Some people sing and dance their way to fame while others attain it through their porting abilities or even cooking. If there is one man that belongs to the last category, it is definitely celebrity chef and travel documentarian, Anthony Bourdain.
Bourdain started out as a dishwasher before going on to become a world-renowned chef. He has since gone ahead to anchor several award-winning shows and write many books during his career before unfortunately passing away in 2018, throwing the whole food industry into mourning. Want to know more about the man who has been described as “the original rock star of the culinary world?” Then join us as we go through his life work and achievements.
Anthony Michael Bourdain was born on the 25th of June 1956 in New York City, New York. His mother’s name is Gladys while his father’s name is Pierre Bourdain. He had a younger brother named Chris.
Bourdain’s paternal grandparents were French and he often visited them as a child. It was during one of such visits that he became fascinated with food, thanks to an oyster he ate on a boat. He received his education at Dwight-Eaglewood school, New Jersey, graduating in 1973 before studying at the famed Vassar College but dropped out after two years.
On dropping out, Anthony Bourdain found work in various restaurants in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and was subsequently inspired to pursue a career as a chef. He enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America and obtained an associate degree in 1978. Upon graduation, he headed back to New York and worked as a head chef for various restaurants. This was until 1998 when he was made the executive chef of Brasserie Les Halles (BLH).
While working at BLH, Bourdain penned an article for the New Yorker titled Don’t Eat before Reading This. The 1999 article, which exposed the ugly side of the restaurant business, proved so popular that he turned it into a full-blown book titled Kitchen Confidential – Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000). The book was not just a bestseller but also spurned Bourdain’s first TV show, A Cook’s Tour.
In the course of his highly successful career, Anthony Bourdain hosted no less than four shows. They are; A Cook’s Tour (2002-2003), Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (2005-2012), The Layover (2011-2013) and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (2013-2018). His shows had one thing in common, they mostly involved him traveling to exotic cities and remote parts of the world to sample their traditional cuisine. He was very open-minded about food and would try anything, be it sheep testicles or the unwashed rectum of a wild pig (warthog).
Anthony Bourdain also participated as a judge and mentor on various TV cooking competitions such as The Taste and Top Chef. He received numerous accolades during his career. His show, Parts Unknown, won a total of eight Emmy awards, including four Emmys for outstanding informational series. The celebrity chef also received an honorary Ph.D. from the Culinary Institute of America in 2017.
Anthony Bourdain Family – Wife, Daughter, Girlfriend
Anthony Bourdain was married on two occasions. His first marriage was in 1985 to high school sweetheart, Nancy Putkoski. They were together for twenty years before divorcing in 2005. He tried the marriage institution again in 2007, this time with former professional fighter Ottavia Busia. The union produced a daughter named Ariane born in 2007.
Bourdain was 51 at the time his daughter was born and he has described her as the most important person in his life. But despite having created a bundle of joy with Ottavia, the two began having a hard time and soon separated in 2016. They were said to have been involved in divorce proceedings when he died.
As Bourdain separated from his wife, he began a relationship with Italian actress, Asia Argento. Their relationship commenced in late 2016 and they remained together until his death. Bourdain and Argento met during the Rome episode of Parts Unknown. The actress served as his guide during the show and showed him all the best-hidden spots in Rome. The couple kept their romance private but often posted about each other online. He once described her as ‘his shelter from the storm’ while the actress described him as ‘her rock and protector’. Bourdain also supported Argento when she made allegations of sexual assault against disgraced Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein.
The renowned chef reportedly had a net worth of around $16 million but only $1.2 million was declared in his will. Industry watchers have revealed that he must have kept his remaining wealth in a private trust.
Bourdain made his money from his TV shows as well as book royalties. The New York native wrote 13 books, including at least two crime novels. He left most of his wealth to his young daughter, Ariane. He also left his personal and household items to his former wife, Ottavia Busia. Ottavia also inherited his accumulated flyer miles, which will be quite significant seeing as he regularly traveled to different parts of the world for his show.
Bourdain died on the 8th of June 2018 in Strasbourg, France. His course of death was suicide as he hung himself in his hotel room. His close friends have revealed that he struggled with depression. They also disclosed that his depression was connected with drug abuse during his youth.
As a young man, Bourdain indulged in substances such as heroin and cocaine but later cleaned himself up. His death led to an outpouring of tributes from several quarters. He received tributes from personalities such as Barack Obama (who had appeared on his show) as well as celebrity British chef, Gordon Ramsay. Bourdain’s remains were cremated in France before being sent back to the U.S.