Six months after Anthony Bourdain’s suicide, his closest friends have opened up about coming to terms with their loss.
Several members of the renowned 61-year-old chef’s inner circle – including his brother Chris and chef Eric Ripert – spoke about Bourdain to GQ magazine.
Ripert, who discovered Bourdain dead by suicide in his bathroom at Le Chambard hotel in Kayserberg, France, on June 8, declined to discuss his final days – while his girlfriend, actress Asia Argento, refused to participate altogether.
But others revealed insights into the celebrated chef and television star’s life – including that his young daughter had no idea how famous her father was at the time of his death.
One friend revealed that Bourdain’s young daughter (pictured with him) had no idea how famous her father was at the time of his death
For his last meal on the final episode of Parts Unknown (above), Anthony Bourdain ate boiled eggs
Doug Quint, the co-owner of Big Gay Ice Cream and a close family friend, said he found out about Bourdain’s death in a text message from his estranged wife Ottavia Busia.
Bourdain and Busia married in 2007 and separated in 2016, but never formally divorced. They have an 11-year-old daughter Ariane.
Quint said the news made him feel like ‘you’re speeding into a black hole’ and he immediately drove to the airport and headed to see Busia and Ariane.
He told GQ: ‘That day, Ariane said to me something like, ‘Is this something that people outside of New York are gonna know about?’ And we were like, ‘Yeah, all around the world, people are sad about this.’
‘Telling her that made me realize, Jesus, God, this is world news. He changed lives around the world.’
Quint also recalled observing the bond between Bourdain and his daughter when he spent time with Bourdain’s family at a rental house in the Hamptons around six years ago.
Chefs Eric Ripert, Anthony Bourdain, and Daniel Boulud attend the Ocean Liner dinner in 2014
Ripert discovered Bourdain dead by suicide in his bathroom at Le Chambard hotel (above) in Kayserberg, France, on June 8
After a five-year-old Ariane performed to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe, Quint said Bourdain ‘stared at her with this look on his face like, just he was seeing perfection.’
Bourdain’s brother Chris revealed his sibling had zero interest in cooking as a kid – and that his death certificate listed his profession as ‘chef.’
But he said: ‘I tried for months to figure out, what is the appropriate way to describe what Tony has been doing for the last seven or eight years? There’s no description for it.’
Other friends recalled their shock at finding out Bourdain had taken his own life.
Lydia Tenaglia, the co-founder of Zero Point Zero Productions, said she was prepared for a call that said Bourdain had ‘gotten into a plane crash, or flipped an ATV.’
But she added: ‘But we didn’t expect that call. It’s like someone’s just hit you with a giant f****** frying pan.’
Chef Daniel Boulud (right, with Bourdain) said he watched a lot of retrospectives on Bourdain’s life after his death
Chef Eric Ripert (right, with Bourdain in 2017) recalled a meal they shared at the French Laundry, chef Thomas Keller’s restaurant in California’s Napa Valley
Tenaglia and Chris Collins approached Bourdain after the success of his book Kitchen Confidential and later formed ZPZ Productions, the studio behind Bourdain’s shows A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations and Parts Unknown.
Although Ripert – the chef at Le Bernadin who frequently appeared on Bourdain’s shows – refused to speak about his friend’s last days, he did speak about some favorite moments.
He recalled a meal they shared at the French Laundry, chef Thomas Keller’s restaurant in California’s Napa Valley.
‘One of my favorite moments was when they gave Tony a crème brûlée that was infused with Marlboro cigarettes. And I have to say, it was delicious,’ he said.
Sandy Zweig, the executive producer of CNN’s Parts Unknown, revealed that the only time she remembers seeing Bourdain nervous was before President Barack Obama joined him for a meal in Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2016.
CNN’s chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper revealed that the Obama White House reached out to him about Bourdain joining Obama on a trip to Kenya – but Bourdain couldn’t do it.
‘I thought that was funny because… what did he have better to do?’
Chef Daniel Boulud said he watched a lot of retrospectives on Bourdain’s life after his death.
But he is waiting to watch the episode they did in Lyon together – perhaps with his family in France.
Others revealed how Bourdain’s life and death have led them to evaluate and change their lives.
Philippe Lajaunie, the owner of Les Halles where Bourdain was executive chef, says he’s moving to Vietnam.
He revealed that he was on a trip in the country, on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, when he heard the news of Bourdain’s death.
‘It could not have been a better place, and it could not have been a worse place,’ he said.
Fred Morin, the co-owner of Joe Beef, and Morgan Fallon, the director of ZPZ Productions, revealed they’ve both quit drinking as a result.
Author and journalist Paula Froelich added: ‘I think it’s just lonelier without him in the world.’
For confidential support, call the National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255