Sun, Jun 10, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain dies

‘A UNIQUE STORYTELLER’:Those who sent tributes included former US president Barack Obama, celebrated chefs and ordinary people who enjoyed his TV shows


Notes, photographs and flowers are on Friday left in memory of Anthony Bourdain at the Brasserie Les Halles in New York City, where Bourdain used to work as the executive chef.

Photo: AFP

Anthony Bourdain, an affable American celebrity chef and author who shared his voracious curiosity for the world’s food and cultures with millions through his popular television shows, has died at the age of 61.

Bourdain committed suicide while in France filming an episode of his Emmy-winning CNN food and travel program Parts Unknown, the network said on Friday.

French authorities said Bourdain died by hanging at a luxury hotel, the Chambard, in the village of Kaysersberg in the Haut-Rhin region of Alsace.

“At this stage, we have no reason to suspect foul play,” prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel said.

CNN said Bourdain’s body was found in his hotel room by his close friend Eric Ripert, the French executive chef of New York restaurant Le Bernardin.

Bourdain’s sudden death drew tributes from around the world — from the current as well as former US presidents to celebrated chefs to ordinary people who vicariously joined him on his globe-trotting travels.

“Anthony was my best friend,” Ripert said on Twitter. “An exceptional human being, so inspiring & generous.”

“His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller,” CNN said in a statement. “His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much.”

Bourdain promoted haute cuisine and street food alike in his travels.

“We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook?” Bourdain said in a 2014 Peabody Award acceptance speech. “And everywhere in the world, we go and ask these simple questions. We tend to get really astonishing answers.”

Bourdain delighted in introducing people to new cuisines. In one episode of Parts Unknown, he showed former US president Barack Obama how to slurp Vietnamese noodles at a restaurant in Hanoi.

“He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together,” Obama said in a tweet. “To make us a little less afraid of the unknown.”

After a start washing dishes in a restaurant, the New York-born Bourdain gradually rose through the ranks to become a chef.

His 2000 best-seller Kitchen Confidential introduced readers to the workers toiling anonymously behind the scenes in US restaurants.

The book led to his becoming a television host, starting with A Cook’s Tour on the Food Network.He went on to host a show called No Reservations on the Travel Channel before moving to CNN.

On the network, anchors struggled to hold back tears as they reminisced about their late colleague and urged people faced with despair or who know people struggling with depression to call a suicide hotline.

CNN anchor John Berman remembered Bourdain as a “human contradiction.”

“He loved food... He lived food. He thought we obsessed about food too much,” Berman said. “He once said to me, ‘I wish people would stop taking pictures of food and have more sex.’ You know, because what he really wanted to do was to show people life.”

He leaves behind a young daughter Ariane, from his relationship with his ex-wife Ottavia Busia.

He had been dating Italian actress Asia Argento since last year.

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