Anthony Bourdain, Renegade Chef Who Reported From the World’s Tables, Is Dead at 61

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Anthony Bourdain, Renegade Chef Who Reported From the World’s Tables, Is Dead at 61


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In the 1990s, when he was at the helm of the two Les Halles restaurants in Manhattan, the dining rooms were jammed nightly. Affordable but atmospheric French steakhouses modeled on the Paris bistro, they reflected Mr. Bourdain’s proud renunciation of culinary creativity.

Unlike many famous chefs who came after him, Mr. Bourdain was not particularly determined to put his own stamp on American cooking, and he is rarely cited as a culinary influence by other chefs. But his respect for tradition and minute attention to detail meant that his escargots were buttery and pungent with garlic and parsley, that his fragrant coq au vin was actually made from old birds meant for stewing, that the béarnaise sauce was made to order for each sizzling steak that came out of his kitchen.

While traveling the world for his television shows, Mr. Bourdain began charting a return to the New York food scene. In 2015, he unveiled an ambitious plan called Bourdain Market — 100 retail and wholesale food vendors he would gather from around the world to sell their wares at a pier on the Hudson River. But the plan did not come together, and it was called off in December.

Mr. Bourdain’s first marriage ended in divorce in 2005. In 2007, he married Ottavia Busia, and they had a daughter, Ariane, now 11. The couple separated in September 2016 but had not divorced. He had been dating Ms. Argento for about two years.

Ms. Argento, 42, said in a lengthy article in The New Yorker that she had endured multiple attacks and manipulation by Mr. Weinstein, and that he had sexually assaulted her in a hotel room years ago, when she was 21. Last month, she gave a speech at Cannes that stunned the room. “In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes,” Ms. Argento said. “This festival was his hunting ground.”

In an interview with IndieWire this month, Mr. Bourdain called her speech a nuclear bomb.

“I was so proud of her,” he said “It was absolutely fearless to walk right into the lion’s den and say what she said, the way she said it. It was an incredibly powerful moment, I thought. I am honored to know someone who has the strength and fearlessness to do something like that.”

Mr. Bourdain continued speaking out boldly on the subject of sexual abuse and harassment, taking on everyone from Alec Baldwin to the chef Mario Batali who is under investigation by the New York police; several women have said Mr. Batali sexually assaulted them.



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