The travel host Anthony Bourdain, whose memoir “Kitchen Confidential” about the dark corners of New York’s restaurants started a career in television, died on Friday at 61, reports The New York Times.
For the past several years, Mr. Bourdain hosted the show “Parts Unknown” on CNN and was working on an episode in Strasbourg, France, when he died, the network said Friday morning. He killed himself in a hotel room, the network said.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague,” CNN said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the United States Embassy in Paris also confirmed his death. “We can confirm the death of Anthony Bourdain in the Haut-Rhin department of France,” the Embassy said. “We extend our sincere condolences to friends and family. We stand ready to provide appropriate consular services. Out of respect for the family, we have no further comment.”
In everything he did, Mr. Bourdain cultivated a renegade style and bad-boy persona.
For decades, he worked 13-hour days as a line cook in restaurants in New York and the Northeast before he became executive chef in the 1990s at Brasserie Les Halles, serving steak frites and onion soup in Lower Manhattan. He had been the chef there for eight years when he sent an unsolicited article to The New Yorker about the underbelly of the restaurant world and its deceptions.
To his surprise, the magazine accepted it and ran it — catching the attention of book editors. It resulted in “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” a memoir that elevated Mr. Bourdain to a celebrity chef and a new career on TV. Before he joined CNN in 2012, he spent eight seasons as the globe-trotting host of “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, highlighting obscure cuisine and unknown restaurants.
Mr. Bourdain became an instant hero to a certain breed of professional cooks and restaurant goers when “Kitchen Confidential” hit the best-seller lists in 2000.
He is largely credited for defining an era of line cooks as warriors, exposing a kitchen culture in which drugs, drinking and long, brutal hours on the line in professional kitchens were both a badge of honor and a curse.