Anthony Bourdain ’78 Chef, Author, TV Personality
Anthony Bourdain is an author, television personality, and the chef-at-large at New York City’s Les Halles restaurant. He also serves at an editor-at-large for the travel journalism site Roads & Kingdoms, where he posts his Dispatch by Bourdain essays.
Chef Bourdain began his culinary career with a summer job as a dishwasher in Provincetown, MA while attending Vassar College. By the end of the summer, he had been reassigned to a cooking station and realized he would need more refined skills to keep up with the other cooks. He subsequently enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America and graduated in 1978. Since then, he has spent more than two decades working in professional kitchens, including the Rainbow Room, The Supper Club, and Coco Pazzo Teatro. His best-selling memoir, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, stemmed from an article he’d written for New Yorker magazine about life behind the scenes in restaurant kitchens.
In late 2000, Chef Bourdain set out to eat his way across the globe, looking for “kicks, thrills, and epiphanies” and “the perfect meal.” The book, A Cook’s Tour and its companion Food Network series chronicle his adventures and misadventures on that voyage.
Chef Bourdain returned to the CIA campus in May 2001 to tape a segment for A Cook’s Tour that featured the places that shaped his career. Chef Bourdain is the author of The Nasty Bits, Bone in the Throat, Gone Bamboo, and Typhoid Mary: An Urban Historical, a book that offers a view of kitchen life a century ago. He co-authored Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook with the restaurant’s proprietor, Phillipe Lajaunie, plus Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, a sequel to Kitchen Confidential, and No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach, a companion book to the television series that aired for nine seasons on the Travel Channel.
In 2012, he and Joel Rose co-wrote the original graphic novel Get Jiro! for DC Comic/Vertigo, with art by Langdon Foss. His second graphic novel, Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi, again co-written with Joel Rose with art by Alé Garza, was released on October 28, 2015. A prequel to Get Jiro!, Chef Bourdain’s story is reminiscent of a Yakuza action movie. “I wanted to take the story back to its beginnings in Japan (albeit a slightly-in-the-future, dystopic Japan) and indulge my own enthusiasms for both the place and the many classic genre films that have been made there,” he explains.
He is in the process of writing his first cookbook in ten years entitled Appetites, which will release in fall 2016. Written with the no-holds-barred style of Parts Unknown the book includes a selection of recipes Chef Bourdain believes every cook should know. Coinciding with the release of the cookbook, Chef Bourdain will embark on The Hunger, a 15-city live show and tour described as “an unyielding, brutally honest monologue reflecting on diverse culture, street cuisine, and his travels to lesser-known locations around the world.”
Chef Bourdain’s articles and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, The Times of London, The Observer, Gourmet, Maxim, Food Arts, The Independent, and Town & Country. His popular blog on Tumblr detail his adventures and opinions.
The Travel Channel aired two season’s of Chef Bourdain’s show The Layover. His new show, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown airs on the CNN Network. The series received numerous Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, Producers Guild of America Producer of the Year award, and a Critics’ Choice Award. Chef Bourdain has been a judge on Top Chef and served as a consultant and writer for the HBO series, Treme.
Chef Bourdain is the executive producer for the PBS series Mind of a Chef. The program follows chefs as they visit inspirational destinations around the world and culinary icons that have shaped their careers. Mind of a Chef received a 2014 Emmy award for Outstanding Culinary Program, a 2015 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Television Program on Location, and in 2016, five Emmy awards for Outstanding Directing in a Lifestyle/Culinary/Travel Program, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation, Outstanding Main Title and Graphic Design, and Outstanding Cinematography at the 43rd Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmys .
Ecco Press, a division of HarperCollins, announced in September 2011 that Chef Bourdain would have his own publishing line. The first book, L.A. Son: My Life, My City, My Food by Roy Choi ’98, was released in 2013. The second book, Eating Viet Nam: Dispatches from a Blue Plastic Table by Graham Holliday, released in February 2015.
A film adaptation based on Bourdain’s novel Bone in the Throat, on which he served as executive producer, was released at the 2015 SXSW Festival in Austin, TX. The suspenseful culinary mystery of the same name follows an ambitious young chef who is a witness to a murder in his own kitchen by his uncle who is part of the East End London Mob.
On April 16, 2016, executive producer Bourdain and director and executive producer Lydia Tenagalia premiered their new documentary Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent at the Tribeca Film Festival. Co-produced by CNN Films and Zero Point Zero, the film examines the life of Jeremiah Tower, former chef at Chez Panisse and the groundbreaking Stars, who help pioneer the idea of New American and California cuisines.
Chef Bourdain is working on a memoir through his Ecco imprint on famed Hollywood manager Shep Gordon. He and business partner Stephan Werthen are currently developing a large-scale food hall in New York City that will consist of 100 retail and wholesale food vendors on the main concourse and mezzanine of Pier 57, at 15th Street, one of the largest shipping piers on the Hudson. The space, set to open in 2017 and aptly named Bourdain Market, will be divide into three sections: Asian stalls, a geographical spotlight area that will change every three to four months, and international/domestic vendors offering gourmet street food. “Think of an Asian night market,” Bourdain says. “Eating and drinking at midnight. The beating heart and soul of the project will be a Singapore-style hawker market, with communal eating spaces surrounded by small stands selling street foods from around the world.” Bourdain and Werther have hired Roman & Williams to design and oversee the $60 million installation.
An avid devotee of the martial art of jiu-jitsu, Chef Bourdain took first place in his division at the IBJJF Spring International Open Championship held in New York City on April 9, 2016.
In 2008, Chef Bourdain was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. He has won numerous Emmys, a Clio, Critics Choice awards, and a Webby award for his writing and television series.