Our Recipe for Unity

Remembering a Genuine Our Recipe for Unity℠ Spirit

“So while we mourn the loss of an incredible human, let’s honor his memory by sharing a table with a stranger and toast to a legacy that can truly save America.” - Leah R. Singer, IndyStar (Jun 21, 2018)

Of all this country’s many food writers/celebrity chefs, Anthony Bourdain was exceptional because of his emphasis on people and food, through food. He traveled the world listening to stories around the table, and turning the camera around onto his guests. He saw food and meal sharing as a force for unity and understanding. He was the epitome of Our Recipe for Unity℠.


A Collection of Remembrances:

• “Bourdain often said that Parts Unknown, the ‘food show’ that made him a global celebrity, wasn’t ever really about food. It was about people. It was about sitting down with them and learning who they were. It was about sharing ideas, asking questions, and opening up their world and their worldviews to the rest of us.” (“Anthony Bourdain taught us the power of sharing a meal and leaving biases at the door,” Environmental Defense Fund blog, Jun 13, 2018)

• “We should be breaking bread with each other, and finding common ground whenever possible.” - Bourdain after the 2016 U.S. Election (“Anthony Bourdain on Sichuan Peppers, Sex, Eating Dogs, and Political Correctness,” Reason, Dec 29, 2016)

• “Bourdain’s legacy is undeniable—as a gifted storyteller who used food and drink to help bridge cultural divides and share universal truths about the human condition.” (“Anthony Bourdain Bought This John Lurie Painting Days Before He Died,ArtNet Jun 8, 2018)

The life and legacy of Anthony Bourdain, in his own words (ABC News Jun 9, 2018) VIDEO link
Some snippets:

“That ability—to use food to find empathy, common ground, with people of vastly different experience—was what people loved about Anthony Bourdain.”

“He taught us about food, but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown.” - President Barack Obama

• “The Best of Anthony Bourdain: What to read, what to watch and what to listen to by and about the chef, TV host and author who died on Friday” (New York Times, Jun 8, 2018)

• “Bourdain fiercely defended immigrants in the United States, in particular Latinx immigrants, the backbone of our agricultural and culinary industries. He valued the foods of the working class around the world, presenting their complex flavor profiles and layered textures as worthy of the same respect as fine dining.” (“Anthony Bourdain Taught Us about Breaking Bread in a Broken World,Christ and Pop Culture Jun 12, 2018)

• Bourdain broke bread with people from all walks of life—from heads of state to Syrian refugees—with meals serving as the grand equalizer. “If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can," he said. "Across the ocean or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody.’” (on an episode of Parts Unknown, date unknown)

• @BarackObama on Twitter: “Low plastic stool, cheap but delicious noodles, cold Hanoi beer.” This is how I’ll remember Tony. He taught us about food—but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together. To make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We’ll miss him.”

• “… His travels underscored food’s power as a unifier, how a shared meal can break barriers, challenge assumptions, and build bridges.” (“Great Chefs on Anthony Bourdain’s Life, Impact, and Unifying Spirit,” (Men’s Journal, Jun 8, 2018)

• “There is a difference between someone who shows up and wants to have a good meal and make a good television show and someone whose curiosity and delight is so intense that it crackles. Someone who is legitimately, endlessly interested in food as culture, as a part of life, as a practice, as a history. Someone who could make an episode about food around the world without ever seeming to appropriate or mock or exoticize or reduce—who is a traveler without being a tourist. ...in every imperfect attempt to be open to new experiences rather than pivot toward safety, we do get to try to take on some of Bourdain’s legacy for ourselves.” “Anthony Bourdain Wrote the Recipe for Food Television, But There’s No Substitute for Him” (Vulture, Jun 8, 2018)

“Food may not be the answer to world peace, but it’s a start.” - Anthony Bourdain (PBS News Hour, YouTube video published Oct 27, 2016)

• On filming in West Virginia: “You know, I went right at those things — guns, God, and Trump — and I was very moved by what I found there. I hope that people who watch the show will feel the same kind of empathy and respect, and will be able to walk in somebody else’s shoes, or imagine walking in somebody else’s shoes, for a few minutes in the same way that hopefully they do with one of my other shows.” - Anthony Bourdain (Eater, Jun 8, 2018)

• "Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me. The perfect meal, or the best meals, occur in a context that frequently has very little to do with the food itself." (Anthony Bourdain: On tour with a guerrilla gourmet, Bookpage, Dec 2001)

• An editor of a Munchies (VICE) podcast with Bourdain reminisces, "One Last Piece of Life Advice from Anthony Bourdain," (Munchies Jun 18, 2018) and shares Bourdain's parting words from that day:

Look, as dim a view as I have of the future right now, and it's pretty goddamn grim...
And it's not just exclusively an American problem, we're seeing the rise of authoritarianism and strongman leaders everywhere...

Don't be a hashtag activist.

Change is going to take some fucking time.

Dig in for the long haul.

Spend some time with the enemy.

Walk around in some other people’s shoes.

Try to get your priorities reasonable.

A little love.

Some good pasta.

Nice spicy noodles.


Bourdain's Own Magazine & Blog Articles:

• The article that launched Bourdain’s media career and which ultimately became the book Kitchen Confidential, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This” (The New Yorker, Apr 19, 1999)

• “Under The Volcano,” Anthony Bourdain’s blog on tumblr (May 3, 2014)
An excerpt:

"Americans love Mexican food ... Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes, look after our children. As any chef will tell you, our entire service economy—the restaurant business as we know it—in most American cities, would collapse overnight without Mexican workers. …”

Bourdain Books:

• Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (updated version) (2007)

• Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook (2010)

• A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines (2002)

*He also wrote cookbooks (including 2016’s Appetites, with Laurie Woolever) and fiction

Bourdain TV Shows:

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (CNN, 2013-2018)
No Reservations (Travel Channel, 2005-2012)
The Layover (Travel Channel, 2011-2013)
A Cook’s Tour (Food Network 2002-2003)

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