Remembering Anthony Bourdain: What we'll miss most about the celebrity chef

Remembering Anthony Bourdain: What we'll miss most about the celebrity chef

Farewell, legend

Text: Janice Sim

Anthony Bourdain leaves us at 61, with a legacy we'll never forget

Last week was a difficult week for the world. First, news of designer Kate Spade's suicide broke, then came Anthony Bourdain's unprecedented death — the aftermath of his lost battle with mental health issues. 

Bourdain will be remembered for being one of the most influential chefs and storytellers of our time. Revolutionising the way we travel and we eat, the man has brought to us many gifts — in the form of bestselling books, television programmes like Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and CNN's Parts Unknown, and lastly, his life story. 

As we say goodbye to the titan of food culture, we recap the best things we'll miss about him.  

1.  His bold, unapologetic attitude

It's rare to find someone like Bourdain on television — someone who eschewed false flattery or pretence even when the cameras started rolling. The chef wasn't afraid to speak his mind when it came to controversial topics like veganism, vegetarianism, or when it came to putting down famous chefs he felt had a lack of culinary authenticity. When it came down to it, he had no qualms admitting his own flaws and weaknesses. In our opinion, he made a career out of his brutal honesty. 

Anthony Bourdain

2. A voice of inclusion

Beyond his rugged good looks and hosting abilities, Bourdain stood out distinctively for his thought-provoking perspectives on world issues, cultural differences and political conflicts. Even when it came to commenting on America's devastating destruction on many countries, he was passionate when expressing his disdain and hate for political leaders like Henry Kissinger — who played a key role in bombing Southeast Asia between 1963 and 1973.

3. Love and understanding for Asian cuisine

If there's anything we've learnt from the "Crispy Rendang" saga this year, it's that even skilled chefs have a little trouble understanding and appreciating Asian cuisine. A bulk of Bourdain's resume includes educating most of America on Asian cuisine. He ate and drank his way through Asia (even Singapore) and never tokened us with words like "exotic" but instead, cemented his footing as one of the most credible foreign travel hosts who understood and fell in love with the Asian food scene.

4. Helpful, off-the-beaten track information

With shows like Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and CNN's Parts Unknown, millions of people scored valuable tidbits when it came to scouring the globe for a decent meal. Even for curious viewers worldwide who didn't have the luxury to travel, he was an important communicator. "He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together," Barack Obama wrote on Twitter. 

5. His iconic quotes

We'll never forget that chicken nuggets are the most disgusting thing he says he has ever eaten. Apart from that, this is one in particular that stuck with us: "Travel isn't always pretty. It isn't always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that's okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind."

Anthony Bourdain

Read what celebrity chefs around the world had to say about Anthony Bourdain's passing.