It’s June 25. How are You Celebrating #BourdainDay?

By Karen

I’m inviting everyone to let us know how you may be remembering Anthony Bourdain on #BourdainDay, what should have been his 63rd birthday.


Eric Ripert and José Andres, who initially announced this celebration, were in Singapore (12 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast) and posted their toast and feast on Twitter yesterday.

Restaurants across the country too numerous to list here are planning various events and special menus to honor Tony.

Later today I hope to trek to Popeye’s Chicken, a few miles off my usual rounds, to try some spicy chicken, biscuits and gravy, and mac and cheese, which were Tony’s guilty favorites.

[Weirdly, when Bourdain died last year, I was in such a state of shock that I patronized a nearby Bojangles Louisiana Chicken by mistake and couldn’t figure out why they didn’t serve his mac and cheese.]

A few notes on some new developments…

The book, Anthony Bourdain Remembered, seems to have dropped off the Publishers Weekly bestseller list already, after standing at No. 10 a week or so ago.

His last graphic novel, Hungry Ghosts, is being made by Sony into a four-part animated series. They say each episode will have a different look and include the accompanying Bourdain recipe. Not sure how that will work. Also, no word yet on where or how the series will be available.

New Jersey officially opened the Bourdain Food Trail on June 13 with a ceremony that Tony’s brother Chris attended. It includes 10 stops they made for an episode during season 5 of Parts Unknown.

Tony’s alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America, in partnership with Eric Ripert and José Andres who are helping with fundraising, has established a scholarship to enable students to study abroad. Donations are also being accepted online.

On June 10, Bourdain was named one of 10 winners of EatingWell’s 3rd Annual American Food Hero Award.

29 Responses to It’s June 25. How are You Celebrating #BourdainDay?

  1. Tracy Moses says:

    Thanks for posting this, Karen. Frankly, I have been so busy moving that I had forgotten today was Tony’s birthday. Ironically, I’m baking a cake today and, while I know he didn’t particularly like sweets, I will dedicate it to his birthday anyway and put in a candle and blow it out for him.

  2. catsworking says:

    Tracy, last time I checked a few hours ago, #BourdainDay was trending on Twitter.

    I headed over to Popeye’s for lunch and must add it to music as things Bourdain and I were diametrically opposite on.

    Turns out the Bojangles I thought I went to last year WAS Popeye’s after all. They forgot my biscuit the first time.

    Time time, they left out my cole slaw (nice scam to keep inventory/profits up; omit one item from every drive-thru order). Mac & cheese is NOT on the menu. Nor biscuits & gravy. Whatever Popeyes Bourdain was hitting had much deeper Southern roots than this pathetic dump in Richmond, Virginia. I’ll never go back. The only thing I got that he would have ordered was spicy crust, and it was meh.

  3. Bob says:

    Hi Karen, another bittersweet day. I did come across a good interview with Tom Vitale about working with Tony and his thoughts on things going forward.

  4. Anita says:

    Hi Karen – I saved the Marseille episode that CNN ran on the anniversary of his death and will watch tonight with a glass of rose. And probably cry a little too.

  5. catsworking says:

    Anita, I’m planning to watch the Marseille episode myself.

  6. catsworking says:

    Bob, haven’t read this interview yet, so thanks for the link. Today I happened across a book available for preorder on Amazon that looks to be a compilation of a lot of Bourdain interviews to be released August 20. It’s a paperback.

  7. Citizen Arcane. says:

    I’m gonna spend the remaining hours left of Bourdain’s 63rd birthday shaking my head in disbelief. One of the most unique, incendiary and hilarious voices of the 21st century is gone…and (with the exception of the culinary world) I marvel at the startling lack of news media commentary there is. He meant more than that. He took the stodgy, boring format of culinary travel shows and blew it up like the goddamned Godfather. Regardless of the genre: his influence, his vision, his eloquent narrative style dipped in punk, set on fire made many aspects of life, culture, philosophy accessible to an audience that would have written it off as esoteric-highbrow noise…and I’ll never be the same. Neither will you.

  8. Bonnie C. says:

    We also enjoyed Popeye’s spicy chicken & their mac & cheese (& green beans w/ turkey bacon & cole slaw) for dinner last night in honor of “Bourdain Day” yesterday.

    And since I have all his “No Reservations”, “Parts Unknown”, & “A Cook’s Tour” episodes on DVR, had those playing all day while I went about my daily chores/puttering. It was a very nice relaxing day in all.

  9. catsworking says:

    Citizen Arcane, I think CNN may have run something along the lines of the book Remembered. I saw a snippet of an ad about “people remember Bourdain.”

    I can’t say I’m surprised that the commemorative book barely broke the bestseller list. Aside from the gorgeous photos, I was expecting more substantive content than little notes and tweets or whatever from random fans. But I guess over time it will take on the personality of an old yearbook where classmates write all kinds of nice stuff about the wonderful times you had together, and when you read back years later, you can’t remember who the hell any of them were.

    Sadly, I don’t think we’re going to ever see the likes of Tony. Anyone who tries will be accused of being a “poor man’s Bourdain.”

    That said, the only travel show host who’s gotten my attention at all (aside from Samantha Brown, but she’s doing a different thing) is Phil Rosenthal, who used to write for Everybody Loves Raymond, among other things. He did a series on PBS called I’ll Have What Phil’s Having, which he described as being “like Anthony Bourdain if he was afraid of everything.”

    He’s followed that show up with another similar series, but it’s available on some streaming service I don’t have, so I’ve lost track of him.

  10. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, that Popeye’s gut-bomb chicken I had for lunch (minus the cole slaw I bought and didn’t receive) destroyed my appetite for dinner. But I did watch the Marseille episode of Parts Unknown. It was DELIGHTFUL. The way anyone would want to remember Bourdain. Tony and Eric in a beautiful French city, happy, eating, drinking, having a blast with each other. At one point, Tony challenges Eric on the concept of reincarnation. The word “death” in French (MORT) flashes on the screen in one scene.

    Now that we know how his story ended, it’s impossible not to pick up on all the foreshadowing that came before.

    Eric was probably expecting them to do it again in Strasbourg last year, only to have it ruined after a few days by you-know-who and her incessant texts and calls until it turned out in the worst way imaginable.

    I’ve got all of A Cook’s Tour and all but a few No Reservations on DVD to dip into whenever I need a fix.

  11. bassgirl23 says:

    Late to the party…but June 25 also happened to be my 20th wedding anniversary so my husband and I had a fancy dinner out. I made sure I ordered a Negroni (or two) as well. Was great to see all the pictures and celebrations – he really was loved worldwide. Funny though, both our bartender and our server that evening really didn’t seem to know anything about the celebration.

    I had bought the CNN book and did find it a nice memento but I didn’t see any of the pictures that I hadn’t seen elsewhere. Looking forward to the others coming out, maybe they’ll be more in depth.

  12. joan lazzerini says:

    dear karen and the cats now since a year has passed have any of anthony’s intimates his mother brother lydia collins eric ripert etc commented on asia’s effect on his life they seem almost scared to proffer an opinion.

  13. catsworking says:

    Congratulations, bassgirl! I’ve never had a Negroni. I’m seeing stories about restaurants all across the country having events for Bourdain to benefit suicide prevention. His brother Chris said at the Bourdain Trail opening in NJ that Tony probably would have hated being the poster boy for suicide.

  14. catsworking says:

    Joan, I think Eric’s public determined effort to celebrate Bourdain’s life is an indication that he’s never going to say anything about the circumstances of his death. The family has moved on from the she-devil and left her in the dust to scrabble for another rich victim to suck dry.

    Bob posted a link to a lengthy and interesting interview with cameraman Tom Vitale where he talked about what it was like to work with Tony.

    He said that nobody who worked on the shows would ever claim that they had “fun” because the whole process was grueling and full of last-minute glitches. Also, I’ve never seen any of them express any great personal affection for Tony. They admired and respected him, but there seemed to be a distance between them that was his doing. At heart, he was really an introvert. And when he was working, the job came first. Sure he’d socialize with them, but I’ve never seen anybody on the crew talking about having any deep connection to him.

    On the other hand, Eric and Jose and Daniel Boulud and Jacques Pepin were another matter. They seemed to see a different side of him and connect on another level.

    As for the world gaining closure on how his life ended, maybe in coming years (after the root of his demise has done herself in) some biographer will try to go there and get details. I don’t feel optimistic about it, but who knows?

  15. Margeaux says:


    I cannot believe that a year has already passed. I didn’t celebrate on his birthday, but thought about him. But before this week is over I will be toasting again to him.

    IMO, some of those folks who worked w/Tony appear to be rather dry individuals. Given that special they did some mos. all talking about Bourdain, it was my overall feeling that not one of them had that deeper quality, and really was rather bummed to hear most of them only feature Tony’s tougher side of his persona. What I came away with after seeing it, was what a bunch of bozos you all are. YOU…..who had the complete privilege and honor to work with him. The only thing you could hear was most of them calling him a “D,” or how difficult he was to work with etc. Actually, it pissed me off to hear this in some way. But then again, o.k. I probably will get heat for making the next remark. Many who worked with Tony appear to be either gen ex’ers & millenials. Many of them have been rather flat lined out to observe or indulge any feeling from a person.
    Well who knows, as you’ve said….it was also most likely his doing. But still, I hope that when we remember important people in our lives that we pay tribute to them in a much more tender way.

    Yes, Eric, Jose Andres, Boulud and Pepin….all Europeans.
    O.K., I guess their relationships with Tony were more personal,
    but I do also think that these guys are a little older than Tony’s crew, and well people from their cultures are way more willing to
    observe and willing to express emotional depth. I experienced this when I lived in Europe for three years. Say what you will,
    but people from their cultures are very different compared to USA Americans on the emotional front.


  16. Bonnie C. says:

    Actually, I was rather pleased to read/hear the comments from Tony’s staff/co-workers that made him much more human than God-like. And I’m a long-time hard-core Bourdain fan. Have all his books, all his episodes recorded, & had front-row seats to one of his wonderful live shows with Eric Ripert.

    Eric, Jose, Boulud, Pepin, & others were compatriots & friends – NOT employees/co-workers. The relationships are frequently NOT the same in any way, shape, or form. I don’t think it had/has one iota to do with whether or not his staff members were “gen-exers &/or millenials”. You seem to be stereotyping simply in order to provide some sort of justification for your sore feelings re: how Tony’s co-workers felt about working with him. “Complete privilege and honor to work with him” is another seriously telling point of your bias. Work is work, & even working for the most famous & beloved isn’t necessarily a cakewalk.

    Unless you yourself had first-hand experience working for/with Tony Bourdain, you have absolutely no business dissing the comments & feelings of those who did.

  17. Gerald says:

    Yeah – I don’t really think Tony cared about being called a dick or an asshole when he was alive. Nobody that’s “nice” would have as many Emmy awards. He expected the best from himself and by extension his employees. “Only pet the baby when it’s sleeping.”

  18. Sadly, I hadn’t watched Bourdain very often until after his tragic death. They were playing his shows more often and I was able to see more of his appreciation for people. He seemed to truly love the culture and family of each location.

  19. catsworking says:

    It appeared to me that Bourdain’s crew consisted of Gen X on down. Nobody else was his age. But he needed younger people who could take the physical punishment of the job. Yes, I agree there’s a difference in how they all communicate or perceive others, but I think it probably worked out for the best in the “workplace.” Tony wasn’t looking for buddies, and the further down the generations you go, they don’t seem to be looking for human connections. If anything, I think he probably felt more emotion for them than they would ever feel for him.

    I’m not saying this as a slam against anyone. It’s just how we’re evolving with more screen time and less face time. I have dealings with younger people who get pissed off if you phone them and they have to actually talk to you rather than receive a text. I think some things are best, quickest and most accurately handled personally; they apparently don’t. Maybe when a war gets fought over a misunderstood text, the pendulum will swing back.

    I’m thinking back to the Beirut on No Res (2006?) episode when they got trapped when war broke out. He was cooking for everybody and worried more about his crew’s safety than his own. When he got home, the first thing he did was make a baby. He had a nurturing side that wasn’t usually on display.

    The other thing about the crew is that I don’t think any of them came from a restaurant background. They had media training, not culinary.

    So Tony’s “real” friends were 1) closer to his age, 2) worldly for decades, and 2) men who shared his background in the kitchen. Plus, I do think they all have warm personalities. Maybe as Europeans they are more demonstrative that way, as Margeaux said.

    Also, years ago I remember Tony and the crew joking about his alter ego they named “Vic Chanko” who was a real asshole. He knew he could be one, and he didn’t care. He was just himself with people he knew.

    I don’t think we’ll ever see Anthony Bourdain being compared to Tom Hanks.

  20. Margeaux says:


    I completely agree with what you’ve said regarding “the difference in how they communicate/perceive others.”

    Yes, technology/screen time has had an effect on true connections to others. My sister had to take our elderly mom to ER a couple years ago. I received a text from my niece to tell me about it. For some reason that text was shuffled into storage. I saw it a month later. Not at all happy about that to say the least. Why couldn’t my niece just call, especially regarding an emergency? I didn’t bother bringing it up either. I’ve become tired of those looks one gets from people who think some of us are behind the times about technology. It isn’t even that either, or at least in this case. It’s just about some sensitivity in given situation like this one.

    The Beirut episode was my favorite! If I remember, didn’t he make some lamb in the hotel where they were staying? He did have a nurturing side. He was a cancer.

    Yes…..he did make a baby right after that. Did you happen to see a picture Ottavia posted with Ariane on Tony’s shoulders in a pool on his birthday? So sweet. My heart aches for her.


  21. gettngclear says:

    I searched for a restaurant celebrating #bourdainday, but the only one (serving six-course dinner) was sold out in a day. So I found a delicious meal that was beef, tofu, brown (my choice) rice, and an incredible blend of spices. The energy this June is so different. Madness. I’ve watched some of Tony’s earlier shows. He seems happier in his No Reservations era, or so it appears to me, as a relative newcomer to Tony. Still feel so sad when I think of the circumstances he faced at the end. Let’s hope this country can resurrect itself.

  22. catsworking says:

    Margeaux, I did see the little video clip of Ariane riding on Tony’s shoulders in the pool at the Raleigh hotel in Miami. It’s one of the few times we’ve seen her face. I guess Ottavia figured she’s changed enough by age 12 that nobody would recognize her now from baby pics.

    That’s awful about the missed text about your mom. My phone is usually off and in my purse because I work from home and sit two feet from a landline all day. Sometimes I’ll turn the phone on just to update it and find texts days old. It’s rare because most people know better than to text me, but those few who prefer to text than anything else won’t pick up a phone, even if I don’t respond.

    So I figure, couldn’t have been very important.

  23. catsworking says:

    gettngclear, last night I watched the Los Angeles episode of Parts Unknown, which was very late in the game, and decided I’m not watching anything else he did past 2016 when that demon was in his life. I can’t stand to see how sad and worn out he looked. You’re right. He WAS happier on No Res for most of it (there was a bleak period after he split from first wife Nancy (evident when he filmed a Malaysia episode) and then kicked around with a few girlfriends for a while. Once he hooked up with Ottavia, he was back on top).

    It’s funny, if you followed his life away from the camera during all these years, you see how it seeps into his shows. He also seemed despondent when things were going south with Ottavia, around 2015, or maybe even a bit earlier. He did a Parts Unknown in Greece where he admitted to feeling very lonely.

    But back to Los Angeles. Somebody should tie Trump to a chair and tape his eyes open and FORCE him to watch it. Tony makes huge points (with statistics) about how important Latino labor is to our economy, and how many sectors of it (agriculture, food distribution, restaurants, cleaning and waste removal) could totally collapse if Trump got his mass deportation wish.

  24. Margeaux says:


    Yes, I thought that was super dumb on my niece’s part; mother is really winding down even as I write this post. She’s 98 and has lived with Alzheimer’s for some time now.

    I’m a native Angeleno over here. So was that the Roy Choi episode, or the Danny Trejo one? He did a few out here. I’ve watched different episodes that are aired on CNN, and I too notice the difference as to his aspect and how it changed so dramatically fast in a matter of months. Unfortunately it coincided with the entrance of ass hat, rat, what are we calling her nowadays? I would go for side walk sh**!

  25. Margeaux says:

    Last night after my husband and I finished some late night work, we were at a cool club. I asked a bartender what was in a Negroni because I’d never had one, and wasn’t this one of Tony’s drinks?
    He said it was compari, gin & well now I can’t remember the 3’d ingredient. I’m basically only a wine drinker, so it sounded like a bit too for moi. So I ended up having a Baileys on the rocks. Hadn’t had that in a while, wow it was sooo good!

    Going to look up the Negroni recipe and make a watered down version at home.

  26. catsworking says:

    Margeaux, just looked it up. A Negroni is gin, campari and vermouth rosso. One night on a cruise, I wanted an after-dinner drink and ordered campari on the rocks. Have no idea where that idea came from. It was pretty (red), but AWFUL. The bartender probably thought I was a dipshit.

    Gin is the one booze I’ve never gone through a phase of drinking regularly because it’s like liquid Christmas tree. Vermouth, meh. So I think Negroni may not be my drink.

    The Los Angeles episode I watched had Danny Trejo about to open a restaurant.

    I like both ass hat and rat. Anything but the bitch’s actual name, so whenever she Googles herself, Cats Working doesn’t come up. Well, there ARE some old posts about her that could come up, but she’s probably already seen them or they’d be so far down the results, she’d drink and drug herself into passing out before she finds them.

  27. MorganLF says:

    Karen I’m pretty sure his references were to KFC. They have both Mac cheese and cole slaw.
    KFC is a larger chain and usually available everywhere. I remember the passage he wrote after coming to a hotel room after a lecture and there was a vending machine, starving he got some KFC Mac n cheese…but he had no utensils and it was too late to call room service so he he used the room key card to scoop up his dinner.

    On Tony’s birthday I had a party and served KFC Mac n cheese, no utensils..everyone used credit cards. Just fooling.

    I was at the beach and had four handcrafted old fashioneds, and a dozen appetizers.. then we went to the boards across from the StonePony and went back to our hotel.
    We sat on the veranda had a few more cocktails and a joint.

  28. Bonnie C. says:

    Sorry, but while Tony has admitted that he did enjoy KFC’s mac & cheese, his serious love for all things Popeye’s is very well documented:

    Favorite meal there appeared to be a “Spicy Fried Chicken Dinner, mac & cheese, biscuits & gravy, & a large Dr. Pepper”.

  29. catsworking says:

    Bonnie, you win. Popeye’s was his weak spot. You really did your homework. Thanks for the links!

    Popeye’s here doesn’t have mac & cheese or biscuits and gravy on the menu, at least at the drive-thru. I was able to get spicy batter on the chicken.

    We have KFC here but I haven’t eaten there in ages. However, I do think their chicken is far superior to Popeye’s. Popeye’s batter is too thick.

    Morgan, I was once spending the night in a hotel at Virginia Beach and ordered a pasta meal (penne, I think) that was delivered from a takeout restaurant and arrived with no utensils. I used two ballpoint pens like chopsticks to eat it. I envy you your time at the beach. That did sound heavenly. It’s going on three years since I’ve seen the ocean and it’s killing me.

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