Bourdain Day remembers iconic personality

Chef, TV personality and author Anthony Bourdain touched people around the world with the way he eschewed fancy dining in favour of the heart and soul that went into local dishes from far flung countries.

His ‘No Borders’ show, followed by ‘Parts Unknown’, took viewers to locales they may never have considered visiting before until they saw him sitting and chatting with people from all walks of life, finding common ground in delicious and exotic recipes.

His death last year was a shock wave felt around the globe and the outpouring of tributes from celebrities, fellow chefs and his legion of fans highlighted the impact he had made in their lives.

Now, nearly a year later, those who knew him best have declared 25 June to be Bourdain Day in his memory, on what would have been his 63rd birthday.

Anyone who has attended Cayman Cookout at The Ritz-Carlton in the past will be familiar with Chef Eric Ripert and Chef José Andrés, who tweeted a video on 30 May giving cheers to Bourdain and encouraging people to share their tributes and memories using #BourdainDay.

In a recent interview with ‘CBS This Morning’, Ripert spoke about his friend and the idea behind the CNN hit show ‘Parts Unknown’.

“The idea was, do not be scared of travelling and do not be scared going to other countries and do not stay at the resort, do not stay at the hotel and eat the normal menu,” Ripert said. “Just go out, go in the street and engage with people. Try the food and learn the culture from that experience and I think he did really well in breaking walls, right, in between us and other countries that we sometimes are a bit scared or nervous to visit and that was really a great part of his legacy.”

Personal note

I personally had the good fortune to emcee what would be Bourdain’s final ‘Around the World With Anthony Bourdain’ event at Cayman Cookout 2018. I had always been nervous about talking with the man, simply because he clearly didn’t suffer fools and I was worried about turning into a blithering idiot in his presence. It turned out I had nothing to worry about. He was charming, had a great sense of humour and was very professional in the face of hundreds of fans eager to chat with him or get a photo. Maybe it was the swarthy good looks, reminiscent of an ageing rocker, that captivated people, or the confident way in which he carried himself. Whatever it was, he was an unforgettable personality and an ambassador and voice for international cultures.

Eric Ripert and Anthony Bourdain have a laugh at one of the Cayman Cookout signature events. The two had been great friends for years.