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It’s been an hour since I heard the news of Anthony Bourdain’s death. The range of emotions isn’t much of a range at all. I’m angry.
Generations of chefs are familiar with his writing and some even credit his descriptions of the kitchen as the driving force for them to pursue this line of work. Most notably, “kitchen confidential” gave an unfiltered look into the debauchery and drudgery associated with a life committed to cooking professionally. To be heralded as such a pivotal figure in literature, to launch so many careers in the world of culinary arts is a testament to just how fucked up we as chefs really are.
In recent years I would look back on this book with contempt to how he romanticized the lifestyle of a chef to that of a rockstar. It’s not the reality. For the majority of our careers, we suffer immensely to help realize someone else’s creative process. I’m sure John Lennon did not get berated for tuning a guitar imperfectly after spending 12 hours under incandescent lighting during his nephews christening. Did Springsteen finish his set on stage with a straight face after hearing about a death in the family? To be honest, I’m not sure. Probably not.