Over the years, we have fallen in love with the likes of Rachael Ray, Gordon Ramsay, Giada De Laurentiis, Guy Fieri and more. But there is one man who has stolen our hearts even more, especially now that he is no longer around. Do you even need to ask who we’re talking about? Anthony Bourdain, of course! Sadly, this cooking legend left the world in June 2018, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t left a lasting legacy on the people he touched with his food and his television shows. Since his passing, more and more people are coming to terms with the fact that Anthony Bourdain was one of the greatest chefs to ever grace this land, but very few people really know who he was and what he was about. Are you intrigued? These are the new details that have arisen about his life and the truth that you never knew about him.
Where It All Began
It’s no secret that Anthony Bourdain was kind of a big deal, but have you ever wondered where it all began? Well, it seems as though Anthony didn’t always want to be a chef. He didn’t spend his toddler years baking cakes with his grandmother or helping his mom and dad cook the dinners. Instead, he spent his childhood years obsessing over comic books and hoping to one day write and illustrate one of his own. This dream finally came true in 2011…
Falling In Love With Oysters
We all know what they say about oysters but it seems as though Anthony Bourdain really did fall in love with oysters when he was younger, and this eventually sparked his career in the food world. He actually tasted his first fresh oyster during a vacation in France when he was just 10 years old, and he before too long he knew that there was no turning back. Turns out they really are the food of love everyone says they are!
Gaining An Education
Like most children, Anthony Bourdain decided to curb his culinary dream for a while as he completed his studies. He made his way through Dwight-Englewood School in Englewood, New Jersey, and eventually chose to expand his knowledge even more. So, Anthony-Bourdain-Chef-To-Be became Anthony-Bourdain-College-Student as he enrolled at the famous Vassar College. Although he tried his hardest, Anthony knew that college life just wasn’t for him. After two years, he became a college dropout and decided to pursue his real passion. He just couldn’t forget about food.
A Culinary Vacation
Despite the fact that Anthony Bourdain did not complete his education at Vassar College, he managed to get something out of his time there. We’re talking about culinary experience. During his college vacation time, Anthony took himself around the country to work in seafood restaurants and learned everything he could about seafood and cooking as a whole. He worked in restaurants across Cape Cod and loved every second of it. It was the kind of culinary vacation he was after.
Going Back To School
As soon as Anthony got the buzz for cooking, he knew that he needed to learn even more about the craft. So, he decided to do what many of the most famous chefs did at the start of their career, and went back to school! He enrolled at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America which has been the home of some of the most notable alumni in the world. Here, Anthony learned even more about cooking as a whole and expanded his menu outside of the seafood realm.
A Talented Graduate
After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Anthony Bourdain did everything he could do to show the restaurants around New York that he was a talented chef. Before too long, he was snapped up by some of the biggest players in the foody game and later worked for major names such as Sullivan’s, the Supper Club, and One Fifth Avenue. However, his crowning glory came in 1998, when Anthony accepted an offer to become the executive chef at the exclusive Brasserie Les Halles.
He Wasn’t A Fan
Nowadays, chefs have to cater to people with all kinds of allergies and specifications when it comes to cooking for other people. More than ever, people are turning to vegetarianism, and restaurants are now offering veggie options for these customers. Yet, Anthony Bourdain was not that kind of chef. He made no secret of the fact that he wasn’t a fan of vegetarianism, and was very open about the fact that he thought this eating trend was a “first-world luxury” for people who are not considerate about starving people.
An Illegal Struggle
Over the course of his life, Anthony Bourdain struggled with his health. This was largely due to the fact that he struggled with his mental health and abused illegal narcotics. He documented his battle with alcohol, cigarettes, and other illegal substances in his books and on social media – but there was a point where these substances ruled his life. He would immediately use up his paycheck to buy narcotics, he would go to work high, and he would often go to extreme measures to get his next fix.
Selling What’s His
In fact, Anthony often had to pawn his possessions to pay for the illegal substances that he was putting in his body. Within his book, Kitchen Confidential, Anthony recalled a day in his life when he sold his extensive record collection because he had used up all of the money from his paycheck. Rather than using this money to pay his rent or put proper food into his refrigerator, Bourdain immediately went to find his dealer and stock up on a different collection of narcotics.
Facing Horrible Experiences
Throughout his early career, Anthony Bourdain really struggled to kick his narcotics habits. It got to a point where he couldn’t function without some form of addition to his body, and this eventually had a negative effect on his body. A few years ago, Bourdain wrote on Reddit that his experiences with hard drugs eventually became so horrible he knew he had to give up. Because of this, he found it easier than some to give those illegal substances up. He knew he never wanted to go back.
A Choice To Go Clean
In the end, Anthony decided to go cold turkey and cut these illegal substances out of his life. He stopped taking the hard drugs, he stopped smoking, and he even cut down his alcohol intake. However, it wasn’t just these negative experiences that helped Bourdain kick his habit. After divorcing his childhood sweetheart in 2005, Anthony found love again in the form of Ottavia Busia. In 2007, Anthony and Ottavia tied the knot, and they also welcomed their daughter into the world.
Quitting For Her
Anthony was removing himself from his old lifestyle of drink and narcotics for his own sake and career, but he also wanted to remove himself from his old lifestyle for his daughter. When Ariane was born, Anthony knew that he was no longer living his life for himself. He realized that there was another human who was relying on him to survive and that he needed to do his best to provide a healthy and happy life for her. He couldn’t do that in his current state.
Food For Thought
After making a name for himself on the New York restaurant scene, Anthony soon rose through the ranks and proved to the world that he was more than capable of cooking up a storm. Yet, Anthony wasn’t done with his progress, and he knew that he wanted more. So, he wrote an article for The New Yorker in 1999. This piece, titled “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” proved to be so popular the article was eventually expanded into a whole book called Kitchen Confidential.
A Television Star
Once he had made his way onto print, foodies and fans alike wanted more of Anthony Bourdain. They didn’t just want to fill their stomachs with his drool-worthy food – but they also wanted to drool over his image on their television screens! Thanks to this demand, Anthony was snapped up by The Food Network in 2002 to host their show, A Cook’s Tour. This show only lasted a year, but it wasn’t long before he was working on other television projects that kept him extremely busy.
Perhaps his most popular television show to date just has to be his show on the Travel Channel called Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. It was kind of a big deal. This show was the reason that Anthony Bourdain became a huge name in the world of popular culture, and spurned even more shows for the television star. When No Reservations came to an end, he later worked on shows such as The Layover and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – which he was filming the week of his passing.
In The Middle Of Conflict
While Anthony Bourdain was filming No Reservations in Beirut in 2006, he and his crew soon realized they were in danger. They were surrounded by conflict and were stranded in the middle of the battle between Lebanon and Israel. Instead of trying out the local food and mingling with the local residents, Anthony struggled to stay alive. Yet, the camera crew didn’t turn off their cameras, and the Emmy-Award-nominated episode eventually followed his quest to return home from the conflict.
The Bad Boy Chef
Over the course of his career, it became clear to the world that Anthony was not your average chef. He was not clean-cut and wholesome, and he was definitely not like his co-stars when it came to looks. Instead, he was covered in tattoos, he would wear ripped jeans and casual clothes, and he liked to curse. As if that wasn’t cool enough, Anthony was also friends with some of the coolest rock and roll stars of our lifetime, including Iggy Pop!
He Was Pretty Arty
It’s no secret that Anthony Bourdain was a hugely talented chef, but did you know that that wasn’t the only talent he was hiding under his tattoos and curse words? Thanks to his love for comics as a youngster, Anthony soon developed a love for illustration and art. He would often paint little portraits and scenes when he had free time, and hoped to one day illustrate a graphic novel. Although he didn’t get the chance to illustrate his own comic, we’ve heard he was pretty talented.
All About The Music
During his time in restaurant kitchens across New York, Anthony Bourdain gave his staff a few rules when it came to their work ethic and habits. More specifically, he had a few rules when it came to the kitchen radio. Anthony loved to listen to music while he was cooking, but his staff knew that there were a few artists that couldn’t come on the radio. He banned his staff from listening to Elton John, The Grateful Dead, and Billy Joel…
Making Amends With Billy
In fact, Anthony made no secret of the fact that he hated the music that Billy Joel gave to the world. He even told Billy himself! Yet, Anthony was not the kind of person to hate someone else for their art. There may have been people out there who didn’t like his cooking, but liked his personality! Because of this, Anthony made sure to maintain a relationship with Billy Joel, and they even went on a dinner date a few times.
A Fear Of Three
Although he put up a tough exterior, there were three specific things that frightened Anthony Bourdain, and he refused to be associated or be near any of them. So, what were they? Well, it seems as though his first two fears are shared by many people around the world, because he absolutely hated mimes and clowns. Pretty normal. Yet, his third fear was a little more puzzling, as he had an intense fear of nurses’ shoes…
A Guilty Pleasure
As one of the most famous chefs ever, Anthony Bourdain was known for his eclectic fusion of flavors that were both delicious and classy. Because of this, it would be easy to assume that he ate the kind of foods he cooked in his own restaurants – but as we know by now, Anthony didn’t play by the rules! While he was very outspoken about the fact that he just couldn’t get behind chicken nuggets, Anthony just couldn’t say no to KFC, mac and cheese, and Popeyes.
Best Friends Forever
Although he took on the role of the bad boy chef, it’s fair to say that Anthony Bourdain was a sweetheart in real life, and many of his friends would agree with that. Perhaps one of his best friends was the famous chef, Eric Ripert. These two esteemed chefs allegedly spent a lot of their time together. They traveled the world and tasted traditional delicacies, and Eric was even with him in France when Anthony sadly passed.
Not So Good Friends
Anthony Bourdain found a good friend in Eric Ripert, but that’s not to say that he was friends with all restaurateurs. In fact, Bourdain famously feuded with the flame-shirted famous face, Guy Fieri, in the past. The pair couldn’t have been more different if they tried, and it seems Bourdain was not oblivious to this fact. He was openly honest about his thoughts on Fieri and his food, and let’s just say that they weren’t very complimentary! In return, Fieri also fired shots back at Bourdain.
A Guest Star
Over the course of his career, Bourdain climbed his way into the world of popular culture and proved to be a hit with fans all over. Before too long, he was a staple face on television, and more and more people were tuning in to watch him do his thing. However, Bourdain wasn’t just the star of his own shows. At various points in his life, Bourdain appeared as a guest star on some of the coolest shows in the world, including Miami Ink, Yo Gabba Gabba, and The Simpsons!
Dinner With The President
While filming Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain had the pleasure of meeting some of the most influential people in the world – and there is one particular episode that sticks out more than most. During this episode, Bourdain sat down with the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, in a restaurant in Vietnam. The meeting and the dining experience proved too much for the owners of the restaurant, who decided to preserve the tables and chairs as a reminder of their incredible meeting.
A Twitter King
Like many other celebrities out there, Anthony Bourdain decided to join the world of social media and allow his fans a glimpse into his life. Yet, Bourdain soon made it clear that he was not like other celebrities who use the likes of Instagram and Twitter. In fact, he was often regarded as the Twitter King, as he would occasionally correct the spellings of those who had (attempted) to insult him. Turns out he was also the Spelling and Grammar King.
A Bad Taste In His Mouth
One of the main jobs of any chef is to try new flavors and embrace new culinary experiences, and that’s exactly what he tried to do within his television shows. However, it’s fair to say that Bourdain did not like all of the dishes that ended up on his plate, and he confirmed that there was one particular food that he would never eat again because it was the worst thing he had ever eaten. Supposedly, it was a piece of warthog rectum that he tried in Namibia!
A Man Of Many Words
Although many people were often intimidated by his strong character and his tattoos, Anthony Bourdain had a lot to say about the world around him. He wanted to live in a world of happiness and health and wanted to help that come to life. To do this, Bourdain put pen to paper and wrote numerous books. He wrote 13, in fact! Eight of these books were about food, his travel experiences, or cooking. Yet, he also wrote another five that were fiction books.
An Incredible Reaction
There’s no doubt about the fact that Bourdain’s passing had an impact on the world, but we don’t think anyone knew just how much his life and work had touched people across the world. As news of his passing became common knowledge, foodies and fans alike did everything they could to ensure that his memory and legacy would not be forgotten. To lay his memory to rest, fans rallied outside Brasserie Les Halles and covered the place in flowers, notes, and photographs.