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Anthony Bourdain: Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud, Jose Andres and others remember the 'fascinating' chef

Ripert, a longtime friend of Bourdain, remembers the late chef as someone who never complained

Clémence Michallon
New York
Wednesday 05 December 2018 20:00
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Anthony Bourdain tries Jollibee in Manila, Philippines

Six months have passed since Anthony Bourdain died, and some of his closest friends have now opened up about him as never before.

The chef and Parts Unknown host was, according to a group of friends and former co-workers who spoke to GQ, a creative chef who never complained, took pride in cooking simple dishes, and viewed himself as being "on the edge of good and bad".

French chef Eric Ripert recounted travelling to Peru and Sichuan with Bourdain, his longtime friend – and praised the late chef for his resilience.

"He never complained about anything," Riper told the magazine.

"That was something that struck me about Tony. You could be hours in a car, or you could be in freezing weather, or you could be in a room with very unpleasant people, and Tony would not complain, ever."

French chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud saluted the European influences in Bourdain's cooking.

Boulud said Bourdain "was taking pride in doing simple things" such as a steak frites, which made him "quite European" and "even French".

Queen of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, who wrote the theme song for Parts Unknown, referred to Bourdain as a "beautiful contagion".

"He presented such a fascinating doorway to so many other things that aren't within your narrow doorway of what you do," Homme said.

The musician recounted how Bourdain managed to express excitement for foods – such as tripe – that most people might be repelled by, and how Bourdain once encouraged him to let his own daughter pick the activities she enjoys, rather than the one Homme felt she should do.

Chefs Anthony Bourdain (left) and Eric Ripert attend Ocean Liner dinner hosted by Anthony Bourdain, Frederic Morin, David McMillan, Andrew Carmellini, Eric Ripert, Daniel Boulud and Francois Payard during the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival at Wolfsonian on 21 February, 2014 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine & Food Festival)

CNN's Jake Tapper shared his bewilderment when the Obama White House got in touch with him about Bourdain possibly doing a segment in Kenya with President Barack Obama – only for Bourdain to pass on the offer due to another engagement.

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Bourdain and Obama did eventually film a Parts Unknown episode together, in which they shared a $6 meal in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Spanish-American chef Jose Andres compared Bourdain to a "knife", saying the chef "saw himself as a man always on the edge of the good or the bad".

"It's a very small edge, a very thin edge," he said, "but you have to be careful because you can cut yourself and you'll never know what side of the knife's blade you're going to end up on."

Bourdain was 61 years old when he was found, having died of suicide, in Kaysersberg-Vignoble, where he was on location for Parts Unknown.

He is being remembered by GQ as one of the Men of the Year 2018.

For confidential support in the UK, contact the Samaritans at 116 123.

In the US, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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