In this Sept. 11, 2016 file photo, Anthony Bourdain winner of the award for outstanding informational series or special for “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” attends the Governors Ball during night two of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Bourdain has been found dead in his hotel room in France, Friday, June 8, 2018, while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions around the world. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
In this Oct. 5, 2017 file photo, Executive Producer and narrator chef Anthony Bourdain attends the premiere of “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste” at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in New York. Bourdain has been found dead in his hotel room in France, Friday, June 8, 2018, while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions around the world. (Photo by Brent N. Clarke/Invision/AP, File)
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In this Sept. 11, 2016 file photo, Anthony Bourdain arrives at night two of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Bourdain has been found dead in his hotel room in France, Friday, June 8, 2018, while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions around the world. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
In this Nov. 2, 2016, file photo, Anthony Bourdain participates in the BUILD Speaker Series to discuss the online film series “Raw Craft” at AOL Studios in New York. Bourdain has been found dead in his hotel room in France, Friday, June 8, 2018, while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions around the world. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)
Joanna Jhanda/Contra Costa Times
Anthony Bourdain, host of “No Reservations” on the Travel and author of “Kitchen Confidential” looks over his carne asada tacos, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007, at Taqueria El Grullo, a taco truck in Oakland, Calif.
Joanna Jhanda/Contra Costa Times
Anthony Bourdain, host of “No Reservations” on the Travel and author of “Kitchen Confidential” waits for his order, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007, at Taqueria El Grullo, a taco truck in Oakland, Calif.
Joanna Jhanda/Contra Costa Times
Anthony Bourdain, host of “No Reservations” on the Travel and author of “Kitchen Confidential” eats a carne asada taco, Sunday, Nov. 18, 2007, from Taqueria El Grullo, a taco truck in Oakland, Calif.
Anthony Bourdain (Courtesy Travel Channel)
Anthony Bourdain’s new cooking competition, ‘The Taste,’ takes flight Jan. 22 on ABC, with a judging panel that includes Nigella Lawson and Ludo Lefebvre. (Royce Carlton Inc.)
Jose Carlos Fajardo/staff archives
Anthony Bourdain is seen in 2002 during a publicity stop for his show, “A Cook’s Tour.”
Mentors, Ludo Lefebvre, Nigella Lawson, Brian Malarkey and Anthony Bourdain during ‘The Taste,’ televised on Tuesday, January 22, 2012.
Diane Dimeo and Anthony Bourdain during ‘The Taste’ televised on Tuesday, February 12, 2013. (ABC/SASHA SHEMIRANI)
TV personality Anthony Bourdain’s show “Parts Unknown” takes him to such places as Congo and Libya. He says he always get to pick his destinations.
Chef Anthony Bourdain, British food star Nigella Lawson, expert chef/author Ludo Lefebvre and author, chef/restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson on ‘The Taste.’ (ABC/Craig Sjodin)
PBS’ “The Mind of a Chef” is executive produced and narrated by Anthony Bourdain.
(Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Turner)
Anthony Bourdain speaks during a screening of “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown: Japan with Masa” at Samsung 837 on November 7, 2016 in New York City. 26512_001 (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Turner)
ZERO POINT ZERO PRODUCTIONS Chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain talks Jeremiah Tower in “The Last Magnificent, a film he also produced.
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 16: (L-R) Executive Producer Anthony Bourdain and Ken Friedman attend the CNN Films and ZPZ Production premiere party celebrating Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent at Tribeca Film Festival (TFF) at Evening Bar on April 16, 2016 in New York City. The film will be distributed to theaters in 2017 by The Orchard. 26123_001_0290.JPG (Photo by Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Turner)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: Actor Asia Argento and Anthony Bourdain attend day 1 of the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 9, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Anthony Bourdain gets to travel around the world having adventures and eating great food â his new network, CNN, has already ordered another season of “Parts Unknown.”
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By ANGELA CHARLTON
PARIS (AP) — Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef and citizen of the world who inspired millions to share his delight in food and the bonds it created, was found dead in his hotel room Friday in France while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions. He was 61.
CNN confirmed the death, saying that Bourdain was found unresponsive Friday morning by friend and chef Eric Ripert, and the company called the death a suicide.
A prosecutor in eastern France said Bourdain apparently hanged himself in a luxury hotel in the ancient village of Kaysersberg on the Alsatian wine route. French media quoted Colmar prosecutor Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel as saying that “at this stage” nothing suggests that another person was involved. However, investigators were verifying the circumstances of Bourdain’s death.
Widely loved and rarely afraid to speak his mind, he mixed a coarseness and whimsical sense of adventurousness, true to the rock ‘n’ roll music he loved. Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” seemed like an odd choice for CNN when it started in 2013 — part travelogue, part history lesson, part love letter to exotic foods. Each trip was an adventure. There had been nothing quite like it on the staid news network, and it became an immediate hit.
Within hours of his death, “Kitchen Confidential” was in the top 20 on Amazon.com.
“We are constantly asking ourselves, first and foremost, what is the most (messed) up thing we can do next week?” he said in a 2014 interview with the AP.
Bourdain’s breakthrough as an author came with the 2000 publication of his “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.” The book created a sensation by combining frank details of his life and career with behind-the-scenes observations on the culinary industry.
Colleagues, friends and admirers shared their grief Friday. CNN chief executive Jeff Zucker sent a company letter calling Bourdain “an exceptional talent. A storyteller. A gifted writer. A world traveler. An adventurer.”
As president, Barack Obama sat down for some bun cha in Hanoi, Vietnam, with Bourdain in an episode of “Parts Unknown” in 2016. On Friday, he shared a photo of the interaction on Twitter: “‘Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.’ This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food — but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.”
As he left the White House for the G-7 summit in Quebec, President Donald Trump, whom Bourdain had sharply criticized, offered his “heartfelt condolences” to Bourdain’s family, which includes his 11-year-old daughter, Ariane. Jamie Oliver wrote on Instagram that Bourdain “really broke the mould … he leaves chefs and fans around the world with a massive foodie hole that simply can’t be replaced.”
Others noted Bourdain’s strong defense of the #MeToo movement. His girlfriend was actress Asia Argento, who has accused Harvey Weinstein of rape. After Mario Batali was accused of sexual assault, Bourdain published an essay in Medium in which he wrote that “one must pick a side.”
“I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women,” he wrote.
Argento posted this note on Twitter: “Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did. His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds. He was my love, my rock, my protector. I am beyond devastated. My thoughts are with his family. I would ask that you respect their privacy and mine.”
Another Weinstein accuser, actress Rose McGowan, tweeted a video of herself, sobbing. “Anthony I am so mad at you,” she said. “You were so loved, the world is not better without you. I have a message for those considering suicide as a solution to a temporary problem. Please call a hotline.”
Bourdain’s death came three days after fashion designer Kate Spade killed herself in her Park Avenue apartment in New York. Spade’s husband and business partner said the 55-year-old business mogul had suffered from depression and anxiety for many years.
In a 2008 interview with the AP, Bourdain had said that his daughter’s birth had changed his outlook on life. “I feel obliged to at least do the best I can and not do anything really stupidly self-destructive if I can avoid it,” he said.
Besides showcasing food, a “Parts Unknown” also served as a window to the local culture — particularly the parts not overrun by tourists. A trip to Japan in the series’ first season included an odd show with robots and scantily clad women, a visit with a death metal band and a meal shared with a woman involved in the city’s sadomasochistic community.
Bourdain was reluctant to analyze why his series succeeded.
“If you think about who the audience is and what their expectations might be, I think that’s the road to badness and mediocrity,” he told the AP. “You go out there and show the best story you can as best you can. If it’s interesting to you, hopefully it’s interesting to others. If you don’t make television like that, it’s pandering.”
Bourdain was born in New York City and was raised in Leonia, New Jersey. He had written that his love of food began as a youth while on a family vacation in France, when he ate his first oyster. He was candid about his personal struggles, saying that drug use led to his dropping out of Vassar College after two years.
Working in restaurants led him to the Culinary Institute of America, where he graduated in 1978, and began working in kitchens in New York City. He became executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.
In the preface to the latest edition “Kitchen Confidential,” Bourdain wrote of his shock at the success of his book, which he wrote by getting up at 5 a.m. to steal a couple of hours at the computer before appearing at the saute station for lunch.
He said he never intended to write an expose or to “rip the lid off the restaurant business.” He said he liked the restaurant business the way it was.
“What I set out to do was write a book that my fellow cooks would find entertaining and true,” he said. “I wanted it to sound like me talking at say … ten o’clock on a Saturday night, after a busy dinner rush, me and a few cooks hanging around in the kitchen, knocking back a few beers and talking.”
Bourdain said he really had no idea that anyone outside the world of chefs would even pay attention to his comments.
“The new celebrity chef culture is a remarkable and admittedly annoying phenomenon. While it’s been nothing but good for business — and for me personally — many of us in the life can’t help snickering about it,” he wrote. “Of all the professions, after all, few people are less suited to be suddenly thrown into the public eye than chefs.”
CNN is currently airing the 11th season of “Parts Unknown,” and Bourdain was in France shooting an episode for the 12th season. CNN said it has not made a decision yet on whether it will proceed with the current season
Bourdain was twice divorced and has a daughter from his second marriage. Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
This story corrects that Bourdain’s meal with President Barack Obama was in 2016, not 2017 and that he died in Kaysersberg, not in the city of Haut-Rhin and not Strasbourg. Also corrects to show Trump made the comments before he left for the G-7 summit, not at the G-7 summit, and not via Twitter. Corrects spelling to Kaysersberg instead of Kayserberg.
Sylvie Corbet and Elaine Ganley in Paris, Hillel Italie, David Bauder in New York, Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey, Danica Kirka in London and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed.
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