Anthony Bourdain was a world-renowned chef,
author, and media personality. He was admired by millions for traveling the
globe to host his widely popular TV shows, No
Reservations and Parts Unknown.
He also served as editor-at-large for the travel journalism site Roads & Kingdoms, where he posted his Dispatch by Bourdain essays.
Chef Bourdain began his culinary career with a
summer job as a dishwasher in Provincetown, MA while attending Vassar College.
By the end of the summer, he had been reassigned to a cooking station and
realized he would need more refined skills to keep up
with the other cooks. He subsequently enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America and graduated in 1978. Afterwards he then
spent more than two decades working in professional kitchens, including the
Rainbow Room, The Supper Club, Coco Pazzo Teatro, and Les Halles. His
best-selling memoir, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary
Underbelly, stemmed from an article he’d written for New Yorker magazine
about life behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens.
In late 2000, Chef Bourdain set out to eat his way across the
globe, looking for “kicks, thrills, and epiphanies” and “the perfect meal.” The
book, A Cook’s Tour, and its companion Food Network series chronicled
his adventures and misadventures on that voyage. He returned to the CIA campus
in May 2001 to tape a segment for A Cook’s Tour that featured the places
that shaped his career.
Chef Bourdain was the author of The Nasty Bits, Bone in the Throat,
Gone Bamboo, and Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical, a book offering
a view of kitchen life a century ago. He co-authored Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook with the restaurant’s proprietor, Phillipe Lajaunie, plus Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the
World of Food and the People Who Cook, a sequel to Kitchen Confidential, and No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, a companion
book to the television series that aired for nine seasons on the Travel
In 2012, he and Joel Rose co-wrote the original graphic novel Get
Jiro! for DC Comic/Vertigo, with art by Langdon
Foss. His second graphic novel, Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi, again
co-written with Joel Rose with art by Alé Garza, was
released on October 28, 2015. A prequel to Get Jiro!, Chef Bourdain's story is reminiscent of a Yakuza action movie. “I wanted to take the story back to
its beginnings in Japan—albeit a slightly-in-the-future, dystopic Japan—and
indulge my own enthusiasms for both the place and the many classic genre films
that have been made there,” he explained.
His first cookbook in 10 years, Appetites, was published in
October 2016. Written with the no-holds-barred style of Parts Unknown, the book included a selection of recipes Chef Bourdain believed every cook
should know. Coinciding with the release of the cookbook, he embarked on The
Hunger, a 15-city live show and tour described as “an unyielding, brutally
honest monologue reflecting on diverse culture, street cuisine, and his travels
to lesser-known locations around the world.”
He then released Hungry Ghosts, a four-part comic book
series published by Dark Horse.
Chef Bourdain’s articles and essays have appeared in The New
York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, The
Observer, Gourmet, Maxim, Food Arts, The Independent, and Town &
The Travel Channel aired two seasons of Chef Bourdain’s show The
Layover. His CNN series, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, received numerous Emmy Awards, a
Peabody Award, Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year award, and a Critics’
He was a judge on Top Chef and served as a consultant and
writer for the HBO series, Treme. In
addition, Chef Bourdain was the executive producer for the PBS series Mind
of a Chef. The program follows chefs as they visit inspirational
destinations around the world and culinary icons that have shaped their
Chef Bourdain started his own publishing line in September 2011
with Ecco Press, a division of HarperCollins. His
line of books included L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by fellow CIA
graduate Roy Choi, Eating Viet Nam: Dispatches
from a Blue Plastic Table by Graham Holliday, They Call Me Supermensch: A Backstage Pass to the Amazing World of Film,
Food, and Rock’n’Roll by Shep Gordon, You’re Better Than Me: A Memoir by Bonnie McFarlane, and Grand
Forks: A History of American Dining in 100 Reviews by Marilyn Hagerty.
A film adaptation based on Bourdain’s novel Bone in the
Throat, on which he served as executive producer, was released at the 2015
SXSW Festival in Austin, TX. The suspenseful culinary mystery of the same name
follows an ambitious young chef who is a witness to a murder in his own kitchen
by his uncle, who is part of the East End London Mob.
On April 16, 2016, executive producer Bourdain and director and
executive producer Lydia Tenagalia premiered their
documentary Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent at the Tribeca Film
Festival. Co-produced by CNN Films and Zero Point Zero, the film examines the
life of Jeremiah Tower, former chef at Chez Panisse and the groundbreaking
Stars, who helped pioneer the idea of New American and California cuisines.
An avid devotee of the martial art of jiu-jitsu, Chef Bourdain
took first place in his division at the IBJJF Spring International Open
Championship held in New York City on April 9, 2016.
Chef Bourdain was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s
Who of Food & Beverage in America in 2008. He won numerous James Beard
awards, Emmys, a Clio, Critics Choice awards, a Peabody, and a Webby award for
his writing and television series. At the 2019 Creative Emmy Awards, Chef Bourdain received two awards posthumously for Outstanding Writing for a Nonfiction Program and Outstanding Informational Series or Special for Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
In December 2017, Anthony Bourdain returned to his alma mater
once again to deliver the commencement speech to graduates at the college’s New
York campus. During the ceremony, the CIA awarded him the honorary degree
Doctor of Humane Letters.
The CIA pays tribute to Anthony Bourdain