Anthony Bourdain - dead at 61

(Jan) #61

I didn’t realise I had to! :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

(Gwenn) #62

Nope, I am not going to jump on you - I agree! Though he was much loved, etc., my husband and I felt the same - he has not been looking well, his marriage fell apart, and yes, I stopped watching the show a long time ago. His history of drug and alcohol abuse also made us think that he may have been back on that boat too-

(Junior) #63

Well now that I know the air is clear to speak freely, while I was never truly a fan of his I felt he looked very haggered. Particularly his eyes, if you looked into his eyes regardless of the occasion there just never seemed to be a spark, a sign of happiness at all. He could be smiling wide for the cameras but his eyes were always void of any emotion let alone happiness. Just my observations of the guy, I felt he was a troubled soul for a long time, perhaps that’s why I had a hard time every getting into his show(s).

(Lamb Owner) #64

This is a tad odd…I’m sure none of us here knew him personally!


This Buzzfeed article about how Bourdain helped out Marilyn Hagerty, the woman who was mocked for her review of an Olive Garden, is a good reminder of how he worked to make the world a better place.


His Forward:

_ The territory covered here is not New York or Paris or London or San Francisco. And Marilyn Hagerty is none of those people._

_ For 27 years, Marilyn Hagerty has been covering the restaurant scene in and around the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, population 52,000. She also, it should be pointed out, writes a total of five columns a week, about history and local personalities and events, in addition to her writing about restaurants and food. As one might expect, she knows personally many of her subjects. Given the size of her territory, it is not unusual for her to write about the same restaurant two or more times in a single year. In short, she is writing about a community that she is very much a part of._

_ If you knew her name before picking up this book, it was probably because of her infamously guileless Olive Garden review which went viral, caused first a tidal wave of snarky derision–followed by an even stronger anti-snark backlash–followed by invitations to appear on Anderson Cooper and The TODAY Show, dinner at Le Bernardin, an appearance on Top Chef, an Al Neuharth Award, a publishing deal–a sudden and unexpected elevation to media darling._

_ Why was that?_

_ What is it about the 86-year old Ms. Hagerty that inspired such attention and affection?_

_ Why should you read this book?_

_ Of the 7,000 pages of articles and reviews I read while assembling this collection, there is little of what one would call pyrotechnical prose. Ms. Hagerty’s choices of food are shockingly consistent: A “Clubhouse sandwich,” coleslaw, wild rice soup, salads assembled from a salad bar, baked potatoes. She is not what you’d call an adventurous diner, exploring the dark recesses of menus. Far from it. Of one lunch, she writes:_

_ “There were signs saying the luncheon special was soup and a Denver sandwich for $2.25. In places where food service is limited, I tend to take the special. I wasn’t born yesterday.”_

_ She is never mean—even when circumstances would clearly excuse a sharp elbow, a cruel remark. In fact, watching Marilyn struggle to find something nice to say about a place she clearly loathes is part of the fun. She is, unfailingly, a good neighbor and good citizen first—and entertainer second._

_ But what she HAS given us, over all these years, is a fascinating picture of dining in America, a gradual, cumulative overview of how we got from there… to here._

_ Grand Forks is NOT New York City. We forget that—until we read her earlier reviews and remember, some of us, when you’d find sloppy Joe, steak Diane, turkey noodle soup, three bean salad, red Jell-o in OUR neighborhoods. When the tuft of curly parsley and lemon wedge, or a leaf of lettuce and an orange segment, or three spears of asparagus fashioned into a wagon wheel, were state of the art garnishes. When you could order a half sandwich, a cup of soup. A pre-hipster world where lefse, potato dumplings and walleye were far more likely to appear on a menu than pork belly._

_ Reading these reviews, we can see, we can watch over the course of time, who makes it and who doesn’t. Which bold, undercapitalized pioneers survived—and who, no matter how ahead of their time, just couldn’t hang on until the neighborhood caught up. You will get to know the names of owners and chefs like Warren LeClerc, whose homey lunch restaurant, The Pantry, turned down the lights to become the sophisticated French restaurant Le Pantre by night. And Chef Nardane of Touch of Magic Ballroom who, in his 6,200-square foot ballroom, served cheesecakes inspired by Debbie Reynolds and Elizabeth Taylor, and envisioned an exclusive private membership club with frequent celebrity entertainment. And Steve Novak of Beaver’s Family Restaurant, who when Marilyn visited his establishment, spoke of reviving his beaver act, complete with costume, for birthday parties._

_ And you will understand why the opening of an Olive Garden might be earnestly anticipated as an exciting and much welcome event._

_ Ms. Hagerty is not naïve about her work, her newfound fame, or the world. She has travelled widely in her life._

_ In person, she has a flinty, dry, very sharp sense of humor. She misses nothing. I would not want to play poker with her for money._

_ This is a straightforward account of what people have been eating—still ARE eating—in much of America. As related by a kind, good-hearted reporter looking to pass along as much useful information as she can—while hurting no one._

_ Anyone who comes away from this work anything less than charmed by Ms. Hagerty—and the places and characters she describes—has a heart of stone._

_ This book kills snark dead._

(Retired !) #68

I’m sorry but Bourdain got that wrong too. He don’t know jack about the Midwest.

Anyone who has ever been to a Church Supper in the Upper Midwest knows it’s the lime green jello with canned fruit cocktail in it and cool whip on top.

By the way, the bovine byproduct is considered a salad there.

(Retired !) #69

Yet again, wrong.

Plenty of pork belly in the Midwest, brined and smoked and called “bacon”.

When I further reflect on his writing he was a master of hyperbole.

A true son of the Garden State.


Have there been any articles with more than speculation about why? We’ll likely never know, but it would help me process this event if there was just a bit more info and what he was actually going through.



This is the closest I’ve found. Apparently his depression was not a secret amongst his very good friends.

While there has always been a darkness to Anthony’s work, and I suppose it should be no surprise, but as an avid viewer I didn’t realize it was so acute. I guess that’s why it has hit me as so out of left field.

(Dan) #72

The operative word being close friends.

While it’s natural to draw conclusions, a loss of life really doesnt need more footprints on its grave. I consider myself lucky to have known some troubled souls, some that took the lives, but I wouldn’t dream of rousing an online audience over their imperfections.

Any of us living perfect, flawless lives? Suffice to say, no one ends their life because they are fine what more do we need to know?


Not my intent to dance on his grave. I can see how you might see it that way, but I’m sad at the loss of a “friend” and want to understand. It will help me heal.

It is also possible to learn from the lives of people that commit suicide. Sometimes when driving in the snow I’ll see someone in the ditch and wonder how did that happen? Could that happen to me? If I knew how they ended up in the ditch maybe I can avoid it.

(Retired !) #74

Gee, just to recap my post above…

He hadn’t cooked in years, and Les Halles which once had 4 branches and where he was “executive” and had an ownership interest, went bankrupt last August.

His 2d marriage to his Brazilian jujitsu instuctor failed because he started bonking his Italian director. In the divorce suit is an NYC condo valued at $4.5 mil, out of a net estate of an estimated $ 16 mil. At a minimum the jujitsu instructor would get the condo debt free and prolly $4-5 mil plus alimony and child support in a the $100k per month range.

This doesn’t include whatever wife 1 got in the 2005 divorce settlement, but you can bet that’s where all the money from his book and first TV series went.

I read somewhere the Italian dolly he left his wife for dumped him last week. But everyone’s denying this now he’s dead.

He was an addict. They have much higher than normal suicide rates, even if they are ostensibly clean. He sure looked like an alcoholic on his shows, and we don’t know about his prescriptions. That’s a huge problem

He put a huge amount of energy and prestige and probably money into a startup called Bourdain Market at Pier 57. It turns out his business partner didn’t even have a lease for the Pier, and misled him. The Pier is now going to be Google offices.

As if you needed a sign post, he said in the Vogue interview in 2016 that if Bourdain Market failed, we should “all go hang ourselves in the shower”.

Finally, being at CNN and sharing a network with those idiots would be enough to make anyone suicidal. I’m pretty sure he was tired of trying not to repeat himself on the show, and not turn into a younger version of Burt Wolf, which was what was happening. Next stop PBS with Burt & Martha Stewart, and Bourdain River Cruises with Viking.

Gee, I don’t know, you tell me, “why” ?

(Kathy S. ) #75

I’m trying so hard to keep my mouth shut stop from typing.

Lets just say, Bourdain was the most human of humans. He definitely wasn’t a “good” person and I think glorifying him as such does him a disservice. He was someone I identified with and I mourn his death. He gave voice to a group of people who were regularly ignored and for that he deserves my respect.

Sorry, I had to say something.

(Retired !) #76

You know it’s really strange that everybody in this thread feels this bond with the guy, who is just a voice on the tube. I mean there is nobody here who knew Bourdain personally.

Some of us may have eaten in his restaurants before they went bust, but that’s it.

Personally, I’ve known more than a few recovering addicts and semi recovered addicts. I expect he was a real pain in the ass in real life, and probably pretty undependable.

But I will grant all of you this: He was charming. Addicts often are.


Seriously? This is how you’re describing Asia Argento? Jesus fucking Christ on a cracker, VikingKaj.


Even stranger if why you are so determined to denigrate someone who has taken their life. Citing such bastions of excellent journalism as E Online and The New York Post. Yes he is just a voice on the tube, but you seem to have intimate knowledge of his life and are able to see into his soul, decide why he felt compelled to end his life and, being the expert you are, declare him a self medicating drug addict, an alcoholic, a pain in the ass and undependable. Some of us liked him, you obviously didn’t. You’ve made your point, go crawl back in your hole. People like you are the reason I quite posting.


There most certainly was a nicer way to say all that!
I find it strange that you are so angry!



(Putting on Moderator Hat)

Anthony Bourdain made a big impact in the food world. Understandably many here feel grief, loss and confusion.

I’d like to ask that we move away from speculation - we seem to have covered that.

Bourdain excelled at finding a unifying, common thread with diverse people through food.
Let’s try to focus on coming together, sharing how his communication led us to new cuisines and travels.



??? I don’t understand this comment. I didn’t personally know Bourdain either. I just saw him and Chef Ripert speak in Boston several years ago. But I certainly didn’t know him. But I did enjoy his shows, I did enjoy his writing, I did enjoy his wry and sly sense of humor, I did enjoy his ability to sit down with everyone and anyone and have a normal conversation.