Chapter 72: COVID Chronicles

June 8, 2020

By Karen

Day 89

Zamir Marks Two Years Without Bourdain

#BourdainDay, as commemorated by Tony’s friends Eric Ripert and José Andres, isn’t officially until June 25 on what would have been Bourdain’s 64th birthday.

But Zamir Gotta, Tony’s Russian sidekick from many memorable adventures going all the way back to his first series, A Cook’s Tour, says today is Bourdain Day because it marks two years that we all learned Tony had killed himself in his hotel room in France. It’s still hard to accept.

And fans still have many of the same questions we were left with in 2018.

[You can visit the Cats Working June 2018 archive for several more posts on details as they emerged. July 2018 was about him as well, and a search on his name will uncover developments here and there ever since.]

No public memorial service was held in New York beyond the avalanche of notes and flowers left in front of Les Halles (since closed), the last restaurant where Bourdain worked before his TV career began.

I’ve never seen any word about the final resting place of his ashes, if there is one.

Restaurants worldwide ever since have held special dinners and other events, with many of the proceeds going to suicide prevention. Artists have drawn murals. Here’s a great example on the side of a building in Fishtown, Philadelphia, by @jespaints in August 2019…

Here’s a video about a massive mural done by artist Krystal Cooke in Flint, Michigan, last year.

Some of Tony’s furniture, books, manuscripts, art and personal belongings were auctioned off to fund the Anthony Bourdain Legacy Scholarship at his alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America. The auction raised nearly $2 million — FAR more than anyone expected. His custom-made chef’s knife alone fetched $231,500.

This past January, Tony’s mother Gladys passed away at age 85, leaving only his younger brother Chris and daughter Ariane as surviving blood relatives.

I wonder how Bourdain would have coped with self-quarantine and travel being internationally shut down during COVID-19. I think he would have kept busy writing, editing others’ books for his Ecco imprint, and planning his own future projects. He would have recognized that his TV career as he knew it was probably over, or could evolve in a restricted way he’d find unworkable.

He might have well have seen this pandemic as a blessing and an opportunity to change course, since he seemed to be so bone-tired near the end.

And how would he have supported today’s #BlackLivesMatter movement? You know he’d be all in for fighting Trump’s never-ending attacks on immigrants and every American who isn’t rich, white, racist and male.

We can only imagine what a force for good he would have been.


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

June 25, 2019

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.

[People.com]

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.


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