Anthony Bourdain was the voice of a generation. Of chefs and cooks, writers and readers, food lovers and diners, adventurers and daydreamers—and anyone with a curious and compassionate bone in their body.
His was a voice that encouraged us to learn, to step outside our comfort zones. One that made us both laugh at his playful bullying of Chef Eric Ripert, and ponder cultures foreign to our own. One that allowed us to live vicariously on a global scale from the safety of our own living rooms. Anthony Bourdain had the best job in the world. How do I know? Because he said it. He once was quoted that he had “the best job in the world, there’s no doubt about it.”
And just as he had no doubt of that fact, I have none that his work—as a writer and a documentarian—will always be remembered as a critical catalyst in jumpstarting a new wave of culinary storytelling, far beyond the reaches of any studio kitchen.
He inspired innumerable careers, including my own. He was a pioneer in his craft. Like a modern-day Indiana Jones, his hunger to uncover answers about society, and searching the deepest labyrinths in the farthest corners the world to find them, was a testament to the power of food. He was Bourdain being Bourdain. And he set the gold standard.
To Bourdain, food was merely a conduit for discourse. And that discourse wasn’t always about food—but it was always about humanity.
Photo by Former White House Photographer Pete Souza