One week after Mental Health Month, the world lost Kate Spade and just three days later, Anthony Bourdain. Even though there has been a growing conversation about mental health, a lot of us were shocked by the reality of the events.
When it comes to death, the question of “why” is a complex one that I am not qualified to address but “what now” is something we can all consider as we try to heal together. What can I do now to pay my respects to someone I never knew personally but felt impacted by? This is how our Anthony Bourdain NYC Eats Tour Quest® began.
Meals make the society, hold the fabric together in lots of ways that were charming and interesting and intoxicating to me.” – Anthony Bourdain
With the help of twenty friends and strangers, we answered “what now” with a Bourdain-inspired food crawl, hitting his five favorite NYC spots shared in The Daily Beast. This Quest® set us up to celebrate his legacy in a fashion we hope he would have appreciated and allowed us to spend time talking with the same industry folks who used to work and hang out with him.
I’ll go to Morini for a bowl of pasta, or if I really want to blow it out I’ll go to Marea, but just for the pasta. Not that the fish isn’t magnificent, but I’ll go in and eat three or four different pastas. If I am carb-loading that would be a good choice.” – Anthony Bourdain
Osteria Morini welcomed our big group with open arms and laughs. We imagine it’s the kind of attention and love they would have shown Anthony any day he came in for his favorite pasta meals. One of his personal favorites is now mine as well, the Tagliatelle with bolognese ragu and parmigiano.
After sharing a story about her young gay son’s struggle dealing with homosexuality in school and their community, our server at Marea shared with us the message Chef Michael White gave his staff after Anthony’s suicide: Be kind to each other always because you never know what others are going through.
If anything is good for pounding humility into you permanently, it’s the restaurant business.” – Anthony Bourdain
We failed at ordering bialys with cream cheese, chopped liver, smoked salmon, sturgeon, and fish eggs at Russ & Daughters. It took three guys behind the counter to decrypt the indulgent order. Their confused looks immediately turned into laughter when we told them who came up with this order in the first place. “Ah, then you want the chopped liver on the side.”
Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park, enjoy the ride.” – Anthony Bourdain
And before video-bombing us, Chef Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food candidly shared how awesome of a guy Bourdain was. He had worked with Tony on Season 6 of his show “The Mind of A Chef” and was the kind of encouraging mentor we’d all want. “He told me to do whatever I want [with The Mind of a Chef]. He also told me I should think about doing my own show.” We can’t wait to see what you come up with Danny!
By the end of the evening, we felt more connected as a group of old and new friends. There’s a sense of appreciation and respect for each other’s contribution to this new memory that is now memorialized in our Quest® together. Our food crawl response to “what now” opened all of us up to these kinds of interactions where we bonded over the legacy of a man who will be missed by many and gave us the kind of closure I think we all needed.
If you’re in NYC, grab some friends and strangers and check out this Quest®. If you aren’t scheduled to be in New York anytime soon, don’t worry! The great thing about Anthony’s impact? The shows he created make it easy for us to find foodie options anywhere in the world. Create your own city’s food crawl and share your experience with us!
You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain