Suicide rates are on the rise, and swiftly on the heels of Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain takes his own life. Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USA, but so far no one knows why Bourdain committed suicide.
Bourdain’s Kitchen Roots
Before he was a celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality; he was first a dishwasher. Born in New York in 1956, Bourdain grew up in New Jersey, and started working in kitchens when he was a teenager. It was during those days he started to take drugs, leading to a heroin addiction among other problems. Later, he said that those problems should have killed him during his twenties. He also studied at New York’s Vassar College for two years, before dropping out and enrolling in culinary school. After that, he worked as a line cook and sous chef for restaurants in the Northeast for years, before becoming executive chef at Manhattan’s Brasserie Les Halles.
Bourdain’s Writing and Rise to Fame
Besides cooking, Bourdain had another passion: writing. An article he wrote in 1999 entitled “Don’t Eat Before Reading This”, which was about the secrets of kitchen life as well as shady people he had encountered along the way, gained widespread public attention. Then, in 2000, the article was transformed into a best-selling book, called “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly”. The book translated into more than twenty-four languages, and catapulted Bourdain to fame and international stardom.
Bourdain’s Time in the Spotlight
Bourdain had been in programs showcasing the exploration of international culture, cuisine, as well as the human condition. Through these programs and his books, he helped audiences think differently about food, travel, and themselves. The human population is different, yet the same, and Bourdain managed to highlight both the diversity and similarities of different cultures through the simple act of sharing a meal. Audiences no doubt connected with Bourdain on some level as they watched him explore the unknown with gusto, and listened to his seemingly magical tales.
Bourdain’s Values & Causes
As a somewhat influential person, Bourdain advocated for a few things. Also known as a “hero” for the underdogs, he advocated for marginalised populations, and fought for safer working conditions for restaurant staff members. He was also a fierce believer in being “fearless”; he was a proponent of taste and trying, and he encouraged his nation to do the same. Bourdain was also a fierce ally of the #MeToo campaign, especially since his girlfriend Asia Argento accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.
Bourdain was in France, working on an upcoming episode for Parts Unknown. The French chef Eric Ripert, who was a close friend, found him unresponsive in his hotel room. Evidence shows that he took his own life. Family and friends reported that there was nothing amiss with Bourdain in the days immediately preceding his death. He was 61.