Anthony Bourdain: biography
A talented chef and no less gifted journalist had his own style in everything – cooking, hosting, travelling and working. His bright personality, charisma and high professionalism made him one of the most demanding and successful media personality.
Childhood and youth
Most of his childhood he spent in New Jersey. The chef remembers that as a child, he ate typical American home cooking – meatloaf and hamburgers. He had a love of food since his early years. Thus, he got the first culinary impression during his vacation in France when he first time tried an oyster.
His father was a salesman and his mother was a staff editor at the leading newspaper. Though he was born in New York City, his paternal grandparents were French. He also had two brothers.
As a teenager, he was dropped out of college and received his early work in a restaurant and was happy. Anthony was a dishwasher and later was promoted to dunking fries. This promotion made him overjoyed. That time he made a solution to pursue cooking as a career.
His path to success started from excellent culinary education. In the 70s he graduated from the Culinary Institute and began working in kitchens in New York. After years of practice, he became an executive chef of the restaurant in Manhattan. His most famous book, "Kitchen Confidential" depicts this time. The chef changed the style of food writing. Being very sincere and straightforward he wrote about chef's life and the food industry in the whole the way they really are.
He told about cooks and cooking on the other side of the kitchen door. He depicted caterers who were often ramshackle, with skin burns, tattoos, appetite for long hours, and hard drugs. The writer blew the whistle about the way of cooking steaks in a prominent New York restaurant where steaks were just dumped in a deep fat fryer. He also cautioned against eating sushi on Mondays because fish was less than fresh.
The food critics highly recognized the chef. He became a revolutionist in the food industry who wasn't afraid to knock down the culinary boundaries. The chef had an excellent writing skill and made bright sometimes rude but all the same excellent comments. During his journeys, he made curious notes about travel, countries, food, and people.
Though his writing gave him a profile, his most significant contribution to food media is connected with Television career. The chef made various TV series for the Travel Channel, CNN and the Good Network which became famous for his immersive and nerdy style.
He stood at the roots of modern food documentary strands. Bourdain worked in his manner and as he confessed always did what he wanted. Because of his rebellious spirit, Bourdain was called "the original rock star" of the culinary world and "culinary bad boy." Many people thought that Anthony Bourdain was the American Jeremy Clarkson, as he frequently tasted weird food on Top Gear.
His media career began in 2002 when the chef started working on "A Cook's Tour." Bourdain, as a real food lover, traveled around the world to visit various chefs and restaurants. One of the great episodes is the chef's visit to the legendary restaurant, "The French Laundry." He and his friends were so excited for this experience and shared their feelings through the screen.
During his media career, he visited various countries – Iran, Romania, Croatia, Vietnam, Mexico and others. He knew how to attract attention and provoke. Thus, the host is known for his trying exotic food such as sheep testicles in Morocco, ant eggs in Puebla, and an entire cobra in Vietnam. At the same time, he stated that Chicken McNuggets was the most disgusting thing he ever ate.
He made his love of various countries known. Thus, he made several episodes in Vietnam and could not but stop talking about Vietnam street food. In 2016 he had dinner with Obama here. They ate pork noodle soup.
He also made bright field notes about Mexico.The host called the Double Down Saloon one of the best bars in the world. He also visited one of the famous restaurants; for example, he was on Gordon Ramsay restaurant.
His field notes from Detroit displays the keen mind of the observer and skilled writer:
"Because Detroit, for many Americans, is an abstraction—truly, if incredibly, apart unknown."
Besides, the celebrity chef is famous for his sarcastic commentaries of vegan activists:
“Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit, and affront to all that I stand for”.
Other show "No Reservations" lasted for seven years, from 2005 to 2012 and brought Bourdain his most significant success on TV. In 2015 he appeared in the film "The Big Short" where the chef played himself. 2016 brought Anthony the most significant recognition. That year he received Emmy award for his work on "Parts Unknown."
According to the reports, his net worth was around $16 million, but in 2017 the chef said his fortune was about ten times overstated.
In 2018 the eight seasons of “Parts Unknown” were off Netflix. The channel was going to remove the eight seasons on June in 2018, but then put that plan on October 2018 due to Bourdain's death.
The chef was guest of various TV and radio programs, "Miami Ink" and "The Joe Rogan Experience" among them. He also was a top chef judge. The journalist shared his thoughts and gave a piece of advice about life in the following motivational video.
He spent 20 years in marriage with his school girlfriend, but the couple divorced in 2005. Two years later, in 2007, the chef married for the second time. This relationship gave him his only child – a daughter named Ariane. But because of his tensed schedule, the couple split in 2016.
Bourdain had a blue belt in jiu-jitsu. He was a heavy smoker; the chef could spend two packs of cigarettes a day. Only after the birth of his daughter, Bourdain managed to give up this bad habit. The chef also was the user of heroin, LSD, and cocaine during the 80s.
In June 2018 the famous chef was found dead in his hotel room. Before his death, the chef worked on the next episode of his show in Strasbourg. The official report stated the cook died in the result of suicide by hanging. It was underlined that there were no signs of violence and narcotics and that suicide was considered as an impulsive act.
Awards and nominations
- 2001 – the chef was named Food Writer of the Year by Bon Bon Appétit magazine
- 2008 – his Top Chef blog was nominated for a Webby Award
- 2009, 2011 – the work No Reservations received a Creative Arts Emmy Award
- 2014 – “Parts Unknown” won a Peabody Award
- 2018 – “Parts Unknown” won a 2018 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Short Form Nonfiction or Reality Series.
- 2000 – Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly
- 2001 – A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal
- 2001 – Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical
- 2004 – Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook
- 2006 – The Nasty Bits
- 2007 – No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach
- 2010 – Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook
- 2016 – Appetites: A Cookbook.
- 1995 – Bone in the Throat
- 2012 – Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi
- 2018 – Hungry Ghosts. Berger Books.