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Remembering Anthony Bourdain And His Global Impact

Remembering Anthony Bourdain

I woke up this morning, June 8th, 2018, to devastating news of the passing of punk rock chef, writer, and visual storyteller Anthony Bourdain. Here I found myself shedding a tear for a man I’ve never met, yet feel like I’ve known half my life. Bourdain’s impact in the world of television, books, and even music was felt around the globe when news broke of his death. A testament in and of itself of the impact he left on myself and many others around the world, maybe without even realizing he did so.

Bourdain was not your typical success story; he wasn’t born with money and he didn’t find success in his early twenties or even thirties. Anthony instead spent many years in the kitchen as a line cook, working 13-hour days in restaurants in New York and the Northeast before becoming the executive chef in the 1990s at Brasserie Les Halles in Manhattan. He had been an executive chef for about eight years before sending an unsolicited article to The New Yorker detailing the darker more unseen side of the restaurant business.


The magazine accepted and then spawned his world renowned book
Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a masterpiece that elevated Bourdain to a celebrity chef and a career on television. From there Anthony made shows like No Reservations,a show that would take viewers on a journey to the world’s most magnificent cities and dining spots. This was many people’s first exposure to Bourdain and it looked as though people were hooked from the very beginning.

 

Known as a punk rock-hearted, no bullshit kinda guy, Anthony took viewers around the world, voicing his opinions and teaching important lessons along the way. Taking fans to countries many can only dream of and eating food ranging from an everyday selection of hot dogs & hamburgers to his favorite meat blood sausage. The opportunity to open viewers minds and expand their horizons was a challenge Bourdain accepted and followed through on. Music was very much an important part of his life as well, growing up on New York Dolls, Iggy Pop, and more; he carried that no holds barred attitude everywhere he went.


The long list of cool shit Anthony Bourdain has done for art, culture, and humanity goes on and on. When his latest and currently still airing show
Parts Unknown debuted, he once again changed the face of TV. Parts Unknown wasn’t meant to be the happy, go lucky vacation/travel show; instead Bourdain aimed to show the world by diving into different countries around the globe and the people who lived there. He explored the countries he was visiting and discussed politics and history with locals, often at a table over plates of food and drinks sometimes even being cooked for by families. What stood out about this show was the ability to learn more about Bourdain the man, a chance to see a more touching, open, human side to the chef and an opportunity for Anthony to take his storytelling to a new level. On Parts Unknown, Bourdain famously appeared with President Barack Obama on an episode taking place in Vietnam in 2016. Over some grilled pork, noodles, and beers at a restaurant in Hanoi nothing fancy just authentic, they discussed the relationship between the Vietnamese and American people, Obama’s final months in the Presidential office and even more personal topics like fatherhood.

Bourdain wasn’t your typical television personality either; for him it wasn’t just about getting the shot or the content. He cared and took those around him into consideration; in interviews he would be asked about the dangers in these other countries and his responses were always humbling. He expressed the importance of his crew and the episodes subjects safety and always took the person’s well being into account when editing episodes. He was grateful just getting to experience people and their stories for Bourdain there was no hidden agenda. Humanity was always an important topic. In recent months he joined his girlfriend and actress Ms. Argento emerging as a leading male voice in support of the #MeToo movement in the wake of rape and abuse allegations against the film producer Harvey Weinstein and others in Hollywood.

The loss of such an inspiring, caring, and humble individual begs the question of why? Why would someone traveling the world, meeting people from all walks of life, take his own life?

The answer is simple: there is no simple answer. Depression has no face, it doesn’t care how successful you are or how much money you have. In recent years we’ve lost a shocking number of influential people in the arts, and countless people just like you and me have lost the battle to depression that you just don’t hear about. Families and friends across the world are affected deeply on a daily basis by suicide; it’s time we take this mental health serious. When will enough be enough? When will be stand up and help those who feel they don’t have a voice?

 

Little did Anthony Bourdain know that through all the impacts he’s made in my life and many others he just made the most impactful one of all. He just taught us an important lesson in the final chapter of his story: people are people, no matter what you do or where you’re from you’re human. I ask everyone to make an attempt to be there for one another, be kind to strangers and friends alike because the truth is you just don’t know what someone can be feeling or dealing with. Your kindness might quite literally save a life!

CNN the network behind Parts Unknown has announced their scheduled three nights of tributes to Anthony Bourdain beginning tonight June 8th at 10 p.m. ET. with “Remembering Anthony Bourdain”. Then on Saturday June 9th at 8 p.m ET with “A Night of Anthony’s Favorite Episodes of Parts Unknown”, and on Sunday June 10th they will air the previously scheduled Berlin episode of Parts Unknown at 9 p.m ET with a special introduction by CNN’S Anderson Cooper.

If someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts you’re not alone talk to friends, family or even a stranger. You can call the National Suicide Hotline Here as well 1-800-273-8255.

 

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