Anthony Bourdain’s Final Moments in the Unknown


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Anthony Bourdain was an influential and brilliant story-teller. He traveled around the world— bringing even the most obscure places into our homes.

Taylor Riley, Staff Reporter

Anthony Bourdain began his career in the culinary world long before the famed “Parts Unknown;” he was a chef and author before becoming a world-renowned TV personality. His first non-fiction book, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, launched his career as a writer and his eventual worldwide fame. Bourdain brought something brand new to the world of food and travel— he had real experience in the kitchens of New York and exposed the grime, grit and beauty of the industry. He showed anyone who would watch the culinary depth and culture in the very cracks and crevices of the world through brilliant storytelling.

The twelfth and final season of “Parts Unknown” aired on Sept. 23, 2018. This season is particularly devastating due to Bourdain’s tragic death by suicide earlier this year. He died during the production of the show in Kaysersberg, France. Fans, friends and family were equally shocked to hear the news of Bourdain’s death. It was confusing to many due to the appearance that he led a full and beautiful life, he had a young daughter and was traveling the world, seemingly doing what he loved. These heartbreaking circumstances caused the season to be shortened from the usual eight episodes to only five with two additional tribute episodes.

The first episode starts like any other episode of his would, a clever voiceover introducing the setting and the guest amongst beautiful footage of the place they will explore. In this case, he takes famed comedian W. Kamau Bell to Kenya. The show packs enormous amounts of footage of the street life and makes you feel as if you are really there. Bourdain is known for not only exploring the main attraction, but the local homes and lives of people who really live there. He takes his guest from restaurant to street market to the very fiber of Kenya itself and by the end you feel like you were right there with him all the while without even leaving your seat.

What truly captivated the audience was Bourdain himself”

People across the world would look forward to “Parts Unknown.” It was sometimes gruesome and hard to watch because of the honest portrayal of politics and poverty. But it was always beautiful. What truly captivated the audience was Bourdain himself— the way he communicated with the locals and how he told their stories was beyond compare. Bourdain brought an energy to the world that has been unmatched by any. He was an inspiration to so many aspiring chefs, writers and travelers— his mark on the world is undeniably pervasive. The stories he told filled all who heard them to the brim with wonder and curiosity— and that was the very essence of his existence.

So, instead of mourning the loss of an icon, let’s honor his life. Bourdain reminds us to always step outside our comfort zone— as he put it, “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river…walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food.”