It’s Time for Tony (Bourdain) Trivia!

By Karen

On the eve of Ariane Bourdain’s first birthday, I scoured the Internet for a recent photo of her and turned up some tidbits about her dad, Anthony Bourdain. If you’re boning up for Jeopardy, here’s some Tony trivia:

Anthony Bourdain was born in Manhattan on June 25, 1956, which makes him a Cancer. He shares his birthday with writer George Orwell.

Anthony Bourdain

Tony grew up in Leonia, N.J. His middle name is Michael. He has one brother, Christopher, who’s 2 years younger.

Tony attended Englewood School for Boys (now the Dwight-Englewood School) and graduated in 1973. That fall, he was among the first males to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. to be near his girlfriend, Nancy Putkoski. He dropped out after 2 years, but he married Nancy.

In 1975, Tony entered the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and he graduated in 1978. His first job after college was at the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center.

Tony’s father was Pierre Bourdain, who hailed from Arcachon, France. A raw oyster from Arcachon has become world-famous as the one Tony tasted on a family summer vacation in 1966. It set him on his quest for new taste sensations.

Pierre worked his way up from humble jobs at places like Sam Goody’s to become an executive in the classical-music recording industry. In 1987, he died of a heart attack at his home in Manhattan at age 57. Tony’s mother wasn’t mentioned in his obituary, so it seems Tony’s parents were divorced, probably when Tony was in his 20s.

Gladys was a stay-at-home mom until Tony was a teenager, but she’s been working as a copy editor for the New York Times for more than 20 years.

Tony and Nancy split in 2004, but their divorce wasn’t final until early 2007. Nancy worked in advertising (maybe still does).

In the early 1990s, Tony’s Vassar roommate, Gordon Howard, persuaded Tony to finish his first novel, Bone in the Throat, by paying for him to take a 10-day vacation in Cozumel, Mexico. Tony finished the book 6 months later, then Gordon pitched it to Random House. It was published in 1995, but Tony’s writing career didn’t take off until Kitchen Confidential was published in 2000. Fox briefly aired Kitchen Confidential as a sitcom in 2005 starring Bradley Cooper as chef Jack Bourdain.

Between Nancy and his present wife, Ottavia, Tony dated Paula Froelich, a writer for the New York Post in her mid-30s, for about five months in 2005-06. Paula doesn’t have fond memories of their relationship.

Tony and Paula, his between-wives girlfriend

Tony and Paula, his between-wives girlfriend.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what I found on Ariane and Ottavia.

(Disclaimer: I verified with multiple sources whenever possible, but reached some conclusions on my own based on the facts.)

14 Responses to It’s Time for Tony (Bourdain) Trivia!

  1. courtney says:

    does anthony bourdain have a kid in the band queens of the stone age?
    i thought he said that on his holiday special….
    just curious.

  2. catsworking says:

    Courtney, no Bourdain doesn’t have a kid in the band. He didn’t even have a kid until he was about 50, and she’s not quite 2 years old. Her name is Ariane.

  3. Al Canterbury says:

    i’d like to know the birthdays of
    Nancy Putkosky (Bourdan)
    Ottavia Busia (Bourdan)

  4. catsworking says:

    Al, I’ve never known Ottavia’s birthday, and I don’t think I ever knew Nancy’s either, but I do know she’s a year or two older than Tony. I probably mentioned it in one of the very early posts about him when I was hunting down Nancy, which you can find archived by searching on her name.

  5. Bob Close says:

    Do you know Christopher’s birthday… and was he born in Porchester, NY?

  6. catsworking says:

    Bob Close, I don’t have much information on Tony’s brother Christopher, except that he was born in May 1959 and his wife’s name is Jennifer and she was born in October 1957. But if you want to know more about Chris’s professional life, I’m 99% sure this is his public profile on LinkedIn. He’s quite an accomplished guy in his own right:

  7. Joe Gentile says:

    I’d like to know where he took his wife in No Reservations

  8. catsworking says:

    Joe, Mrs. Bourdain appeared in the Tuscany and Sardinia episodes, and had a cameo at the end of Hawaii. I’m sure she has traveled with him to other destinations, but didn’t appear on camera, so nobody but the Bourdains and the crew know for sure where she was.

  9. Yolanda says:

    Where is Anthony’s mom originally from, nationality?

  10. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Yolanda! Good question. You know, I have no idea about Bourdain’s mother. His father’s roots were in France. His mother’s name is Gladys, but I don’t know her maiden name. This is totally a stab in the dark, but Gladys sounds like an English name.

    Just looked it up in a literary character-naming book of mine, and Gladys listed as Welsh.

  11. Jessica smith says:

    He does have an older son in a band. Presumably with his first wife Nancy. It was on a holiday special where he made turkey dinner for the family at home.

  12. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Jessica! Bourdain had no children with his wife Nancy. The kid in the holiday special was Tony’s nephew, his brother Chris’ son. I forget what his name is. Chris also has a daughter.

  13. tina says:

    Do you have any info about the comments paula froelich made? i’ve heard them referenced to on this site but i can’t find anything in google.

  14. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Tina! I once read Paula’s comments about Bourdain and they were very nasty. Basically, she portrayed him as an egomaniac. But we’re talking ancient history, before he even met Ottavia. I don’t recall if I ever provided a link to them here. Sorry!

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