The news of Anthony Bourdain’s passing still seems surreal for many. Personally, I still feel like it’s a terrible dream, and have yet to fully process the news. And while people from around the world are dealing with this dreadful loss of a culinary and travel legend gone too soon, chefs and New Yorkers in NYC are paying tribute to the late chef in touching ways. One such tribute is the memorial created in front of is LES Halles, where Bourdain himself once served as Executive Chef.
As Eater reports, New Yorkers flocked to the French restaurant all weekend to pay their respects. Although the restaurant no longer stands at 411 Park Ave South, the building has become a memorial with flowers, photographs, gifts, and notes covering the windows.
Anthony Bourdain was not only a badass in the food world, nor was he just a TV star; he was an incredibly influential figure all around.
As Dominique Ansel noted in a tweet, Bourdain pushed him to create new things after the invention of the cronut when during an interview Bourdain asked him how he’d feel about his tombstone reading “Creator of the Cronut.”
A chef’s chef, a brilliant storyteller, and an incredible mind who opened up the entire world to us through food and the people he met along the way. Tony once asked me in an interview how I would feel about “Creator of the Cronut®” being on my tombstone. Years later, I admitted to him that question haunted me and led me to push myself to create more. He laughed out loud and said he was glad he asked it. Tony addresses things others think about but are afraid or uncomfortable to ask, in hopes of challenging and changing things for the better. It was my favorite thing about him. RIP @anthonybourdain, you will be missed.
The musician for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’s, Questlove, shared what he learned from Bourdain and even states that his recommendation of sushi master Jiro Ono and the documentary “singlehandedly changed the course of my professional and creative life.”
Just saw the news this morning about Anthony Bourdain’s passing. I have so many thoughts about him—memories, emotions, and unanswered questions—that right now it’s sort of a jumble. I feel so thankful for him to introducing me to a world I never knew, the world of food and especially food around the world. It was through Anthony that I learned about who the sushi master Jiro Ono was and that recommendation (seeing the Jiro doc & making a pilgrimage to Tokyo by any means necessary) singlehandedly changed the course of my professional and creative life. Anthony also believed, and talked often, about how all forms of creativity were connected: how chefs and drummers and comedians and actors and directors and painters all drew on the same well of thoughts and emotions. That feeling stuck with me. Watching him take trips to faraway lands to get a taste of heaven (and, just as often, to show how life on earth can be hell for people under the thumb of cruel governments or oppressive poverty) was the equivalent of my many trips to obscure record shops continents away. Lastly I’ll miss our endless banter about the merits (or lack therof) of Yacht Rock. Anthony came on Fallon often, and every time, he liked to warn me that his walk-on music better have “some umph to it.” He wanted power and attitude. I’d agree with him, and then I’d play another Billy Joel song, which infuriated him. A few years back, to thank him for writing the foreword to my book, I started the ultimate troll project, though I never got to give it to him. We had an “argument” over Herb Alpert’s “Route 101”: I made the case that the song’s good-feeling/good-time vibe couldn’t be denied, and he made the case that he denied it, and the more heated the argument got the more we laughed. I told him imma make him the mother of smooth-pop playlists and then he would see the light. I’m finishing that playlist, and when I do, I’ll name it after him, just so I can imagine that laugh of his.
And David Shi of Xi’an Famous Foods shared how Anthony Bourdain changed his and his family’s life completely after featuring their noodles on a visit for No Reservations.
Today's a day of extreme sadness for us here at Xi'an Famous Foods. I've lost a dear friend today, and we mourn with the rest of the world. I remember the time in 2007 when Tony first visited our basement food stall in Flushing for Travel Channel's No Reservations while I was still in college (even though I didn't know who he was at the time). I remember my father preparing interesting off-menu dishes to get his opinion on when he visited our store. I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream. We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees. I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony. And he simply replied, "I'm just calling out good food like it is, that's all." In honor of his memory and all of those dear people who left us all too early, and in taking whatever action we can to prevent suicide in the US, Xi'an Famous Foods will be donating 100% of our net sales on June 8, 2018, from all of our stores, to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK @800273talk. Please cherish all of our lives and help those who may be struggling. Rest in peace, Tony, and the most sincere condolences to Tony's beloved family. ~Jason Wang, CEO … [UPDATE 6/11/18: With your heartfelt support, along with the hard work of our store staff, we were able to serve almost double the amount of dishes as usual during dinner on Friday 6/8/18, with some stores selling out of items towards the end of the night. We were able to raise $73,509.76 (net sales) to donate to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline '1-800-273-TALK (8255)' to help their work in suicide prevention. Thank you for helping us with this tribute to our friend.]
The list of people who shared beautiful words and memories of their friendships with Anthony Bourdain are endless. His loss is certainly felt in New York and around the world, and will continue to be felt by all for a long time to come. I think most New Yorkers are proud to say his roots began here, as an NYC chef.