I was quite saddened and shocked to hear about the passing of Anthony Bourdain at the end of last week. I first encountered him through reruns of No Reservations on Travel Channel and have many fond memories of binge watching the show as well as binge watching Parts Unknown on CNN. It was only later that I came to know about his various literary pursuits, and my admiration for him grew even more. In honor of him, here are five books either written or published by Anthony Bourdain. All will satisfy more than a three-star Michelin restaurant.
Well known as being the book that launched Bourdain into stardom, this memoir is a brutally honest look at what goes on behind kitchen doors. It is filled with humor, unpredictability, and lots of copious descriptions of delectable foods.
This book marries two of Bourdain’s greatest passions, arguably the two he is best known for: food and travel. The book chronicles Bourdain’s adventures as he goes on a quest around the world to find the perfect meal.
While he is best known as an author for his food writing, Bourdain also wrote several mystery novels. This one was his first novel and follows an up-and-coming chef named Tommy Pagana who unwittingly becomes the accomplice to the mafia.
In addition to being an author, Bourdain also had an imprint through HarperCollins that published bestselling books of various genres, though many are food-related. Grand Forks is one of them and is a compilation of reviews that also documents the changes in American dining over the final decades of the twentieth century.
Due to be released this September by Bourdain’s imprint, this book details how the author, with the help of fellow chefs, helped feed people in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria and offers suggestions for how to handle similar crises in the future. A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Chef Relief Network of World Central Kitchen to aid Puerto Rico and beyond.
Co-written by Joel Rose, “Hungry Ghosts” is set to be a limited four issue series under the new line of comics called Berger Books. Though the series seems brief, each issue will feature a number of separate stories. It’s a unique structure, but, as Vulture explains, Bourdain has his reasons:
The series will be a riff on the Japanese Edo-period game 100 Candles, in which samurai would try to one-up each other with stories to freak each other out. Here, the tellers won’t be samurai; they’ll be chefs from around the world, and their stories will be united by their focus on food.
Switching samurais with chefs might give us some clue as to the tone Bourdain is trying to strike. Hopefully we can expect some of his signature dry humor and wry observations.
Image courtesy of Twitter
Bourdain may be best known for his TV shows, but he’s no stranger to the book world. His bestselling “KitchenConfidential” came out in 2000 and helped launch Bourdain’s television career. His first foray into the world of comics was 2012’s “Get Jiro!”