Anthony Bourdain's final texts revealed in new biography

Originally published at: Anthony Bourdain's final texts revealed in new biography | Boing Boing


I discovered Anthony Bourdain only a couple of years before his untimely death, and in hindsight, I think what played a role was that his soul had two incompatible pulls to it: on the one hand, the whole macho thing that made his public persona so compelling because it was with a wink, but it butted heads with his obvious compassion.

Being an asshole with a heart of gold is a difficult, difficult balancing act but from the outside, it seemed he was pulling it off. Which is why at first his death came as such a shock. It was only later, when I read Kitchen Confidential did I see in the last chapter a hint of the depression, the whole “at what cost have I become this?” coupled with a tinge of, well, a feeling that there were few if any thrills left, nothing left to keep him looking forward to the next day instead of just checking out.

I barely got to know him, and yet I miss him. And think about him every time I make an omelet or a grilled cheese, as his recipe book Appetites helped me finally get good at cooking.


I’ve been left with a hole in my life, because his shows and books were fantastically transportive to me, and his voice was one that I could have listened to for days. I can’t see a picture of him or read anything he’s written because his inimitable voice is impossible to distance from his work, and I’m still sad/angry at how someone who seemed so present and aware of things somehow managed to spiral downward so quickly, and in such solitude.

Someday, I think, I’ll be able to go back to his work and enjoy it again. Until then, I have to stay away because it makes me too sad.

Bits of the last things he ever wrote are very worrisome. Once the dam broke with women’s allegations and reporting of abuse throughout the industry, it was apparent that he took it very hard. Yes, he admitted that he had contributed to the culture of being an asshole and not making women feel welcome in professional kitchens, but his reaction to the scope of it and “I’m now worried that I haven’t done enough and people are still being hurt” mentality - to me - seems like a clear indicator of someone who was eventually going to have a very tough time navigating everything that came of it.


Same. It’s extremely rare that I become attached to celebrities of any stripe, but his death hit me really hard. I haven’t even been able to finish the last season of Parts Unknown, which is the greatest geopolitical food/travel show ever made, imo. His visit to Iran and the subsequent actions the gov’t took against Jason and Mary Rezaian was one of the most intimate and terrible and consequential pieces of documentary media I’ve ever seen.

Yeah, and then to have his current paramour involved in an age-inappropriate relationship and all of the media dust storm around it must have been his worst nightmare at the worst possible time.


I’d been a Bourdain fan for years, ever since the early days of No Reservations. His death hit me pretty hard and I’ve found it’s been hard to watch or read his works. I have a copy of Bourdain that I’ve gotten about a quarter of the way through. Recently, I watched Roadrunner and it left me devastated. His last few years, especially after his divorce and his relationship with Asia Argento, it’s like watching a car crash in slow motion. The misery and pain, yes, but also the obstinance and selfishness. It really changed my opinion of him. Honestly, I don’t think I can go back to Bourdain or any of his books or TV series for quite some time after having watched that.

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“I hate my fans, too. I hate being famous. I hate my job,”

As anyone that has worked in the food industry, completely understand his emotions here.


Let’s call it what it was. She raped a child, manipulated Bourdain to pay him off and keep it quiet, and lied about it the entire time. She’s a criminal and garbage person.

edit: Removed language that might have inadvertantly indicated that something terrible done to her was connected to the crime she committed.


I’m hesitant to say that because I don’t know and don’t want to know too much about it, but that sure seems to be probable.

No thanks

Mental Health is just difficult all around, especially when accompanied with challenging behaviours. Bourdain may have been imperfect, but just like many of our friends, that can sometimes be forgiven in the big picture. Sometimes that behaviour is suggesting something underneath, and yes some people are just unredeemably unpleasant. Each person is unique so the answer will always be complicated.

Bourdains suicide also hit me hard, not just as someone I enjoyed watching, but seeing yet another person who was clearly suffering not get adequate help, even with all his means. Which reminds me of Robbin Williams who deapite his means and wxternal demeanor was also lost to suicide.

This is hitting particularly hard (and thus fueling a rambling reply) as today would be the 40th birthday of one of my best friends who took their own life several years ago. This was someone who could be incredibly kind, funny, and occasionally an ass. When he was being treated for his mental health I saw the discrimination he faced (little comments here and there) and challenges with not getting enough support. He was an increadibly intelligent person who by all appearances had a very privileged life. In retrospect I see things I didn’t at the time and wish I could have been more supportive. I am dissapointed in the entire system, however I have come to accept that it is not possible to know if another outcome could have happened.

Now I tend to listen a little closer and jump in a bit earlier with support when I see a friends having challenges or behaving differently. I know this isnt enough on it’s own but its the best I can do. We all need to be advocates for mental healthcare as healthcare. The system as a whole really needs to change, but acceptance and not discrimination is the first step. The more we don’t have to keep our mental health quiet, the more we can realize the real number of people being treated or needing treatment. It is far more people than many would like to admit.

Anyway I could probably be more elegant but there’s my stream of conciousness directed at the group via you for no other reason than some key words in your post.


I work in the mental health field and yes, the stigma a lot of people face is brutal. I’m sorry about your friend. <3


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