Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain, Lover of Food and Enemy to All Tyrants, Has Died

America's realest celebrity chef is gone, and the world is less interesting for his absence.


Bourdain in 2017. Photo credit: Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/picture alliance / Geisler-Fotop/Newscom

Anthony Bourdain, host of the food and travel shows Parts Unknown and No Reservations, author of the eminently readable memoir Kitchen Confidential, and friend of this magazine, was found dead of an apparent suicide Friday in a hotel room in France. He was 61.

The reactions on social media seem—for now, at least—to be universally sorrowful, which speaks to the joy and intensity and courage he exuded as an ambassador for both American brashness and a unique kind of culinary cultural relativism.

He was a proponent of peace and free exchange who used his platform to redirect America's attention to the places we ravaged and then forgot about. He loved Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia; he despised Henry Kissinger.

Bourdain was also a friend of liberty at home and, in his later years, an increasingly empathetic person. In an interview he gave to Reason shortly after Donald Trump was elected president, he expressed not just displeasure with the outcome but compassion for people who felt Trump could save them from something:

When people are afraid and feel that their government has failed them they do things that seem completely mad and unreasonable to those of who are perhaps under less pressure. As unhappy and surprised as I am with the outcome, I'm empathetic to the forces that push people towards what I see as an ultimately self-destructive act. Berlusconi, Putin, Duterte, the world is filled with bad choices, made in pressured times.

In that same interview he gave a nuanced response to the animal rights activists who have chided him for his nonjudgmental approach to cultures where animals are treated poorly:

One thing I constantly found in my travels, which is ignored by animal activism, is that where people live close to the edge, they are struggling to feed their families, and are living under all varieties of pressures that are largely unknown to these activists personally. Where people are suffering, animals who live in their orbit are suffering terribly. In cultures where people don't have the luxury of considering the feelings of a chicken, they tend to treat them rather poorly. Dogs do not live good lives in countries where people are starving and oppressed. Maybe if we spent a little of [our] attention on how humans live, I think as a consequence many of these people would have the luxury to think beyond their immediate needs, like water to drink and wash, and food to live. A little more empathy for human beings to balance out this overweening concern for puppies would be a more moral and effective strategy.

In the last year, he became a staunch supporter of women who have survived sexual assault and harassment, not because he's a saint but because he "met one extraordinary woman with an extraordinary and painful story, who introduced [him] to a lot of other women with extraordinary stories and suddenly it was personal." His alignment with the #MeToo movement came with a healthy dose of public regret about the times throughout his career in which he turned a blind eye to female friends and coworkers who were mistreated by men in the food industry.

He also believed in the First Amendment, regardless of what the speaker had to say. "I support your inalienable right to say really stupid, offensive shit and believe really stupid, offensive shit that I don't agree with," Bourdain said when Boston Mayor Tom Menino pledged to ban Chik-fil-A from his city because company president Dan Cathy opposed same-sex marriage. "I support that [right], and I might even eat your chicken sandwich."

He despised food nannies, telling Reason contributor Baylen Linnekin in 2006 that Chicago's foie gras ban was a waste of concern. "You know, we're force-feeding people in Guantanamo Bay and there are people worrying that we're feeding a duck too much?" (Check out our Bourdain archives here.)

In 2007, he spoke with about the government's efforts to "infantilize" consumers via food regulations and his "libertarian instincts."

Bourdain also praised the immigrant work ethic—another reason it is so devastating to lose him now. In 2000's Kitchen Confidential, he wrote about the essential role immigrants have played in the evolution of America's food scene and how America has benefited by providing opportunities to people fleeing war and poverty. The "exile" class of line cooks—"Refugees, usually emigres and immigrants for whom cooking is preferable to death squads, poverty or working in a sneaker factory for two dollars a day"—were some of his favorite characters in the kitchen. He even preferred them to culinary masterminds:

When a job applicant starts telling me how Pacific Rim cuisine turns him on and inspires him, I see trouble coming. Send me another Mexican dishwasher anytime. I can teach him to cook. I can't teach character. Show up at work on time six months in a row and we'll talk about red curry paste and lemongrass. Until then, I have four words for you: "Shut the fuck up."

There's so much more to say about Bourdain's legacy, but I think I'm going to heed his advice. He never was one for self-aggrandizement.

NEXT: Georgia Cops Jail an Elderly Woman for Mouthing Off to a Code Enforcement Officer

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  1. He left a wife and young daughter. Horrible act of selfishness. He was a smug New York Prog but he at least owned it and didn’t pretend life in his circles was anything approaching normal or morally superior to lives that do. That put him above pretty much all of his peers.

    1. You beat me to it. Almost word for word.

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    2. You’re a smug republican who spends his days trolling a libertarian website. I’ll take Bourdain’s contributions over yours any day.

      1. Good for you. It is nice to have accomplishments to take and it must suck not to.

      2. He may be a bit smug, but he makes sense most of the time and is intelligent. Unlike some of the intolerant lefty’s that post here.

        1. No. John’s game is to turn every thread into something about him. Just as happened here, it’s all John all time.

          1. Wtf? Nothing about my post had anything to do with me. It was this asshole who wanted to make it about me. I say something that has nothing to do with me, some dickhead like you insults me for no apparent reason,I respond, and then said dickhead tells me to stop making it about me.

            Christ you are an asshole.

        2. Bullshit. John is worst kind of idiot. He’s like a gift wrapped pile of shit.

          1. Such thoughtful criticism is so biting. If nothing else,I seem to have a real gift for flushing out retards.

            1. And yet you continue to post here. Or is that what you meant by “flushing out”?

              1. I post here because there are interesting people. You are not one of them. But I enjoy picking on stupid people. So even you serve a purpose

    3. Pretty much this. I can’t accept the “tragic” characterization of it all.

      1. It’s not tragic. Sad maybe. But not tragic. He chose to end his life of his own free will.

        1. People who are suicidal enough to do it are not necessarily in full control of their rational faculties.

          There seem to be a lot of comments from people on this thread who do not understand what it’s like to feel seriously suicidal.

          To quote Kanye West :

          “I think about killing myself /
          And I love myself way more than I love you, so?”

          1. Tragic is something completely out of your control. Suicide is somewhat in your control.

            I have mental illness in my family. I know the game.

            I agree to some extent of what you’re saying and I’m not downplaying it was a sad thing but tragic? Not sure.

          2. mysmartstuffs|6.8.18 @ 5:09PM|#

            “People who are suicidal enough to do it are not necessarily in full control of their rational faculties.

            “There seem to be a lot of comments from people on this thread who do not understand what it’s like to feel seriously suicidal.

            “To quote Kanye West :

            “‘I think about killing myself /
            ‘And I love myself way more than I love you, so?’

            People who are homicidal enough to do it are not necessarily in full control of their rational faculties.

            See how easy that was?

            Your logic is circular. You only know after the fact that someone was truly suicidal, when he’s been successful.

            And I should believe that you “understand”?

            Many people who allegedly attempt suicide are in full control of their faculties. They derive immense power from threatening to commit suicide.

            In any event, we need an autopsy and an actual investigation, to determine what might have rationally motivated Bourdain (e.g., terminal illness, gambling debts, loss of honor).

            I’m embarrassed to be even responding to someone who would quote Kanye West as a fount of wisdom.

          3. Therefore, it would make more sense for me to kill you.

    4. “He left a wife and young daughter. Horrible act of selfishness.”

      Lots of people make mistakes. There are things I’ve done that I wish I hadn’t. I wish I could go back in time and stop myself from doing them, saying them, etc. Most of the bad things I’ve done, I can undo. I go back and apologize. I make up for it.

      This is the one mistake you can’t go back and undo.

      If he’d made it through the next day, he might have been okay. He made a mistake. I can’t judge him for that. And he’s already paid as big a price as can be paid for it. What’s the point of judging other people’s mistakes–after they’ve already paid the ultimate price?

      1. “What’s the point of judging other people’s mistakes–after they’ve already paid the ultimate price?”

        The point is to have an affect on other people who might be considering suicide. Do you think, if given the choice, Anthony Bourdain’s daughter would rather have lost a limb or her father by suicide? I’m pretty certain she’d rather have lost the arm or leg. Well, Anthony, would you have cut of your own daughter’s arm just to make yourself feel better? No? Well you just did something much worse to her and for the same self-centered reasons.

        1. When people are that far gone, confronting them with the devastating impact of their decision probably isn’t going to dissuade them. Ever see Lars von Trier’s Melancholia? A clinically depressed woman is observing the people around her scramble around pointlessly for safety as the world is about to be destroyed by a gigantic object from space. There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. The world is going to be destroyed and they’re all going to die.

          It’s just another day for the clinically depressed lady. She literally feels like it’s the end of the world every day.

          If you want to get through to those people, it’s probably better to emphasize that the way you feel at that moment will not be forever. The pain will pass. Chances are you will look back on the day you almost killed yourself, and you’ll be glad you didn’t. You’re not a terrible person for wanting to kill yourself, but you can’t trust your own judgement when you feel that way. Life is not static. The bad way you feel isn’t even a necessary function of the situation you’re in. Give yourself another day, another week, etc., and you’ll feel differently about your situation. It’s the way we are.

          Meanwhile, Bourdain shouldn’t be judged for the one moment he made the worst mistake of his life. He was bigger and more than one mistake in one moment, and it’s tragic if he’s being thought of that way.

          1. As someone who has personally been inches from suicide before. I can’t stress how much I agree with this. The only thing that dissuaded me at the time was a website I happeneded to find that gave a handful of reasons not to do it with somewhat of a ‘tough love’ tone that was really helpful. The two that stuck out were 1) think of what your family will think and how much it will hurt them. I imagined my mother, my brother and sister having to deal with the loss and how I would never want to inflict that pain on them. 2) Most other people who you were acquainted with will remember you as the guy who killed himself. It’s not romantic, it’s not cool. You will forever be the crazy guy that did himself in.

            Those two things snapped me back into reality for some time and I learned over time to deal with depression. The problem is when ou are so depressed that you can’t see any light in the future and the fact is that you are ALWAYS wrong about that, it does get better. I still get the same feelings sometimes now but I have the tools to realize that they are just that: feelings. I have to realize that there is a future and I can’t see the whole picture right now.

          2. Ken Shultz gets it. Respect.

          3. +1 to Ken Shultz.

            The problem with the subject of Suicide is that the people who are most disturbed by it and want to stop it understand it the least; and the people who do understand it won’t talk about it because it’s taboo and so doing so is dangerous.

            People say it’s selfish, and for some it probably really is, but it certainly isn’t for everyone and almost certainly not for those people who seem to be okay one day and kill themselves the next. You need to consider it from the side of the person contemplating it; for some when your problems are all stacked up against you and you feel like you, with all those problems, are an excessive burden to those who you care about… it’s an attempt to relieve a burden from them as much if not more than it is for you.

            I had a really dark couple of years in my past and I considered suicide in great detail for a lot of it. I wasn’t being selfish, I was trying to solve a problem for myself and my family that I didn’t see any other way of solving and I spent a lot of time thinking about how best to do it in a way that would minimize the impact on people that weren’t me… from my family to my landlord to the cops who would have to do the investigation. People can call that selfishness but they would be wrong.

          4. This is the best comment I have seen about suicide. Thank you.

            FWIW, one of my best friends was saved from killing himself by of all dumb things his desire to see the end of a two-part TV show. So many tragedies can be averted simply by giving people a little space and time to make a better decision.

        2. Often depressed people feel that their loved ones would be better off without them. Oh, they might be sad for awhile, but ultimately, they’d be better off. There are also people who feel like taking their families with them would be better for all. The vast majority of those who commit suicide are not thinking straight.

      2. I like this answer. Suicide can be both selfish and a horrible mistake that deserves empathy and even sympathy.

      3. Ken Shultz 6.8.18 11:45 A.M.

        “Lots of people make mistakes….”

        How do you know Bourdain made a mistake?

    5. No crime is worse than being cosmopolitan and caring about things other than Jesus and whiteness and Ford f510s.

      One day maybe you’ll realize that it’s your life that is pathetic and insular and unforgiving and small, not those of us who can handle a little difference and diversity. Maybe, but probably not.

      1. You are the least cultured person on earth. You are an ignorant hick from Oklahoma.

        1. Now this is interesting. This is like reverse backflip triple axle bigotry. The politics in Oklahoma are dominated by people who think exactly like you, by the way.

          1. You are a poorly educated, ignorant histrionic narrow minded queen

      2. You yabber about diversity and then ignore the fact the we also drive Ford E-150s.

        1. oh, the horror…

      3. Why are you so obsessed with this “diversity” and getting others to embrace it?

        Just because you think someone’s life is pathetic, insular, and small (or whatever it is you tell yourself to preserve your self-perceived feelings or intellectual and moral superiority) because they don’t think like you do doesn’t mean it actually is.

        Here’s an idea…you live your life the way you want and I’ll live mine the way I want and stop worrying about whether or not I genuflected before the Alter of Inclusion and Diversity enough times on any given day. It is a free society afterall.

        1. of*

        2. I’ll give you this. I only hang around people like me. Drop me in the middle of a state fair or a Wal-Mart and I am as uncomfortable as Kim Davis at a drag show.

          Only difference is my people come in all colors and sexualities and we have no interest in shitting on anyone else’s life because it scares us.

          1. we have no interest in shitting on anyone else’s life because it scares us.

            I have lived among “your people” for decades, and you are so full of shit that your eyes are brown. It’s remarkable what you tolerant and pluralistic people are willing to say about people when you don’t think any of “us” are around, because we’re hiding in a closet because we know the way you actually feel.

            It’s wonderful that you pay lip service to diversity, but I don’t think it’s an accident that you’re surrounded only by people who agree with you.

            1. That’s what diversity is to leftists: A rainbow of skin tones, a myriad of sex organs, and an ever-expanding palette of sexual identities and proclivities all attached to one brain.

          2. “we have no interest in shitting on anyone else’s life because it scares us.”

            But you shit on people here all the time who don’t ascribe to your worldview. And finding something repugnant (like homosexuality) is different than finding it “scary”.

            My life is full of people of different colors and sexualities as well. I have gay friends and acquaintances, I’ve associated with many gay people in my life. But my views about homosexuality have not changed. It still disgusts me. That’s why when you talk about “diversity” and “inclusion” and “equality”, I hear “blind acceptance and submission”. How is my life going to be richer and fuller if I just unconditionally accept homosexuality?

            1. But my views about homosexuality have not changed. It still disgusts me.

              Dude, I think you might be gay.

              1. Chipper Morning Baculum

                Do you hate stepping in dog poop?

                That means you’re dog poop.

                See how easy that was?!

            2. I don’t get why you people think you’re boasting when you say you’re squeamish about something as mundane as homosexuality. Like, dude, I’m sorry you have that problem.

          3. Interesting. There’s a lesbian couple in our neighborhood who do everything in their power to insulate themselves from the rest of us living here. They have turned their home into a fortress, with half a dozen PRIVATE PROPERTY KEEP OUT signs staked around their property, have made nasty comments to us when walking our pit bull because they think it’s a dangerous dog (with no evidence to back that up), refuse to engage us when we say hello, have never once come to a community get-together, leave nasty notes on people’s doors complaining about their wind chimes, etc.

            You see the problem with painting with such broad strokes?

            People are individuals, Tony. And yet you insist on lumping every conservative or libertarian into the same category, and holding everyone else up as paragons of diversity virtue. Who is being prejudiced now? Do you seriously think that everyone outside your sphere is an awful person? If so, you really don’t get out much, do you?

          4. Only difference is my people come in all colors and sexualities and we have no interest in shitting on anyone else’s life because it scares us.

            You don’t? But you said that you do–

            I’ll give you this. I only hang around people like me. Drop me in the middle of a state fair or a Wal-Mart and I am as uncomfortable as Kim Davis at a drag show.

            I only hang around people like me

            You ARE the bigot you accuse others of being.

            I am equally at home in a Wal-Mart or an art gallery. THAT is openness.

            At a state fair, a couple in rainbow flag t-shirts walking down the midway might garner a few looks, but they’d be left in peace.

            At a pride parade, a man, as gay as gay can be, wearing a MAGA hat or giving some indicator of non-leftist thought(NOT non-gay or anti-gay thought, just non-leftist) would be attacked if they were outnumbered enough. Everyone would pile-on to punch the Nazi.

            THOSE are ‘your people’, fascist.

      4. You are a drooling retarded simpleton.

      5. @Tony your a fucking bottom feeding piece of shit, if I could switch you and Bourdain, I would, you fucking waste of space and breath. Your the biggest, stupidest, fucking hypocritical piece of garbage I’ve ever ran across on any comment board, you scream “tolerance” and “don’t stereotype” yet you have no problem stereotyping people you disagree with. Your a little punk ass bitch, and if you were in public, I’d kick your ass on general principles. You’d probably run like the little bitch you are, bet you wouldn’t be able to say half of what you type to anybody’s faces on this board, dickhead.

      6. No crime is worse than being cosmopolitan and caring about things other than Jesus and whiteness and Ford f510s.

        Aside from the loony sliver on extreme right, the only ones who care about “whiteness” are progs. And for them, it is true that no crime is worse.

      7. “No crime is worse than being cosmopolitan and caring about things other than Jesus and whiteness and Ford f510s”

        I’d say stealing a pack of gum is a worse crime (as are almost all crimes), while you seem to think caring is a crime. Heck, your poor writing is a crime to Reason’s readers, as is your lack of tolerance and good will towards men. You can do better. I’d suggest learning to be a good example to others, for your own happiness.

    6. I just love hearing how “selfish” suicide is, as though it’s not equally selfish to demand that someone in agony continue with that agony to keep others from grief.

      1. Umm, this is ridiculous. It would be selfish if the daughter was the person demanding it. But it doesn’t seem to be selfish for a third party to point it out. John didn’t even say that suicide was selfish, in and of itself. He’s saying that for an adult with an 11 year old child it’s selfish.

        One correction. Bourdain wasn’t married and rumor is that he killed himself because his girlfriend left him.

        1. Apparently he left his wife for some Italian Tall’s and she just used him to help her career and then dumped him leaving him alone and astranged from his wife and daughter.

          1. Women, can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

            1. Women, can’t live with them, can’t live without not allowed to kill them, what are you gonna do?


      2. Yes, people who lost loved ones should just stop their bitching. The suicidal ones who decide that those loved ones aren’t worth living for are the true victims.

        1. Also, as someone who has been depressed…sure, it sucks. But it is not objectively “agony”. It’s not like a depressed person is being tortured by ISIS or suffering from a horrible physically degenerative disease. Unlike some objectively hopeless situations, it can actually be cured. To pretend that it can’t is helpful to no one and insulting to people who are living with real horror.

          1. if not cured, treated

            1. Try it sometime if you think it’s not agony. You sound like Jeff Sessions.

              1. Its only agony to whiny bitches overcome by their first world problems.

              2. Don’t look at me.|6.8.18 @ 4:39PM|#

                “Try it sometime if you think it’s not agony. You sound like Jeff Sessions.”

                Boy, if Jeff Sessions isn’t everyone’s favorite punching bag these days. Am I his last defender?

          2. I am genuinely pleased for you that your depression proved treatable and temporary.

            Mine has been neither.

            1. I think some previous generations dealt with chronic/permanent depression better than we do. Maybe because even the notion that depression should be treatable and temporary makes it worse if it isn’t. Giving it a modern clinical name (dysthymia) makes it seem like the cure is outside – when the older term – melancholy – seems more like just a natural temperament where one can change the problematic expressions of it without going zombie on the parts of self that you’re OK with.

              Americans in particular have a tougher time with it because of the pervasiveness of the idea that we have to be happy.

              1. I think Americans have a tougher time of it because of the difficulty accessing decent mental health care.

                1. They are not, obviously, the only country with that problem.

                2. Not true. Mental health care is abundant and available. And I know several severely depressed people with enough money to afford the best doctors and meds available and they are still at the edge.

                  Bourdain, Kate Spade, Chris Cornell, Robin Williams?all these people were wealthy and surrounded by people who loved them. And yet they all thought the only way out was suicide. No amount of mental health counseling is going to help at that moment when the dark forces descend and the decision is made.

      3. I am more inclined to agree with the “selfish” label when there are 11 year old daughters left behind. Or 13 year old (Kate Spade).

    7. Fuck you. You are one evil motherfucker.

      1. Go fuck yourself you lying retard.

    8. Makes way more sense that he was killed

    9. John have you dealt with any suicidal people? Have you any clue about mental illness? Sad that you try to be intelligent.

      1. I have known plenty. And it is a horribly selfish thing to do. It is not always mental illness. Stop lying to yourself or at least stop lying to me pretending it is.

        1. Suicide doesn’t even crack the top 1000 list of most-selfish things people do. The overwhelming majority of humans are vile, useless tits, who present no value to the community; if they can’t muster enough enthusiasm to make their own, shitty little lives bearable, an expedited departure is to be applauded.

          -Joe Misanthrope

    10. Goddammit John, you are an intelligent individual and I agree with the majority, if not all, of you comments but fuck man take a step back why don’t you. They are right, it is about you!

    11. spot on

    12. Yeah, people with mental illness are so damn selfish.

    13. Bourdain was divorced in 2016. His daughter was born in 2007 (so 11 years old). He was on the road over 250 days/year. Given that, at most, I’ll agree his suicide was selfish, but not a “horrible act of selfishness.”

  2. Celebrating Harvey’s downfall: Asia Argento embraces writer who shared her speech attacking Weinstein for using Cannes as his ‘hunting ground’, as pair stroll through Rome
    Asia Argento spent the weekend in Rome with reporter Hugo Clement, with the two seen smiling as they walked through the streets of Rome
    The pair were seen affectionately embracing just and laughing with a group of friends just a few weeks after attending the Cannes Film Festival
    Argento is also enjoying professional success, having been named as a new judge on the Italian version of X Factor and directing the recent Parts Unknown
    She was selected for that gig by her boyfriend of close to two years, Anthony Bourdain, who raved about the actress in a blog post last week

      1. Odd. His Twit Feed gives absolutely no clue that he was about to off himself.

        1. My money is on an “it’s over” text from her.

          Asia Argento Shared Cryptic Message Hours Before Anthony Bourdain’s Apparent Suicide
          Argento’s final Instagram story, posted around three hours before Bourdain’s death was first reported, was a photo of herself wearing a ripped t-shirt that read: “F? EVERYONE.”
          “You know who you are,” she captioned the post.

            1. Fact: if you’ve had sex fewer than 100 times and you follow an entire series of Longtorso links, it legally restores your virginity.

              1. Of course the moment you read a Crusty link, it’s all gone again.

                1. Reading Crusty links has other, far more severe consequences for your legal and sexual status.

            2. Well then, what a bitch.

            3. Don’t worry, Longtorso, your body pillow will never leave you.

  3. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia really are nice places to visit now, just glad I wasn’t forced to go there with a gun.

    1. Vietnam is stil very authoritarian

      1. They still have propaganda speakers hanging on buildings. But the people are nice.

      2. It is and it isn’t. I have a relative that is a missionary and English teacher at an orphanage there. He lives with the fact that as a foreigner he is constantly monitored and harassed but for the most part the way he talks about it that most people live their lives despite the oppressive government.

        It kind of reinforces my observation that markets, capitalism and freedom are the natural order and oppressive government is like an obsessive gardener that is trying to painstakingly landscape a 300 acre lot. It’s expensive, tiring, and difficult when you are trying to keep the wild vegetation and forces of nature from overtaking the sterile order. Eventually, you have to stick to the garden right next to the house and let the back 9 do whatever they want, occasionally pulling a few weeds or running it over with the mower.

    2. If the benighted cultures of which Bourdain was so fond abandoned their toxic religions and tribal idiocies, perhaps they would not be so mired in dysfunction?

  4. He is a selfish man. But, unforcedly, people like him give me a job in . Are that hypocritically? Works for a man like him?

      1. weirdest spam message i’ve seen today

        1. But fun, right? Yet short.

  5. RIP. He was an interesting guy with an, um, admittedly checkered past. I always enjoyed watching Parts Unknown. (Great intro/theme, btw.) Curious as to what really pushed him over the edge.

    1. They keep saying “apparent suicide” with few other details. I hope it wasn’t an “accidental suicide” even though the result is still the same.

      1. He hanged himself. I wonder if maybe it was not suicide but a David Karadine accident.

  6. Quite a shame. I think the article kind of cherry picks some libertarian things and in reality he as a lot more proggy than portrayed, but he’s the kind of proggy type I wish there were more of. Particularly given our current alternatives.

    In any case, his shows were great because he treated people like…people…and didn’t condescend or jump to conclusions…rather he got to know and empathize with them. It made his show very watchable.

    He also could not stand inauthenticity. My fav episode was when he went to eastern Europe somewhere, to dinner in the castle/restaurant, where everything was over-the-top pretentious and contrived. I guess they were trying to show off. He was withering.

  7. Whoa. Crazy. I had no idea he was anything close to depressed or suicidal. Damn.

    1. The food service industry is full of alcoholics. Leads to depression.

  8. The Chick-fil-a comment is interesting. Wonder what he would say/think about the Colorado wedding cake case.

    1. He would have eaten the cake.

  9. Jesus fucking Christ, Trump Derangement Syndrome and generalized anti-Americanism is even making their way into the fucking obituaries. Keep signaling that virtue.

    1. Uh, these are things that the guy who just died, actually said. You want to get some pull quotes of your own and post them, I hear google is a pretty good search engine.

      1. Look, we call this commenter Simple Mikey for a reason, and it’s not because he’s a minimalist.

      2. This is what Google found:

        CNN host Anthony Bourdain says he would poison Trump if he had to cook for him…..r-him.html

        1. And this of course is exactly why Reason loves him so much. If he was just a celebrity chef, they wouldn’t bother wasting their time with an obituary that’s primarily intended to virtue-signal.

          1. He has been regularly featured in Reason articles, for years and years before Trump ran for President.

        2. Or worse yet, if he had said that he wanted to poison Obama, the tone of the obituary would be 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Because Reason worships, adores, and venerated their Obamessiah.

          1. Whoever let you have access to a thesaurus needs to get slapped on the mouth.

        3. he was assume on archer where he poisoned the guest

        4. He was a sarcastic alcoholic. I wouldn’t take that too seriously.

      3. Uhhhhh, I completely understand that he was a progtard; which of course is why the obituary is so fawning and admirable.

        If he he had said that he thought America was the greatest country in the history of mankind and that he didn’t care much for Obama, there either wouldn’t be an obituary here at all or there would be one saying what an awful, “deplorable” person he was.

        1. I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good. Nothing nauseates me more than preaching to the converted. The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left?just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition?this does not win hearts and minds. It doesn’t change anyone’s opinions. It only solidifies them, and makes things worse for all of us. We should be breaking bread with each other, and finding common ground whenever possible. I fear that is not at all what we’ve done.

          Yeah, what a disgusting person. What an America-hater.

          1. damn awesome quote.

          2. Anthony argued with Bill Maher about his holier than though ideals and his refusal to speak to anyone who may disagree with him. He may be a prog but he was willing to listen

            1. I know that wingnuts hate Bill Maher but you can’t say he doesn’t invite conservatives on his show to listen to them. Conservatives are always welcome on Real Time and they are treated with respect.

              1. the few I’ve seen were invited on to be attacked by Bill and three other guest. I saw no respect but then trashing conservatives is considered respect amongst many of the haters on the left

                1. Try not being so fucking lazy and stupid with your ideas.

                  1. Try not to be a repulsive twit hated by everyone and whose very existence is analogous to a steaming turd. Oh wait, you can’t.

              2. I’m not a wingnut, just a radical individualist, and I find Maher to be unfunny in the extreme. I also do not agree that he treats guests with whom he obviously disagrees with respect.

                He tries to be a smug douche, but since he is so unfunny and ignorant, it doesn’t work very well.

                1. This guy gets it.

        2. Oh please. Just stop making things up that you think would have happened.

  10. He was truly a great man and an inspiration for many. This is shocking and demoralizing. However he was an early victim of the 12 Step cults where you are forced to confess that if you ever drink or drug again you will surely die. Many people believe it and fulfill the self-destructive prophecy at a low point in life. I’m glad though they called this suicide and didn’t blame it on ‘addiction’. Because that would only inflame a witch hunt against more kids and indoctrinate them into late-life suicide. Not to mention, ramp up the drug war.

    1. I know several people who have been helped by that program. not everyone passes just like any other self help group

      1. Typically those who claim to be ‘helped’ by the program have one or more sponsees that they bullied to suicide. Just ask them.

        1. Please cite a source, my personal anecdotal experience knowing several alcoholics did no such thing. Again just because a program did not work for some does not mean it can’t work for others the same way diets work for some but not all otherwise there would only be one way for everything.

          1. He won’t; his trigger is anybody trying to help anybody with mental disorders in any way.

            1. They’re all myths or sumthin.

            2. I help people by warning them that many trying to ‘help’ them do not have their best interests at heart. Instead they are trying to make an industry out of bullying them to suicide and then making us all pay for a ‘service’ for the ones left behind (not to mention a drug war and war on guns etc). It’s a total scam, and actually my message is deeply libertarian. Or hey, you can call the national suicide hotline. Let me know how that works out for you.

              1. I have no need to call them however you seem to have issues, maybe you should seek counsoling. BTW seeking help is also very libertarian

                1. Thanks for demonstrating the bullying you can expect to receive at your local 12 Step meeting if you question the old-timers’ wisdom or don’t “take direction” or many other transgressions.

        2. Really? I think the 12 Steps are more useless than anything. Suicide and addictions go hand in hand.

  11. When people are afraid” why do people always assume that those who voted for Trump are afraid. blanket assumptions of other peoples reasoning is such a failure of understanding or empathy in Bourdain’s case.

    sorry he felt he had no choices left, I liked his shows. I wonder if he ever reduced his drinking he was clearly an alcoholic in his earlier shows unfortunately I never saw his show on CNN

    1. There were the people afraid that ISIS was going to destroy Western civilization. There are people afraid that immigrants were going to replace American culture with something alien. There are people who afraid that the Democrats were running a secret plan to destroy America and install a NWO. There are people are afraid that not raising tariffs will make them lose their jobs. There are people who are afraid that PC culture will eliminate their own. There are people who are afraid that they’ll lose their jobs if they discuss politics.

      We’re lucky that these people were afraid of things that we also don’t like, but Trump did not run on a platform of positivity. He peddled fear and inadequacy. His biggest Bible-thumper was Alex Jones, the always terrified conspiracy theorist. It doesn’t matter that their fear was justified in certain cases; they were still afraid.

      1. Most voted to keep Hillary out. BTW what did the left run on? Fear of Guns Fear, of deplorables fear of anyone who thinks differently, fear of not getting free college, fear of etc. I think Reagan may have been the last president to run on Hope of a great America oh wait thats what Trump ran on as well.

        1. Yes, a fear of Hillary/Democrats. It doesn’t matter that the left also ran on fear; they made bad decisions too. It’s not relevant to Bourdain’s point, unless you want to contend that people who act out of fear act no worse than normal.

          Like it or not, Obama did run on Hope and Change. I don’t think any of his policy ideas were good, but he ran very well on positivity for the future rather than fear of the present.

          Trump’s slogan was MAGA, but it clearly implies that America isn’t great (which should have been game-ending for a Republican) and his rhetoric was all about how “others” are taking our shit or trying to kill us. Those dangerous others aren’t anywhere near as dangerous as not implementing reforms, a topic he mostly avoided other than health care. He didn’t offer any idea that we’d be on the right track, just that we wouldn’t be on the straight-to-Hell track.

          1. Obama’s hope was based on the fear of republicans thats why did not include him in true hope fullness of Americas peoples. that mantle will belong to Reagan.

            BTW the left is trying to take our shit through climate change laws, enviro laws, and forcing people to accept people into their bathrooms.

            I’d love to debate this issue more but I better get back to work and it has gotten off track of the point that Anthony even though he would listen to people he was still blinded by his own ideals of people.

    2. I’ve been seeing a lot of this today. Even white Republican Americans are less xenophobic than the vast majority of the world. All of American cuisine was stolen and appropriated and adopted from other cultures. This self-loathing stereotyping of Americans as obtuse and ignorant of the world is a form of the noble savage fallacy.

  12. Berlusconi, Putin, Duterte, (and Trump) the world is filled with bad choices

    Birds of a feather.

    1. Berlusconi, yes, Putin and Duterte, not so much.

    2. Why can’t you just give in your suicidal “sad clown” impulses like Bourdain did, Weigs?

    3. You are a retarded pile of shit.

  13. This is the guy who would bitch about American chain restaurants and rave about getting a chicken skewer from a food cart in Malaysia at 2 AM. A chicken skewer that I would bet tastes no better than something you’d find on the apps menu at Applebees or Red Robin, but because it came off of a street cart in Malaysia at 2 AM is “the best food, simple, unpretentious, and delicious.”

    1. Have you HAD Malaysian street food ?

      1. Street food can definitely be better than a chain restaurant, if for no other reason than the fact that they are specializing. Often a restaurant like Applebees has something on the menu not because the cooks can make it well, but because of marketing research or trendy ingredients

        1. Never eat at a restaurant called “Mom’s”. Beyond that, in my limited travels, we always seek out the little mom-and-pop meat-and-three greasy spoons the locals eat at. Sometimes you get some nasty crap, sometimes you get some pretty damn good grub. You’re not going to get anything fancy, but meatloaf and mashed potatoes can be just as varied in their quality as anything fancy and good meatloaf and mashed potatoes is still good eating.

    2. Some chain stores have decent food. Applebees is not one of them, imo

      1. I have a nephew who drives a truck for one of the food delivery services the fast casual chains use. He’s not delivering fresh meat and vegetables and cooking ingredients, he’s delivering pre-packaged entrees for the most part. There’s some things the fast casual places prepare themselves and some chains do more of their own prep than others but a lot of the stuff you’re going to get at the chains is essentially a TV dinner. It’s a high-quality, fairly tasty TV dinner, but it still was made in a factory somewhere and not in the kitchen of the restaurant you’re sitting in so there’s more chemicals and preservatives and commercial flavorings in the product than you’re ever going to find in a made-to-order sort of place. Beware the bagged salads.

        1. That’s gotten increasingly common as chains have grown and fallen under global food conglomerates. It’s not an accident that Taco Bell, whose restaurants actually used to make most of their food fresh and got little more from the corporate offices than a bunch of seasoning packets for the meat, began their downward slide in quality when Pepsi took them over.

          I worked at a Black-Eyed Pea when I was in high school, and everything that came out of the kitchen was made from scratch. *Everything.* The prep cooks were often the highest-paid employees in the restaurant (even more than the managers) because they did so much damn work both before and during the meal periods.

    3. Well, the Malaysia food probably occurred in a two block area, from the hatching of the chicken to butchering, cooking, and serving, and with no government bureaucrats and MBA-heavy international corporations. I can imagine multiple global supply chains, investment groups, and government agencies behind every Applebees appetizer.

      Maybe not better in Malaysia, but more efficient?

      1. I think the biggest issue is the street cart is selling to a specific audience. Very narrow, probably specific taste preferences, and so they cook for that. So you often get a distinct direction or flavor. While big chains tend to regress to a mean as they attempt to be good to as many people as possible.

        I think many people probably wouldn’t like that street food. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just specialization.

        1. ^This

          I haven’t had Malaysian street food, but I’ve had Hong Kong street food. Each cart had a limited menu, but was by no means just one item. I wasn’t sure what I was ordering sometimes. It was extreme…some things awesome, other things way way not awesome. Hint: people in HK apparently view cartilage as consumable food.

          TBH though, I preferred eating in regular restaurants.

    4. Food tourist reviews are generally inflated, particularly if done in front of a camera and production crew whose jobs depend on what you’re doing being oh-so-interesting.

    5. All food no matter how shitty taste great when you are as drunk as Bourdain is a 2 am

      1. I wan a fucka cheesbuehhrghh-*hiccup* cheeseburger and fries jusss-*hiccup*ssst pull over at the Mc*hiccup*Donald J Trump hahahaa imagine his name was like McDonalds Trump. Is this *hiccup* an Uber or do I gotta pay you mister driver man? Mr. McDriver. Quarter pounder with wheels. Oh my god hahahaha Mayor McPrius I’m sooo *hiccup* wasted!

    6. Why did you choose two of the worst Americana restaurants?

      AFAIK, he complained about chain restaurants not because they had bad food or were evil but because they’re unhealthy and too many people eat that shit daily. It’s not good for you.

      1. I suspect his dislike of chains was mostly because they are contrived and “inauthentic”. The people working in them don’t appear to love food, and just do it as a job. Perhaps a bit snobbish, and perhaps giving non-chains a bit too much credit.

        He seemed to enjoy eating stuff that’s bad for you on plenty of occasions.

      2. I think he wanted surprise. That’s what the chains eliminate. You know exactly what you’re gonna get before you go in – so why bother going in?

    7. Wouldn’t matter if the meat tasted like the floor of a chicken coop with hot sauce dumped on it–he’d whoop it up as a sensuous delight as long as he tasted in some faraway place. His shtick was to give foodies virtual experiences of culinary exoticism and he got rich off it.

      1. That’s not true. I saw many an episode where he faked it to be polite.

        1. His episode in African bush (Ghana, I think) where he ate the egg cooked it dirt was awesome.

    8. So why would any viewer have the slightest interest in hearing him talk about Applebees? If you want Applebees – turn off the TV and go there.

  14. Bonus: he distrusted vegetarians

  15. I liked Bourdain’s shows, it wasn’t just about the food, it was about the culture and how connected the two things are. I realize this is a political magazine so you’re going to take a certain angle on the story, but not everything has to be about politics. The guy was a good story-teller, led a hell of an interesting life, seemed as down-to-earth in a lot of ways as Mike Rowe. Good food, good friends, good booze and an occasion to celebrate – what more could you want?

  16. Hey, at least we still have Lou Reed.

    1. Amazing how he keeps pumping out chart toppers.

  17. His episode in Libya was interesting.
    His episode of Obama worship in Vietnam was ridiculous.
    His guest spot on Archer was great.
    That is all.

    1. On his show, he also enjoyed the food at Waffle House.

  18. Was a big fan. Bummer.

    1. If you liked his shows you’ll like his books.

  19. I am suspicious of the suicide claim. I don’t mean to say I think he was killed, but perhaps he actually overdosed or died in some embarrassing manner?

    I am suspicious because he seems to be in the middle of doing something he loves (making a show in paris), and his recent interviews seem entirely normal. But the biggest reason I am suspicious is how quickly and total assured the suicide claim was given for cause of death. The articles about it simply say it was suicide and just move on from it in a manner that feels contrived to me.

    1. He hanged himself after his ex girlfriend goaded him over Instagram. An actress who dumped him for a producer. Typical. But what do you expect when you date someone half your age?

      1. yes, I have found more info about it all now. My suspicions wrong, it appears he really did off himself.

      2. Link?

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  21. Fucking women. They seem to enjoy driving men to suicide.

    1. I agree she was a bitch. But why suicide? Maybe just guilty because he left his wife and daughter?

      He seemed to give his heart a lot. This time he gave it to the wrong person. Too bad. He had a lot more to contribute to the world than she ever will.

      1. I agree she was a bitch. But why suicide? Maybe just guilty because he left his wife and daughter?

        I’m sure that was part of it, but you have to realize that people in this social class (mass media, entertainers, celebrities) are typically a bundle of various anxieties and often medicate themselves in some form or another, whether it’s booze, hard drugs, or “legal” drugs like anti-depressants. Living in DA BIG CITY is putting yourself in a human form of a Calhoun rat experiment, and a lot of people can’t cope with the hyper-stimulation without some form of self-medication to calm them down.

  22. Riggs, thank you for not including the suicide crisis line in this article. It shows respect for the man’s choices.

    1. I’m going to assume this is your customary just-a-bit-too-subtle sarcasm, because providing people with an option to talk to someone about what they’re going through is giving them more of a choice.

  23. okay, I have read some more about this, I was wrong. It appears he actually did commit suicide, CNN and some other large media outlets just are not discussing the particulars very much at this point, but they are out there.

    1. He was mentally ill, as most disciples of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky, and Saul Alinsky are.

  24. If you really paid attention, AB did with his works what the internet wishes it could do, it brought the world closer.

    That’s a hell of an accomplishment.

  25. He came off as arrogant and meanspirited to me so its no surprise that he might have been a wreck inside. Having said that I am sorry for him.

    1. This was my impression, too, but he seemed like a very complex person so I get the picture that he cared a great deal about many things, and just happened to be quite prickly about it.

  26. Thank you for this article. Although I enjoyed seeing him on TV I didn[‘t know anything about his passion and beliefs before. Depression is an ugly horrible thing – and people with great passion and great expectations for others often suffer from it because they can’t cure all the ills of the world. He was one such man. My Bill, dead now for many years was another – as was Abe Lincoln.

    the more you care – the higher the price.

    1. Well put.

  27. I’m struck by how the media and twitterverse are telling depressed individuals to “call this suicide hotline” rather than saying “Your life matters” or “Be a human being for once and reach out to people who might need you.”

    It’s the hypocrisy that gets to me. CNN is the same network that doxxed a person for creating an anti CNN meme. Social media drove a porn star to her death because she wouldn’t have sex with a gay man.

    When humanity is reduced to banner causes and singular obsession over certain identity politics, you get Harvey Weinstein, who was a loud voice against gender pay gap but raped women in his private time.

    1. Wait, so that lady was refusing to service gay performers the same way she serviced straight ones? I wonder what the Colorado Cake Commission and Justice Kennedy would have to say about that.

  28. what if the solution to all his problems was waiting in a cafe for him this afternoon?

  29. “All vegans are literally terrorists.”
    – Anthony Bourdain

    “Everyone who likes pickup trucks and Jesus is racist and Trumpian and stupid and evil.”
    – Tony

    I’m paraphrasing slightly.

  30. I liked Bourdain. I have no idea why he killed himself, but suicide is an individual choice. I’ll be turning 72 this month, but I have no desire to see my 82nd birthday.

    1. Hey how did you get online?

  31. Trump Derangement Syndrome takes another. Well, they’re always threatening to leave the country….

  32. Bourdain’s patchy iconoclasm aside, I thought he was a better writer than television personality. His shows were a little thin content-wise, and he never provided too much insight, and it got thinner and less insightful as the years went by. Gordon Ramsay comes to mind by way of comparison; Ramsay the professional chef that is, not the shock-chef cum reality TV star. But Ramsay has the gift of being a chef who can deliver technique and information in one go whereas Bourdain coasted through his shows as an observer with a bunch of hackneyed, oh yeahs, this is good, you gotta try this-isms. But at least he got off his ass and traveled around the world, and he wrote some good books.

    It’s only in hindsight that some suicides are obvious. This seems a bit out of left field.

    1. His review of a Waffle House pecan waffle was indistinguishable from any other review he had done…

      Mmmm. Perfect…

  33. He may have called himself an ‘old lefty’, but there has been no one on American TV who, over the past nearly 20 years, has more clearly and consistently shown that no matter how much governments f*ck things up, people find a way to survive and carry on living as much of the life they want to live as they can.

  34. I am saddened by the news of his death. Mr. Bourdain has always made me think. I loved his analogy of Paula Dean’s endorsement of diabetes medicine in comparison to a doctor breaking people’s legs and then selling crutches to them!


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  36. Saddened by the loss of this talented, beholden-to-no-orthodoxy fellow. We never really know others’ demons, or when they will get the upper hand. Condolences to his loved ones (of which, I assume, there were many).

  37. Why is it ok to stereotype immigrants as hard workers and Americans as lazy?

    And voting for Trump reminds him of Duterte?

    Eye. Roll.

    1. Because of a self-selection bias.

  38. Anthony Bourdain showed his empathy, by saying that if he ever cooked for the President, he’d poison him. He showed his wild, independent streak, by jumping on the #metoo hoax bandwagon.

    When someone writes a hagiography or a demonography, his political loyalties become immediately apparent. Mike Riggs is clearly as pc as Bourdain was.

  39. Yikes, there are some nasty comments on here, even for Reason. I’ve read all of his books and enjoyed them. RIP, Mr Bourdain.

    1. sure he was an interesting guy, but he was also an immense hypocrite and when a person is as judgmental as he was, the double standards are going to get pointed out. That is not nasty.

    2. sure he was an interesting guy, but he was also an immense hypocrite and when a person is as judgmental as he was, the double standards are going to get pointed out. That is not nasty.

  40. My guess…not suicide. “Erotic asphyxiation.”
    He wasn’t the type to off himself.

    1. This was the first thing that came to mind when I heard Bourdain “committed suicide”. Seems odd that he would suddenly decide to kill himself while in one of his favorite places. More news will break. I’m also wondering if he received bleak medical news.

  41. When a job applicant starts telling me how Pacific Rim cuisine turns him on and inspires him, I see trouble coming.

    ….says the CIA graduate who inspires people with Pacific Rim Cuisine

    Send me another Mexican dishwasher anytime.

    Ah. More Mexicans. ‘Dishwasher’ was entry level in kitchen work. Before culinary institutes, before cooking channels. It was the absolute bottom in the kitchen. You do good, you start getting some prep work, and so on. Now, it’s the Mexican, working for half what they can legally pay you, who can’t complain and has no legal recourse.

    Thanks, Anthony!

    I can teach him to cook.

    No. You can teach them to obey. Because they don’t really have a choice. If you’re not there, they screw up. Don’t believe me? Check reviews correlated with chef absence. Yup.

    1. con’t

  42. People who commit suicide aren’t “selfish” or “immoral” or “character-flawed”. What they are is very, very ill. Their brain chemistry is so off-kilter that they really think the world, including their loved ones, are better off without them. They aren’t committing suicide to gain attention or to get back at anyone. They are committing suicide because they are ill and they can’t see any way out of their pain.

  43. The enemy to tyrants who supported the Castro regime and worshipped Obama.

  44. It is clear the writer loved Bourdain. What is equally clear is that here was a very disturbed man who hid it well and killed himself because of it. If he had been as rational as Riggs and Reason would have had him be, he would not be dead today.

  45. I love to see nature self correct. Unfortunately, some of his genes will persist. Hopefully, his daughter got a good roll.

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