Anthony Bourdain: 'Elvis of Bad Boy Chefs' made it cool to enjoy other cuisines
Top desi chefs Floyd Cardoz and Vikas Khanna pay tributes to Anthony Bourdain, who killed himself on Friday
Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef, food critic and writer, passed away in France on Friday, aged 61. His untimely death, suspected to be a suicide, sparked an outpouring of grief on social media by celebrities and famous chefs all over the world, including in India, which Bourdain had visited several times for his TV shows.
ON Friday morning, Bourdain's friend and fellow chef Eric Ripert found him unresponsive in his hotel room in Strasbourg, France. He was there to shoot for a new season of his hit food show, Parts Unknown, for CNN. Bourdain had visited India for the same show over a decade ago, when he rode second class in a local train in Kolkata, sampled street food, falooda and Bollywood in Mumbai.
'In minutes, I felt like I had known him for ages'
"Anthony Bourdain was a super-relaxed person with zero affectation," said Nondon Bagchi, Kolkata-based musician and columnist, who appeared with Bourdain on an episode of No Reservations. "What stayed with me was that he accepted food in the same way as you would different people in your life, with their individuality. He was open to food from every country and region."
Nondon Bagchi. Pic/Ronny Sen
"I hadn't heard of him until the production house of No Reservations got in touch with me for the show. He was easy from the word go. Sitting on a bench in Kolkata's Dalhousie Square, eating what all the office-goers in the area were eating, and appreciating it too, he carried a warm vibe about him. In just a few minutes of meeting him, I felt like I had known him for ages."
-As told to Shunashir Sen
'He loved Indian food'
I had cooked for him once at my midtown restaurant Purnima (in the US), and on another occasion, I had catered for an event where he was a guest. He was very intelligent and had an intense personality.
Vikas Khanna, Michelin star chef, writer
When I met him on his return to NYC, he told me just one thing – "Keep pushing the boundaries in your journey."
-As told to Fiona Fernandez
In 2016, when Barack Obama visited Vietnam, he met Bourdain for a special meal of $3 pork noodles and spring rolls at Bun Cha Huong Lien restaurant and also appeared on an episode of Parts Unknown. Their table has been preserved under a glass box. Pic courtesy CNN
Husband, father and boyfriend
Anthony Bourdain was married twice, first to his high-school sweetheart Nancy Putkoski in 1985. They divorced after 20 years. Two years later, he married mixed martial artiste Ottavia Busia, and they had a daughter, Ariane, in 2007. After nine years, the couple split, for which Bourdain blamed his constant travel for work. Last year, he was romantically linked with Italian actress Asia Argento.
'He had a softer side than we saw on TV'
Floyd Cardoz, culinary director, Hunger Inc
'The first time I met him was on a TV show, at a dinner for chefs. The second time, I had taken him to Queens for an Indian meal at the Hindu temple, which was part of his show on Queens. He was a very kind man with a softer side to him than what was shown on TV. He was very respectful to all cuisines and people started to experiment with various foods when travelling because of him'
Chef Prateek Sadhu, Executive Chef & Founder, Masque
'Chef Anthony Bourdain has been recognised as the 'Elvis of bad boy chefs' for his honest unapologetic nature. He has been an inspiration to so many chefs including myself as he dared to take risks and think outside the box. As fellow graduates of the Culinary Institute of America I felt a connect with him and was always on the lookout for his next move be it in his show Kitchen Confidential or his next bestseller. The industry has lost a legend and the culinary world today has a little less spice'
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Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain found dead