Originally published in Forbes.
The restaurant industry woke up to very sad news on Friday, when CNN reported that star chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain was found dead in a hotel room. According to CNN, the cause of death is suicide; an unresponsive Bourdain, 61, was found by his friend and fellow chef Eric Ripert. They were in France working on a new installment of Bourdain's food show, Parts Unknown.
It was a shocking end to a life and career that spanned media and burned white-hot for close to two decades.
Bourdain's star turn came in 2000 with the publication of Kitchen Confidential, a memoir that delivered on the promise of "wild-but-true" restaurant stories and which inspired an entire generation of emerging talent. The book's honest-no-matter-the-cost tone would become the template for Bourdain's second career, as a globe-trotting TV host who reimagined the travel food show. He trademarked himself as a proud anti-snob and a critic of overwrought culinary conventions.
When Bourdain had a chance to have dinner with then-President Barack Obama, for example, they met not in a tony white-tablecloth establishment but a casual Hanoi restaurant with plastic stools, where the total cost of the bill was a reputed $6. Last year, the New Yorker described the dinner between Bourdain and the President. “Dip and stir,” Bourdain said to the President as they were served steaming bowls of bún chả, a Vietnamese noodle dish. “And get ready for the awesomeness.”
Read the full story on Forbes.