Anthony Bourdain, a renown American TV food guide and chef, was found dead at age 61 in his hotel room in France on Friday morning. Bourdain’s international exploration of food and culture in his US television show, “Parts Unknown”, shed a light on the best and most underrepresented aspects of society. Bourdain used food as a world unifier, drawing attention to similarities across cultures while embracing diversity. Due to his tenacious attitude and free spirit, Anthony Bourdain was able to embark on adventurous journeys to explore authentic food culture around the world.
Not only did “Parts Unknown” broadcast the kinship of communities across cultures, Anthony Bourdain's show allowed viewers to realize that humanity is fundamentally similar across the world. Most iconically, Bourdain will be remembered for his ability to showcase marginalised communities throughout the world with the power of food. He spoke of his experiences traveling in the highest regard,
“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life-and travel-leaves marks on you.”
Anthony Bourdain’s life certainly had an impact on humanity from all ends of the earth. From the site of the original nachos recipe on the Mexican-US border to a local restaurant in Chiang Mai, Anthony Bourdain utilised his powerful platform to showcase the best of culinary creativity around the around. The communities that changed Bourdain’s outlook on life and the lives that he touched in return is what international convergence of food, ideas and culture is all about.
Bourdain was indeed a major advocate for humanitarian rights. By immersing himself into cultures from around the world, Bourdain was able to use his platform to raise current global and political issues. Caught in the midst of an armed conflict between Lebanon and Israel in 2006, Bourdain didn’t shy away from the action but rather used the opportunity to practice on-scene reporting. Although he constantly emphasised that he was not, in fact, a journalist or reporter, Anthony Bourdain was able to connect with people on a deeper and more authentic level than the typical journalist. Throughout the #MeToo movement, Bourdain stood by women, recognising the responsibility of men in the development of toxic masculinity. He was also very open about the heroin addiction he battled throughout his 20s as he fought to end the addiction in his 40s. As an international traveler, Bourdain was firm in his ideologies and fought for morality in all situations.
As an apparent foodie, he understood that the way a society cooks and eats their food says the most about their community’s cultural exchange. Amidst international conflicts, food is something that we rely on. Food forms identities, crosses cultural boundaries and serves as the one thing all of mankind can’t live without. Anthony Bourdain will be remembered by all that encountered him as the adventurous, down-to-earth, and genuine man that he was.
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