Anthony Bourdain, the badass chef-turned-globetrotting TV host, died on Friday at 61. According to CNN, Bourdain was found unresponsive in his hotel room in Strasbourg, France, where he was working on an episode of his show Parts Unknown. The network says he killed himself. This one stings a lot.
Let’s remember the maverick food porn poet by watching him in one of his purest moments: enjoying artery-clogging food at Waffle House in Charleston, South Carolina. For all his world travels, Bourdain hadn’t visited the Southern culinary mecca until 2015, when he filmed an episode of Parts Unknown there. The clip below encapsulates everything that was great about the man — his open-minded, non-elitist attitude towards food; how he never turned his nose up at any restaurant, no matter how lowbrow or quaint. He was hungry to experience it all.
Watch him wolf down some butter-slathered pecan waffles, then proclaim, “This is better than the French Laundry, man.”
Note the way he describes the place — a description that poignantly expresses everything America should stand for: “It is indeed marvellous — an irony-free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts; where everybody, regardless of race, creed, colour, or degree of inebriation, is welcomed.” They ought to inscribe those words on the Statue of Liberty.
Equally as moving, near the end of the clip, is his literal translation of the word ‘umami’: “I will suck your dick for a bite of that burger.”
R.I.P. Anthony Bourdain — comfort food lover, and our comfort food brother.