A raw and bloody seal eye in Nunavut. A still-beating cobra heart in Vietnam. Stinky durian in Phnom Penh, some risky fugu in Tokyo, and even riskier heroin in a New York laneway – there was apparently nothing that Anthony Bourdain was afraid to try.
And nowhere that he was unprepared to travel to for the privilege. Anthony Bourdain had a gift for never letting these inquisitive wanderings look like work. Instead, like on that recently broadcast jaunt to Newfoundland with his old friends from Montreal, David McMillan, and Fred Morin, he made his life appear like an easy sequence of entertaining adventures. Readers and viewers alike felt privileged for having been invited along on the trip.
As a writer and as a television narrator Tony Bourdain was exactly what you want but seldom get: witty, opinionated, acerbic, smart, experienced – and honest. That narrative voice combined with the gritty experience of his first career gave us Kitchen Confidential, and its success set him on the path to becoming a true original. He was the food writer who read Nabokov, hung out with Iggy Pop, and ate Vietnamese noodles with Barack Obama; the one-time bistro cook who kept company with Michelin-starred culinary superstars, like Jose Andrès and his great friend Éric Ripert. In the process, he made food journalism cooler, edgier, and more gratifying and he will be badly missed.