Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain found dead in France at 61
American celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain has been found dead in his hotel room in France while working on his CNN series on culinary traditions around the world.
CNN confirmed the 61-year-old’s death, saying in a statement he was found unresponsive on Friday morning by friend and fellow chef Eric Ripert.
The US network said Bourdain was in Strasbourg filming an upcoming segment in his series Parts Unknown.
The CNN statement said: “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much.”
Chef Gordon Ramsay tweeted he was stunned and saddened. Ramsay wrote that Bourdain “brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures”.
Bizarre Foods host Andrew Zimmern wrote that a piece of his heart “is truly broken”. Zimmern said “the sad cruel irony” is that in the last year, Bourdain had never been happier.
Actor and former Man v Food host Adam Richman tweeted “Why?” Richman said his heart was with Bourdain.
Bourdain achieved celebrity status after the publication in 2000 of his best-selling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.
The book created a sensation by combining frank details of his life and career with behind-the-scenes observations on the culinary industry. It was a rare crossover – a book intended for professional cooks that had enormous mass appeal.
Bourdain went on to achieve widespread fame thanks to his CNN series Parts Unknown and was filming an upcoming segment for the show when he was found.
Chefs, fans and US president Donald Trump were among those stunned and saddened by the news. “I want to extend to his family my heartfelt condolences,” Mr Trump said.
Bourdain was twice divorced and has a daughter from his second marriage.
His Parts Unknown show seemed like an odd choice for CNN when it started in 2013 – part travelogue, part history lesson, part love letter to exotic foods. Each trip was an adventure. There had been nothing quite like it on the network, and it became an immediate hit.
He mixed a coarseness and whimsical sense of adventurousness, true to the spirit of the rock ‘n’ roll music he loved.
“We are constantly asking ourselves, first and foremost: what is the most (messed) up thing we can do next week?” he said in a 2014 interview.
Besides showcasing food, a Parts Unknown trip to Japan in the series’ first season included an odd show with robots and scantily clad women, a visit to a death metal band and a meal shared with a woman involved in the city’s sadomachistic community.
In 2017, he sat down for some bun cha in Hanoi, Vietnam, with former president Barack Obama.
Bourdain was reluctant to analyse why his series succeeded.
He said: “If you think about who the audience is and what their expectations might be, I think that’s the road to badness and mediocrity.
“You go out there and show the best story you can as best you can. If it’s interesting to you, hopefully it’s interesting to others. If you don’t make television like that, it’s pandering.”
The American chef, author and television personality was born in New York City and was raised in Leonia, New Jersey. He had written that his love of food began as a youth while on a family vacation in France, when he ate his first oyster.