Anthony Bourdain and the Writing Craft

Anthony Bourdain’s devotion to new experiences and authenticity hooked me on his show, “Parts Unknown.” He was no snob; he loved good food wherever he found it, whether he ate it from fine china or paper plates. You could tell his appreciation was genuine, as the above video clearly reveals.

In addition to his career as a chef, Bourdain was a gifted storyteller. If you haven’t read his groundbreaking New Yorker article about the delights and dangers of dining, you really owe it to yourself to read it, savor it, and digest it. That article, a combination exposé and love letter to the restaurant business, showcases Bourdain’s view that eating food is an adventure, as well as the best gateway for experiencing the world. As he once put it, “You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together.”

Bourdain understood that telling a good story requires revealing one’s inner self, one’s vision of life, an act that takes awareness, guts, and craft. It means the writer must be honest with himself and his reader. It means he shines his light unflinchingly on his characters and follows the action, wherever that may lead. Fearless openness exerts an irresistible draw, as this CrimeReads article explains:

Despite his immense popularity, there was something about Bourdain that made you feel like he was letting you in on a secret. Here was a wildly popular TV host who didn’t condescend to the masses. He conveyed his passions to the viewer, no matter how esoteric. His work felt conspiratorial, pulling back the curtain on the restaurant business and then the world. He shared his personal demons just as he shared his impeccable taste in food, film, and books. We all felt like his travel companions and his confidants. We all felt like his friends.

Isn’t that what all writers want to do?

9 thoughts on “Anthony Bourdain and the Writing Craft”

  1. I never stop thinking of him! He was, different! Very different! I loved him very much! And I’m not one to care for celebrities! But then, like you have mentioned ‘he wasn’t one’.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t believe he had secrets! He was actually very open about his ‘demons’. He hid none! I honestly think, we can all speculate, but that’s all we can do, speculate! He will forever be the one who knows, why he decided to abruptly leave!
        I personally have my own theory! And I recognize, just like I said earlier, it’s just a theory!
        I believe he finally fell head over heels for someone incapable of doing the same for him! His heart got broken, his pride shattered! And in one of his darkest moments, he grew tired…of starting over…again! He thought he was finally safe from being alone! But she took it all away! He was overworked, getting older, and…tired of feeling alone. He was really tired.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m such a huge Anthony Bourdain fan, I was gutted when I heard about his death. He was a great storyteller. And he was just someone that made the world a slightly more interesting place… very sad indeed

    Liked by 1 person

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