HomeAnthony Bourdain's Tragic End, How Did America's Most Beloved Travel Guide Die?

Anthony Bourdain’s Tragic End, How Did America’s Most Beloved Travel Guide Die?

Anthony Michael Bourdain, known for his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000), died in 2018 while on location in France, filming for Parts Unknown. His death shocked America as Anthony was the most beloved chef and travel guide in America. So what happened? Read on to learn the story of this gorgeous human who lived an incredible life, yet met a tragic end.

Bourdain’s Shining Career

As a renowned chef, author and travel documentarian, Anthony Michael Bourdain lived to the fullest while travelling across the globe. He starred in programs focusing on international culture, the human condition and cuisine.

Anthony graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and remained a veteran of many professional kitchens. For example, he spent significant years as executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles, Manhattan. Anthony gained recognition for his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

The Manhattan-born celebrity chef’s first food and the world-travel television show “A Cook’s Tour” ran 35 episodes for two years (2002-2003) on the “Food Network”. His career kickstarted as he hosted “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” (2005-2012) and “The Layover” (2011-2013).

In 2013, Anthony appeared as a judge on The Taste, an American cooking0-theme reality competition series, for three consecutive seasons. Thereafter, he switched his travelogue programming to CNN and hosted “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown”.

Anthony as a Writer…

Apart from culinary writing and television presentations, Anthony Bourdain was well known for fiction and historical nonfiction. As a part of his writing career, he began unsolicited work for Between C & D, which was an 80s literary magazine. It published a piece by Bourdain about a chef trying to purchase heroin on Lower East Side.

Bourdain also signed up for a writing workshop with Gordon Lish, a renowned American writer. Anthony’s first book “Bone in the Throat”, a culinary mystery was published in 1995. The book did not perform well. His second book “Gone Bamboo” also remained unsuccessful.

Finally, in 2000 Anothony wrote a New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. In 2010, he published a follow-up memoir to this book called Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook. Bourdain’s other books include:

  • A Cook’s Tour
  • The Nasty Bits
  • Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical
  • No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach

A Culinary Bad Boy…

Apart from his culinary career, he practised martial art Brazilian jiu-jitsu and earned a blue belt in August 2015. FYI, Anthony also won gold at the IBJJF New York Spring International Open Championship in 2016.

Many news outlets referred to Anthony as the “culinary bad boy” for his sexual references and use of profanity in his television shows. He was known for consuming exotic speciality dishes like “blood sausages” in Finland, sheep testicles in Morocco, raw seal eyeballs, an entire cobra in Vietnam and ant eggs in Mexico.

Anthony once declared that he consumed an unwashed warthog rectum in Namibia and a fermented shark in Iceland, and both were the worst meals of his life. The man known for his extravagant lifestyle and knowledge of international culture had a troubled past. Well, that can be related to his suicide in 2018. So what happened to Anthony exactly? That is a story to read further.

How Did Anthony Bourdain Die?

Anthony Bordain was found dead on June 8, 2018 at Le Chambard Hotel in Kaysersberg-Vignoble, France. Anthony’s body was discovered by fellow chef Eric Ripert, who was filming an episode of Anthony’s travel show “Parts Unknown” alongside him.

By the time Ripert found him, it was too late as America’s most beloved travel guide had already committed suicide at the age of 61. It was later revealed that Anthony Bourdain used a belt from his bathrobe to take his life. So why did he commit suicide? Well, the reason links to his troubled past.

Bourdain was a heavy smoker. Well, he followed a two-pack-a-day routine. In fact, he was once served with a 20-course tasting many of which included a mid-meal “coffee and cigarette”, a fole gras mousse, and a coffee custard infused with tobacco. Bourdain, however, stopped smoking for his daughter but restarted towards the end of his life.

Not just this, Anthony developed an addiction to heroin and other drugs like cocaine and LSD. He once revealed that “drugs influenced my decisions and I sent a busboy to Alphabet City to obtain cannabis, methaqualone, cocaine, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms, secobarbital, tuinal, amphetamine, codeine, and heroin.”

Well, this was when he was in his 20s. He later quit drugs sitting that it could have killed him real soon. Even though he recovered from his heroin addiction, Bourdain continued to struggle with mental health issues. We don’t know what was on his mind during his final hours, but many of his friends were not surprised after hearing the news of his suicide.

Bourdain’s mother, however, told The New York Times: “He is absolutely the last person in the world I would have ever dreamed would do something like this.” But again, there are a lot of good things to miss about Anthony Bourdain.

On his death, CNN issued a statement, saying that Bourdain’s “talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Not just this, former president Barack Obama, who recalled his dining with Bourdain in Vietnam on “Parts Unknown” wrote on Twitter: “He taught us about food—but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown.”

Anthony Bourdain had become the toast of the town for his honest depiction of culture, people and cuisine. That’s what his global legion of fans miss him for. There is a documentary “Roadrunner” on his life. Well, it’s worth watching.

I am Mallika Singh, a lawyer and writer by profession. Writing gives me a sense of freedom and independence. I am a keen observer and an ardent reader. When not at work, you can find me at the stable. Horse riding is another passion that keeps me going.


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