In extremely tragic news, chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain is dead at the age of 61. CNN reports that Bourdain died by suicide. Born in New York City in 1956, Bourdain made waves in the industry by publishing his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly in 2000, which was a no-holds-barred look at the life of a chef in New York city. The memoir was so successful it was turned into a sitcom on FOX in 2005 with Bradley Cooper playing a version of Bourdain, although it was cancelled during its first season.
Bourdain continued to write about his life and food, but in the wake of Kitchen Confidential turned his attention to television himself, where he first hosted the Food Network food and travel show A Cook’s Tour in 2002, followed by his tremendous Travel Channel series No Reservations. That show ran from 2005 to 2012, and in it Bourdain took viewers to various locales, sampling the local cuisine but also providing a journalistic look at life in places very different from our own. Bourdain invited viewers to challenge their way of thinking about the world, and I can personally attest that No Reservations had a strong impact on me.
Most recently, Bourdain was hosting the CNN series Parts Unknown, which brought journalism and politics more to the forefront as he traveled the world. He also made various appearances on a number of other cooking shows, and last year became a prominent advocate for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, particularly as pertaining to Harvey Weinstein.
Bourdain will leave a massive hole in the world, and his death is a reminder that depression and mental illness cares not for wealth, fame, or perceived happiness. If you or someone you know is having a rough time, please talk to someone.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 1-800-273-8255.