How Rock Music Shaped Bad Boy Leader Anthony Bourdain


Anthony Bourdain – author, travel show host and former chef – was found dead in a hotel room in France of an apparent suicide by hanging. The man the Smithsonian Institution called “the original rock star” of the culinary world and “the Elvis of bad chefs” was 61.

Bourdain’s ties to music ran deep. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978, landing his first job as a cook in New York City just as punk rock was reaching its peak. He already knew the music well, having embraced the sound and fury of the Stooges, Ramones and Dead Boys earlier in the 70s, as opposed to the softer sounds the decade had to offer.

In a post he wrote on CNN‘s, Bourdain recalled, “The Stooges’ debut album, an antisocial masterpiece of do-it-yourself aggression and raw, nasty, dirty rock ‘n’ roll, came as a welcome emetic. A friend played it to me at his house with the volume down, be careful, because we both felt that this thing was dangerous.

He would interview the leader of the Stooges Iggy Pop on his CNN program Unknown parts, and he later recalled their conversation. “Of all the people I’ve met, I’ve never been more intimidated, more anxious, more dazzled than when I met Iggy Pop,” Bourdain said.

Bourdain’s travel programs (Unknown parts on CNN, as well as Visit of a cook on Food Network and No reservations on the Travel Channel) often featured musicians he liked or were interested in.

There were more musical guests. Bourdain dined on a Texas barbecue with Ted Nugent in a 2008 episode of No reservationsthen returned to Nugent’s ranch to help cook dinner for injured veterans. In the same episode, he visited a restaurant owned by Alice Cooper and talked baseball and fatherhood.

Several musicians and other celebrities have posted their condolences following his death.

Bourdain is survived by his 11-year-old daughter, Ariane, and his mother, Gladys.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to for a list of additional resources.

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