In a brand-conscious world Anthony Bourdain remains a BS-free revolutionary
Brilliant, honest chef’s death reminds us to take care of ourselves and mind others
When I was in first year in college, I found a book in a wardrobe in my house. Kitchen Confidential instantly changed my relationship with food, with the restaurants I worked in to pay my way through university, with chefs, with New York, with writing. I wanted to know what Vichyssoise was and to eat an oyster. At the time, Down and Out in Paris and London was one of my favourite books – I discovered it 68 years after it was first published – and Kitchen Confidential is arguably one of the few, maybe the only one, that could credibly be called its successor.
Surely hundreds of thousands of people had this same experience, falling in love with Anthony Bourdain’s energy, enthusiasm, his almost explicit level of honesty, and the seduction of that lid being lifted on the stew of the industry, and all the hedonism, recklessness and joy that bubbled underneath. We know that food matters, but very few people can really transmit that. Bourdain connected food to what it’s really all about; life, place, people.