulary, but I think he would have had the same thing to say about the man who cleaned the dishes or cut the grass–someone who brings pride and care to those myriad tasks that make up our world.
Anthony Bourdain inspired millions, as a chef, as a tourist through life, and as a person. He taught me to skip the dining room and head straight for the kitchen, and that’s no metaphor.