Why was Anthony Bourdain unhappy

Anthony Bourdain - the cook as a storyteller

Even three days after the news of his death, his fans could not believe that an obituary for Anthony Bourdain would appear with the usual media offers of help for those at risk of suicide: A cook and restaurateur who became a writer, famous gourmet traveler and cult TV star, brilliant - funny, cool, committed, with an eleven year old daughter and a new love in life, died in a hotel in France near Strasbourg. There should be the shooting of a new episode of the twelfth season of Parts Unknown occur.

Anthony - Tony, as his friends called him - Bourdain would have turned 62 at the end of June. His TV career began in 2002 with A Cook's Tour. He became a co-founder and uncrowned king of a culinary narrative form that is taken for granted today: understanding and explaining people's lives by looking into their pots, at their plates and tables and at the table. The political component was not initially intended: it came about when, in 2006, during his stay in Beirut, the Israeli attacks caused by a Hezbollah action began and he suddenly found himself at war.

Turning point Beirut

Bourdain later referred to this as a turning point. His stories became "more complicated", moving away from a certain arbitrariness to depict humanity - expressed through the culture of eating and cooking and social ties - even under extreme conditions and in difficult political circumstances. That is highly political. Accordingly, he was resented in Israel for his Gaza episode or his trip to Iran. But he also reported from Asia, Africa, Europe - yes, Vienna was also there.

Some Americans probably learned more about the world from him than from their international reporting. Bourdain with Barack Obama at a six-dollar noodle meal in Hanoi: The former US President commemorated Bourdains with a photo on Twitter on Saturday. And it wouldn't be Bourdain if he hadn't remembered the dehumanization of the "enemies" during the Vietnam War in his Vietnam episode.

"I'm a fuckin 'feminist."

In one respect, however, he was also ruthless: he considered vegetarianism to be frills of the first world. The older Bourdain finally found an activism in his excessive macho kitchen life, which he especially in his book Kitchen Confidential described, was certainly not created: his last partner, the actress and director Asia Argento, was one of the first women to denounce the rapist Harvey Weinstein.

Bourdain threw himself into battle for the #MeToo movement with all his might. Helen Rosner tells in her obituary in the new Yorker how Bourdain, not so long ago, wriggled about whether he was a feminist. To say to her at the last meeting: "Write this down: I'm a fuckin 'feminist."

The new Yorker had opened the way for Bourdain to his second career. The article "Don't Eat Before Reading This" was published there in 1999, which later became the first book best-seller mentioned above: a narration of everything that you don't really want to know about restaurant kitchens (it won't be so wild everywhere ...) . It is the Bourdain of excesses who was addicted to heroin in his youth, who drank too much and until ten years ago - when he stopped for the sake of his daughter - smoked too much. The son of a Frenchman and an American woman had apparently well hidden his self-destructive streak from those who did not know him so well. If you read the large portrait that Patrick Radden Keefe 2017 for the new Yorker wrote, however, you at least get an inkling that there were very dark moments. (Gudrun Harrer, June 10th, 2018)


Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain died at the age of 61


At www.suizid-praevention.gv.at you can find emergency numbers and first aid for thoughts of suicide.

Emergency aid:

Immediate psychiatric help (midnight): 01/313 30

Crisis Intervention Center (Mon-Fri 10 am-5pm): 01/406 95 95

Advice and help with suicide risk: 0810/97 71 55

Social psychiatric emergency service: 01/310 87 79

Telephone counseling (midnight, free): 142

Advice on the wire (midnight to midnight, children & young people): 147

Helpline for children, adolescents and adults (Mon-Sat 2-6 p.m.): 0800/20 14 40

Men's emergency number Styria: 0800/246 247