I found out at 6am. Why would Beverly of all people change her profile picture? I typed his name into the search bar and I knew what had happened before I saw the headline.
Anthony Bourdain, dead at 61.
I dropped my phone shaking. 4 hours later and I still feel fucking sick.
My girlfriend knows him from TV and shes a civilian who’s finding out that being a Chef is a lifestyle, not just a job. It was hard to process what had happened while explaining to her that he wasn’t a celebrity, he was one of us.
I had heard about his book but didn’t pick it up until I was in Berkeley in 2003. It was in the used bin for $5 and I figured why not. At the time I was cooking but never thought I could be a Chef, Chefs had short hair and didn’t drink or do drugs. The truth is that most of us did and still do and it didn’t matter as long as the food was amazing. He was the first to be brutality honest and give guys like me a voice.
He made it cool to be a cook.
My social media is nothing but Bourdain right now. Unlike most egos with titles you see on TV, Bourdain would have been welcome in any Kitchen anywhere in the world.
He was still very much one of us to the end.
It was his humility that won us over. While he was a graduate of the CIA, he never claimed to be great, he was just a working class smuck like the rest of us trying to pay his bills and keep his head above water. He was honest about being a one time junkie who never forget what he had been through. While I never met him in person, he never once struck me as the type who let his success go to his head.
This is a game changer.
Civilians, those who don’t work in the industry have no fucking clue how important he was. If you eat, there’s a 90% chance that the guy making your food read his book more than once. He gave us a voice and made us proud to be Chefs. He inspired countless men and women to put on a jacket and pick up a knife.
I’m wearing my jacket tonight.
I don’t remember the last time I wore one. I have my issues with the ego and things like that. But it’s Friday night and the entire Kitchen world wide is in a state of shock and the only thing that makes any sense is to go in early and prep and deep clean and set up the line.
Let’s talk the ugly
It’s still breaking news. From what they’re saying it was suicide and this makes the whole thing that much harder to stomach. I’m not judging him at all and my only hope is that he found the peace he was searching for.
But fuck man, why?
This is guy that I never met in person yet I’m grieving over like a friend. The industry is fucked and yet it’s my family. If you work in a Kitchen, we’re cousins and Bourdain was that cool uncle who had the best weed and funny stories. He was one of us, he could have been the Chef next door who would bum you a smoke or let you borrow a bucket of ice when your machine went down.
All we can do is cook
Seriously, it’s the only choice we have right now. This weekend is going to hard, the Kitchen will never be the same. But it’s what he would have wanted, it’s what he helped inspire us to do. Let’s show our appreciation for the man and show our customers what it means to cook from the heart.
Thank you Chef.