Anthony Bourdain was a well-known and respected chef, author, and media personality from all over the world. The fact that he traveled all over the world to host his hugely successful television shows, “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown,” earned him the admiration of millions of people. His essays for Dispatch by Bourdain were published on the website for travel journalism known as Roads & Kingdoms, where he worked as an editor-at-large.
Chef Bourdain began his culinary career by working as a dishwasher in Provincetown, Massachusetts, while attending Vassar College. At the end of the summer, he was switched to a cooking station and found he needed more polished abilities to compete with the other cooks. Then, in 1978, he graduated from the CIA. After that, he spent almost two decades working in professional kitchens, including those of the Rainbow Room, The Supper Club, Coco Pazzo Teatro, and Les Halles. Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly was based on an essay he wrote for The New Yorker magazine about life behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens.
Known as “The Elvis of Bad Boy Chefs”
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First in the kitchen, then in the media, Bourdain was a consummate professional in each of his fields. He influenced viewers’ perspectives on topics such as cuisine, travel, and even themselves by means of his books and television shows. He fought for the rights of underrepresented groups and improved the working conditions of wait staff by advocating for safer circumstances.
Along the way, he was honored with virtually every accolade that his field has to bestow upon individuals.
The panel of judges for the Peabody Awards recognized Anthony Bourdain and his show “Parts Unknown” in 2013 for “equally widening our palates and horizons.” The judges remarked that he is irreverent, honest, and curious. They also noted that he is never patronizing or obsequious. People feel comfortable opening up to him, and as a result, they frequently divulge more about their hometowns or homelands than a regular reporter could ever hope to chronicle.
At one point, Smithsonian magazine referred to him as the “first rock star” of the culinary world and “the Elvis of bad boy chefs.”
Bourdain found that he was on the way to becoming a famous figure on a worldwide scale. After hosting “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network, he moved on to the Travel Channel with “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations,” which became an instant smash hit and was nominated for more than a dozen Emmys.
In 2013, both Bourdain and CNN took a chance by bringing him on board at CNN, which at the time was still primarily recognized for its ability to quickly report breaking news and headlines. It didn’t take long for Bourdain to become one of the most recognizable faces on the network and a key component of the prime-time programming lineup.
Editor and Producer
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In September 2011, Ecco Press, a division of HarperCollins, declared that Chef Bourdain would have his own publishing line. L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food, by fellow CIA alumni Roy Choi, is one of his books. Graham Holliday’s Eating Viet Nam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table, Shep Gordon’s They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Incredible World of Film, Food, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. You’re Better Than Me: A Memoir and Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 100 Reviews by Bonnie McFarlane and Marilyn Hagerty.
Bourdain worked as executive producer on the film adaptation of his novel Bone in the Throat, which premiered at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. In the intriguing culinary mystery of the same name, an ambitious young chef witnesses his uncle, a member of the East End London Mob, commit a murder in his own kitchen.
At the Tribeca Film Festival on April 16, 2016, executive producer Bourdain and director and executive producer Lydia Tenagalia debuted their documentary Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent. The video recounts the life of Jeremiah Tower, former chef at Chez Panisse and the pioneering Stars, who helped pioneer the concept of New American and California cuisines.
Chef Bourdain, a devoted practitioner of the martial art of jiu-jitsu, won his division at the IBJJF Spring International Open Championship held in New York City on April 9, 2016.
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Chef Bourdain, a 1978 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, never lost his affection for his alma mater, returning frequently to meet with students and film segments of his television programs on campus. His influence encouraged other students to enroll at the CIA and pursue a career in gastronomy. In December 2017, he delivered the graduating address to graduates on the New York campus of the college. During the occasion, he was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters in Culinary Arts by the CIA.
Longtime friends and fellow chefs Eric Ripert and José Andrés joined the CIA in 2019 to establish The Anthony Bourdain Legacy Scholarship for students who wish to continue Anthony’s path of international exploration. In honor of Chef Bourdain, the college dedicated Les Halles D’Anthony Bourdain in Roth Hall, the main building on its New York campus, later that year. The busy corridor and a plaque featuring his likeness will permanently remind faculty, students, and guests of Anthony Bourdain’s remarkable legacy.
The talented chef, storyteller, and author Anthony Bourdain, who for nearly two decades led television viewers on an adventure around the world to investigate different cultures, cuisines, and the human condition.
It should come as no surprise that Anthony Bourdain has been given the title of “original rock star” in the field of gastronomy. His accomplishments range from shedding light on the seedy side of the restaurant business to sharing a meal with President Obama in Vietnam. In contrast to other celebrity chefs, his appeal was not limited to the magnificent dishes he created and devoured. Instead, it extended much beyond those two things. Because of the authenticity with which he portrayed individuals, societies, and culinary traditions, he developed a fan base that spanned the globe.