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Top Indian chefs mourn the death of Anthony Bourdain



NEW DELHI: When celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was found dead in hotel room on Friday, eulogies came pouring in. Everyone talked about how inspirational he was. While some found his food shows and books motivating, others were inspired by how he turned his life around at the age of 41.

We spoke to a few Indian chefs about the man who brought cultures together. Chef Sabyasachi Gorai of Lavaash says his first memory of Bourdain was on the cover of a book where he’s standing buck naked with just the shin bone of beef/ beef shank. “It was like a Marilyn Monroe shot that became really famous. That’s my first recollection of him,” Saby says. “Then there was this interview where he had said that at some point in his 40s, he woke up and felt he was done flipping burgers. But in the same breath he also said that if you haven’t been through that grind, you don’t know what it is like to be in a kitchen. There’s a lot of learning,” he adds.

According to Manu Chandra, chef of Monkey Bar, Bourdain created a turning point for the way chefs behave. “‘No Reservations’ came out after I had finished culinary school, and we went to the same culinary school (The Culinary Institute of America). When I saw it, I realised that here’s a man who speaks his mind,” he says.

He’s brought cultures together and he was the pioneer of travelling through countries and discovering food.


Olive Qutub’s head chef Dhruv Oberoi remembers being very surprised on seeing Bourdain enjoy beer with former US President Barack Obama, in one of the episodes of Bourdain’s show, ‘Parts Unknown’. “Also, in the movie ‘Chef’, which was inspired by Bourdain’s life, there was this crazy oyster scene which actually was the game changer in his culinary journey,” Oberoi says.

When chef Kunal Kapur started his TV career a decade ago, he heard of chef Bourdain and his popular show, ‘No Reservations’. “I was flabbergasted because he was talking about the underbelly of kitchen, which we saw when we started as junior chefs. It was a reality that everyone was aware of. But he was the first to take a bold step in exposing it so that something could be done about it,” he says.

My biggest takeaway from chef Anthony is to be bold and unstoppable in speaking out the truth and bringing forth whatever is right.


Chef Michael Swamy of Nueva Kitchen & Bar would buy his every book. “Even though he was a celebrity chef, he was always a strong presence in the kitchen, which every chef should emulate.

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