While I was in post-secondary for Travel and Tourism, I started watching Parts Unknown. I’d gone through a lot of series on Netflix already and it seemed like the next best step. I was immediately hooked by Bourdain. I binge-watched the series, or at least, all the episodes I could find. I talked about it, recommended it, to everyone. Then I bought his books. Then I watched No Reservations.
I desperately wanted more, more, more, of Anthony Bourdain.
Kitchen Confidential taught me about the gritty reality of Terry’s life as a chef, for better or worse. It taught me that his relationships with the other cooks – in particular, the ones who came from other cultures and backgrounds – were super important, in particular because it connected us to more types of food and ways of living. It taught me that his working 12, 14, 16 hours on busy days was the reality of the career he took. It taught me that the scrapes and burns and callouses on his hands were all well within reason. It taught me that it was impressive he’d never struggled with substance abuse, not even cigarettes. And while I already knew it, it reaffirmed to me that I was incredibly lucky to have him as a boyfriend, now husband.
Between Terry and my newfound love for Bourdain, I became hungry to see more of the world. I wanted to eat “weird” food, I wanted to go to “weird” places, I wanted adventure and to see and understand Real People in conditions different than my own.
I know more than ever now after moving abroad that there was more to discover even within my home city. Canada is cool that way, having so many different cultures and people all around you, and I wish I had taken more advantage of it.
I’ve struggled with a newfound anxiety and fear lately. I’ve had to work tirelessly lately it seems just to feel fucking normal, something I took for granted barely three weeks ago. I have to accept, over and over again, that death will come for myself and the ones that I love. It’s always going to be scary. But something about the way Bourdain talks, and lived, and worked, makes it all feel a little bit better. I just wish he’d stayed.
It seems so cheesy but Bourdain was my favourite in the “celeb” world. I went through a rock n’ roll phase, sure, but he’s the ultimate. I haven’t been this hard hit by a celebrity’s death since Robin Williams. But this is worse. It feels different, because I feel like I knew Bourdain, like he was looking out for us. He looked out for a lot of people. His cutthroat compassion for the little guy will be sorely missed in today’s world.
When I’m in Japan in September, I’m going to have a Lawson egg salad sandwich just for you, Tony.