Anthony Bourdain was a mouthy son of a gun. He spoke what he thought, and I'm sure he didn't think things through at times. But, today, I don't care.
Yesterday, when I was on the air, the news came across my phone that Bourdain had passed and goosebumps ran up my arms. Later, when I was repeating the news that he was found dead of suicide in a French hotel room by his production crew, I started choking up. That doesn't happen with me for every death. It was because...Bourdain.
I've always loved food. Homemade food. My mom made the perfect spaghetti and meatballs and rhubarb pie. My dad made the perfect head cheese and cinnamon rolls. Fernie, my second mom...she made the perfect pies, stip, cookies, Christmas candies and so much more. Mom, Dad and my Fernie have all passed. I harvested a lot of cooking knowledge from them. Then, Bourdain.
He allowed food to become accessible for me. Not just through cookbooks, but he came into my life in the right place and time via television. He was a skinny, geeky looking chef with an attitude. I enjoyed hearing and reading the way he described food and it's preparation, music and it's performance and lifestyle items. Politics, not so much.
Through his eyes, I was able to travel places I may never be able to see in person. Honestly, the videography is some of the best...ever. Every video I've produced is in the image of the videography you will see in any of Bourdain's works.
He had a "hang dog" look, but found a way to be as stylish as any of the world-class chefs. He was savvy and worldly as far as tastes, but still found a way to articulate the beauty of the simplest and most "country" dishes. I loved the way he spoke to his guests, and how comfortable they felt with him. I loved his sense of adventure around the world, specifically in the midst of chaos.
During the shooting of his first "No Reservations" episode in Beirut, Lebanon in 2006, he and his crew were caught "behind the lines" in a conflict between Lebanon and Israel. It was no nonsense television. On his return, years later, he met up with many of the people and visited many of the places he had previously seen. Like everything he did for these shows, food, drink and culture was explored, and explained well.
I did shed a tear at Bourdain's passing. I will not try to understand how someone could walk away from life, whether at the bottom or at the top. That has to be the greatest and most powerful mental illness of all...the one that convinces you that you are not worthy of life. Bourdain's memory lives on in his television productions, and Fox News has a catalog of pictures you can see, here.