Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain’s death last June shocked people around the world. He was the great storyteller who brought viewers around the world through food.
Goalcast looks back at the life and legacy of this extraordinary man.
It all started with an oyster for Anthony as he went on a trip to France with his parents. Their neighbor invited Anthony’s family to spend the day on his boat. When he offered fresh oysters that had just been caught, Anthony volunteered to be the first to try the delicacy.
Anthony would call it one of the proudest moments in his life, realizing his destiny on a little boat in France.
“With one bite and a slurp, [I] wolfed it down. It tasted of seawater, of brine, and somehow of the future,” he said.
As a teenager, he started his first restaurant job as a dishwasher at a famous lobster restaurant in Cape Cod. He put himself through college working in various restaurants. Then he dropped out of school after two years to pursue cooking full-time. He graduated from the famous Culinary Institute of America, the oldest cooking school in the U.S.
He began working in restaurants in New York City, spending 20 years trying desperately to make it as a chef in the competitive world of fine dining.
Then Anthony struggled with addiction. It was his way of dealing with the high stress of intense work. When he overcame it, he rediscovered his passion for food.
“Don’t lie about it. You made a mistake. Admit it and move on. Just don’t do it again. Ever,” Anthony said.
His big break came when he wrote an article for the New Yorker, an insider’s look at the stress and pressure of kitchen culture. This landed him a book deal, and Kitchen Confidential became an instant bestseller.
Anthony shot to fame, becoming a beloved TV personality. He hosted many shows, travelling the globe in search of culinary adventures and the world’s best foods.
He sampled the delicacies of many cultures, including all manner of exotic foods, he ate ant eggs, fermented shark, raw seal, warthog and an entire cobra, although he said most disgusting thing he ever ate was a Chicken McNugget from McDonald’s. He even took President Obama on a restaurant tour in Vietnam.
More than anything, he was always fond of local, traditional foods and simply enjoyed sitting down with locals and having the honor of sharing their homemade meal.
“It’s been an adventure. We took some casualties over the years. Things got broken. Things got lost. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world,” he said.
Now, the world misses him.