Anthony Michael Bourdain (June 25, 1956 – June 8, 2018) was a New Jersey-born American writer, chef, and television personality. He cheerily promoted the image of a proud, sarcastic Jerkass on all his appearances. Beyond his surface, though, he could be very deep and profound, almost philosophical in his writings and monologues.
If there was a real-life Mr. Vice Guy, he'd be the poster boy, being a former drug and cigarette addict and to his death a huge drinker as well as a Punk Rock fan. A famous chef within cooking circles for years, he grew to a celebrity level of fame with his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential, which is a dark, autobiographical look at the cooking industry from the inside. Ironically, the book was filled with hatred and Take Thats at other celebrity chefs. His works and appearances were also very trope- and clique-savvy and often hung lampshades on the tropes that happen in real life within the shows he was on.
On June 8, 2018, Bourdain was found dead in a hotel room of an apparent suicide by hanging while filming an episode in Strasbourg, France for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. In 2021, the documentary Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain chronicling Bourdain's life and career was released. While praised for its portrayal of Bourdain, it also caused some controversy over its use of artificial intelligence technology to reproduce his voice for some audio clips.
Anthony Bourdain's works include:
- Kitchen Confidential (2005)
- A Cook's Tour (2002-2003)
- Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (2005-2012)
- The Layover (2011-2013)
- The Mind of a Chef (2012-2017)
- The Getaway (2013-2014)
- The Taste (2013-2015)
- Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (2013-2018)
- Bone in the Throat (1995)
- Gone Bamboo (1997)
- Bobby Gold (2001)
- Get Jiro! (2012)
- Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi (2015)
- Hungry Ghosts (2018)
- Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000)
- A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal (2001)
- Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical (2001)
- Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook (2004)
- The Nasty Bits (2006)
- No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach (2007)
- Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (2010)
- Appetites: A Cookbook (2016)
Other media appearances:
- Miami Ink: As himself.
- Yo Gabba Gabba!: As Doctor Tony.
- The Simpsons: As himself.
- The Big Short: As himself.
- Archer: As Lance Casteau, a rude celebrity chef hosting a reality show in one episode.
His works provide examples of:
- Creator Backlash: In his later years, Bourdain came to regret parts of his earlier portrayals of kitchen and restaurant culture in his books, especially the idea of the kitchen workplace as an overall pretty meritocratic environment. Deeply troubled by events such as the #MeToo movement also unearthing plenty of evidence of a generally toxic culture of sexism amongst chefs, it became an increasing concern for Bourdain to also include and emphasize the viewpoints of female chefs and other kitchen workers in his writings, and acknowledge that kitchen culture could be extremely oppressive and even hostile towards women, and up until his death he would openly declare that he considered himself a convinced feminist.
- The Gadfly: Seemingly took it as a sacred obligation to push Anderson Cooper's culinary boundaries any time they met up.Cooper: "Tonight, a rare look at what happens when the world's most adventurous eater goes out to dinner with possibly the world's least adventurous eater. I'm talking about Anthony Bourdain and myself; guess which one is which."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Eric Ripert.
- It Will Never Catch On: Expresses this view in the first few pages of Kitchen Confidential, making it a very different read today.My naked contempt for vegetarians, sauce-on-siders, the lactose intolerant, and the cooking of the Ewok-like Emeril Lagasse is not going to get me my own show on the Food Network. I don't think I'll be going on ski weekends with André Soltner any time soon, or getting a backrub from that hunky Bobby Flay. Eric Ripert won't be calling me for ideas on tomorrow's fish special.
- "Not So Different" Remark: Eventually came to view Emeril as alike to him as he notes in a later edition of Kitchen Confidential.With the passage of time and subsequent events, I'd like to add that the "Ewok-like" Emeril Lagasse turned out to be not such a bad bastard after all. While my loathing for his show remains undiminished, a wiser man would have acknowledged that unlike the the far worse, talentless, nonchef bobblehead dolls who now dominate the Food Network lineup, Emeril was actually a real chef once. A guy who, not unlike me, worked his way up the line, and who-unlike me-succeeded on his merits as a chef, cook, and businessman. He's been nothing but gracious to me personally-in spite of my having made him, for a time, something of a punchline. I've eaten his food, met his cooks, and have to admire the man for his accomplishments. I hear from mutual friends that he's good in a bar fight—something that only raises him in my estimation. He probably deserves a lot more respect than I gave him here.
- Sacred Hospitality: A big believer in being a polite guest, to the point of accepting food and drink he found disgusting or excessive, rather than risk offending his hosts with a refusal.