On Friday, the news of Anthony Bourdain’s death at the age of 61 provoked not just an outpouring of love from grateful fans, but a flood of stories about the man himself. It turns out, the TV host, food personality and author inspired just as many stories as he told. Below you can read just a few of the inspiring, vulgar and occasionally Emeril-related stories we’re collecting about Anthony Bourdain.
After Her Review Went Viral, He Published Her Book
You might remember when food critic Marilyn Hagerty’s candid, mostly positive review of Olive Garden for the Grand Forks Herald went viral back in 2012. What you might not recall is Anthony Bourdain’s charmed embrace of her chain restaurant reviews, which lead to an invitation to New York and a reservation at Le Bernardin. Bourdain encouraged the then-86-year-old to write a book of her columns, which he then published in 2013 as Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews. Bourdain also wrote the forward for her book, proclaiming, “This book kills snark dead.” Hagerty told TIME on Friday, “To me, he was nothing but kind and a gentleman.”
He Helped Make-A-Wish Organize a Food Adventure
Miami Indulge editor-in-chief Evan Benn took to Twitter to reveal Bourdain’s role in sending a boy with leukemia to Spain in conjuncture with Make-A-Wish. According to Benn, during an audience Q&A at a St. Louis book tour stop in October 2010, 13-year-old Evan Piña-White asked Bourdain where he should go for seafood after completing treatment. The TV host had an immediate answer (Spain) but later contacted Benn privately to help facilitate the food part of a Spanish trip. Make-A-Wish provided the Piña-White family with a trip to Barcelona as part of a cruise and, according to Benn, Bourdain “set the kid up at the best restaurants & helped make the trip incredible. He was special.”
He Had a Mean Jesus-Chicken Joke
Writing for the Paris Review, producer and host Brendan Francis Newnam recalled the first time he met Anthony Bourdain. Hoping for a soundbite for his radio show, Newnam asked the TV host and author for a joke. “So why did Jesus cross the road?,” replied Bourdain. “I don’t know,” said Newnam. Declared Bourdain, “Someone nailed him to a chicken.” The joke was, of course, too inappropriate to be used on air.
He Warned Unadventurous Eaters They Would End Up “Friendless And Alone”
In the same Paris Review piece, Newnam recalled Bourdain’s response to a tripe-phobic listener who asked if it was okay if she informed her host she’s rather poke her eye out than eat whatever trendy offal was on their menu. “You will die friendless and alone,” Bourdain informed her. “You have disrespected your host, okay? Rejected a beloved dish that’s reflective of probably personal history. That tripe à la mode could be a beloved family dish. You just basically spat in the milk of their mother. You rejected any possibility of trying something new.” Concluded Bourdain, “You revealed yourself to be an inward-looking buffoon and no one I would want to be friends with.”
He Was a Fucking Feminist
Many have written about Bourdain’s rejection of the sexist “bro food” attitude underpinning scores of celebrity chefs, evidence of which can be found in his fierce support for girlfriend Asia Argento as she placed herself at the forefront of Hollywood’s #MeToo movement. As Helen Rosner writes in her New Yorker remembrance of the TV host, a year and a half after she posed the question to him, Bourdain sought her out at a book party to give her the answer. “‘Remember when you asked me if I was a feminist, and I was afraid to say yes?’ he said, in that growling, companionable voice,” recalls Rosner. “‘Write this down: I’m a fuckin’ feminist.’”
He Used to Truly Hate Emeril Lagasse, Then He Ended Up Writing Him Into HBO’s Treme
As Maria Bustillos wrote for Eater last year, before becoming a celebrity TV personality in his own right, Anthony Bourdain very publicly could not stand Emeril Lagasse, or at least Emeril’s cheerful public persona. After achieving TV stardom himself and, you know, actually spending time with Emeril, Bourdain grew to appreciate both the man and the sheer scale of the Lagasse machine. In 2012, while writing for David Simon’s HBO show Treme, Bourdain wrote Lagasse a scene in which Emeril, playing himself, explains the burden that comes with culinary success.
He Didn’t Love Getting Blamed for 9/11
Author James Gleick took to Twitter Friday to share a memory of the time someone asked Anthony Bourdain about the September 11 attacks. “I was on a panel with Anthony Bourdain in Sydney ten years after 9/11 when a questioner asked us whether the attacks weren’t our (Americans’) own fault,” Gleick tweeted. “While I mulled my answer, he replied: ‘Fuck you, and fuck the horse you rode in on.’”
He Gave Eddie Huang a Piece of Career Advice
In a Rolling Stone essay, chef and restauranteur Eddie Huang recalls Bourdain defending Huang’s more unconventional approach to being a food personality to The Observer, calling him “bigger than food,” and later giving Huang a piece of advice about how succeed, or not, in the biz: “They will make more money if you shut up and suck the dick, but you just keep fighting! Don’t ever suck the dick! No matter how big and shiny it is, don’t fucking suck it!”
Questlove Would Play Him Billy Joel Just to Make Him Mad
On Instagram, Questlove fondly remembered playing yacht rock for Bourdain’s entrance music whenever he stopped by the Tonight Show, specifically to make him angry. “He wanted power and attitude,” Questlove said of Bourdain’s taste in music. “I’d agree with him, and then I’d play another Billy Joel song, which infuriated him.”