Anthony Bourdain changed the way we see the world. It’s the sort of hyperbolic, cliché obituary line that Bourdain, who was found dead in an apparent suicide on Friday morning, likely would have detested, but it’s true.
Bourdain, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, and worked at Les Halles in Kips Bay, was by most accounts an unremarkable talent in the kitchen. But he had an immense gift for writing about food, and sharing his enthusiasm for it.
In his first book, 2000’s “Kitchen Confidential,” he revealed the rough, drug-fueled exploits of fine-dining chefs, painting a vivid portrait of the restaurant world unknown to many outside the industry.
But it was with his travel shows, “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown,” that Bourdain had his widest impact.
Those programs changed the way people ate and travelled — along with the livelihoods of those selling the cheap eats he was so fond of.
With him as your weary, eloquent, inebriated, Lipitor-popping guide, the world wasn’t so much your oyster, as it was a fleshy bone to be picked clean and cracked open for the rich marrow. A food stall in Flushing selling Chinese lamb burgers that he visited in a 2007 “No Reservations” episode was as much of a quintessential culinary experience as dinner at Per Se. (That food stall, X’ian Famous Foods, is now a local empire, with nine locations in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and two in Queens.)