Anthony Michael Bourdain was an American chef, author, broadcaster, and travel documentarian who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture and cuisine. Born in New York he was one of the world’s first and most influential celebrity chefs. He became known for his bestsellers Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000) and A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal (2001).
Bourdain's first book, a culinary mystery Bone in the Throat, was published in 1995. He paid for his book tour but was not successful. His second mystery book, Gone Bamboo, also performed poorly in sales. By that time he was already an established professional and became an executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in Manhattan in 1998.
After two published crime novels Bourdain also began contributing magazine articles. A piece for the New Yorker, Don’t Eat Before Reading This (1999), formed the basis of his breakthrough book, the bestseller Kitchen Confidential (2000).
The book itself is more a collection of essays than a solid narrative. "For all the rock’n’roll, the easy, sleazy charm, the guy wrote like a poet and, as he got older, he just got better."
Bourdain's career followed the success of the book. He began working with television producer Lydia Tenaglia and broadcasted A Cook's Tour on The Food Network in 2002, when his next book of the same title, combining food and travel, came out.
Anthony Bourdain went on to write books: a collection of anecdotes and essays, a historical investigation, and even the graphic novel Get Jiro! which he co-wrote with Joel Rose. All of them were quite successful.
His articles and essays also appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Observer, Gourmet, Maxim, Esquire, etc. His blog for the third season of Top Chef was nominated for a Webby Award for Best Blog in 2008.
Anthony Bourdain also was the host of the popular Emmy and Peabody Award-winning television show Parts Unknown.
But there was another side to Bourdain's life.
Bourdain was born in New York and grew up in New Jersey. His mother, Gladys, was an editor at the New York Times, and his father, Pierre, an executive at Columbia Records. By his own account, they exposed him to great music, film, and literature, and holidayed in France where his interest in food was sparked.
Bourdain was a 1978 graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and a veteran of many of New York city’s kitchens during his career. Most of that time he was addicted to drugs and moved among the semi-criminal community that characterized the restaurant scene of the time. The chef's relationship with money was also complicated.
“I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging about this,” he told Wealth Simple, “but the sad fact is, until 44 years of age, I never had any kind of savings account. I’d always been under the gun. I’d always owed money. I’d always been selfish and completely irresponsible.”
So, as many notes, Kitchen Confidential was the original handbook for toxic masculinity in the kitchen. But with the appearance of this book, Bourdain tried to be the best version of himself, and he succeeded.
However, Anthony Bourdain ended his life by committing suicide in a hotel room in Paris.