As a long-time fan of Anthony Bourdain, I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing, and my thoughts and prayers go to his daughter, family, and friends.
I had the opportunity to interview Anthony Bourdain in 2015 while he was in Houston promoting a project featuring local artisans from around the country. During our interview, we spoke about a variety of topics, including the Houston culinary scene, his current projects, and upcoming episodes of "Parts Unknown," but what struck me most was how passionately he spoke about the everyday people he encountered on his journeys. Bourdain was an advocate for the "little guy" - the struggling chef, the single parent, the immigrant, the artisans who made sacrifices for the sake of their craft.
"I guess I value people who are out there doing the difficult thing for little reward, who are taking the extra step to do things the way they feel they should be done, regardless of whether or not the market requires it. It's like making good barbecue, will they notice if you did it right? To some people it just doesn't matter, they can't help but do it the right way," Bourdain told me during our interview.
Although he met and shared meals with presidents, dignitaries, and celebrities, it was clear to me that his heart belonged to those who never saw the spotlight. Similarly, rather than visit white tablecloth "expense account" restaurants while in Houston, he seemed far more interested in exploring some of our city's hidden gems.
"One of the first things I noticed about Houston when I came here in 2001, quite a while ago was a very strong, vibrant Vietnamese community with some really great Vietnamese restaurants, and by really great I mean they were way out in front of the rest of the country, as far as how authentic, how uncompromising, and delicious."
Anthony Bourdain started out in the kitchen, but ended up on television screens across the globe. To me, he seemed to be even a bit disillusioned by his own fame. I believe he was born to be a journalist - he was a gifted story-teller with an evident curiosity about the world around him. Exposing his millions of fans to the people, culture, and history of hidden corners of the world (those "parts unknown") may be his greatest legacy.
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ABC13's Katherine Whaley on her interview with Anthony Bourdain
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