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Friday
Jun082018

Anthony Bourdain -- chef, author and documentarian -- dead at age 61

CNN(FRANCE) -- CNN reports Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room in France Friday morning of apparent suicide.  His body was discovered by his friend and fellow chef, Eric Ripert. CNN said Bourdain was in France shooting an episode of Parts Unknown.

In a statement, CNN said, "It is with extraordinary sadness we confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain.  His love of adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller.  His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

Born in New York City and raised in New Jersey, Bourdain began working in commercial kitchens during high school, a journey he shared in his bestselling 2000 book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.  After graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, Bourdain embarked on a career as a professional chef, ultimately becoming executive chef at the French restaurant Le Halles [lay-ALL] in New York City in 1998. 

Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential was a sensation and led to his first TV series, A Cook's Tour, on the Food Network.  After two seasons, Bourdain moved to the Travel Channel and his hit series No Reservations, where he traveled the world, exploring countries and cultures through the lens of local cuisine.

Seven seasons later, Bourdain jumped to CNN in 2013, hosting Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown -- essentially the same as No Reservations but with more of a focus on cultures and politics.  Parts Unknown won four Emmys and a Peabody Award.

Bourdain's thoughtful ruminations and his passion for travel, food and different cultures was lent spice by his streetwise snark, love of rock and roll and his trademark, often profane world-weary cynicism.  It made him a celebrity, a role with which he confessed in various interviews he was never quite comfortable.  He was effusive in his praise of those chefs he admired, and unrelenting in his blunt, often scathing public criticism of those he didn't, in particular celebrity chefs.

Bourdain's other works include 2010's Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, A Cook's Tour, The Nasty Bits and others, as well as several works of fiction. 

Bourdain was married and divorced twice, most recently to mixed martial arts fighter Ottavia Busia, with whom he had an daughter, now 11.  He was most recently partners with Italian actress Asia Argento, whom he met in Rome while shooting a Parts Unknown episode.  He subsequently became an outspoken critic of producer Harvey Weinstein and a supporter of the #MeToo movement after Argento alleged Weinstein had sexually assaulted her.

(The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.)

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