Remembering Anthony Bourdain's Tasteful Storytelling in Africa and the Diaspora
The cherished figure is being remembered for his respectful and sincere coverage of the continent.
Anthony Bourdain, the renowned chef, storyteller, author and TV host, has died of apparent suicide, CNN reports. He was 61.
Bourdain was in France filming a new episode of the hit CNN series Parts Unknown at the time of his death. "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," said CNN in a statement. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."
Many would agree with these sentiments, as Bourdain was a cherished figure in various communities, celebrated for his ability to connect with people and encourage genuine curiosity and appreciation for various cultures through food and travel. Many praised Bourdain for being one of the few visual storytellers on television who captured African culture with integrity and respect through his popular shows Parts Unknown and No Reservations, which aired on CNN and the Travel Channel, respectively. The work he produced often challenged what people thought they knew about places foreign to them.
His episodes in South Africa, Mozambique, Ghana, Senegal—which he once referred to as a jewel of Africa and the world—as well as Nigeria, Jamaica and Cuba are just a few of our favorites. His coverage in each was devoid of the stuffy, narrow lens that many cultural explorers and anthropologists employ when telling stories from the continent and diaspora.
His death is certainly being felt around the world, as celebrities, fans and supporters have been sharing messages of the ways in which he helped expand their view of the world all morning.
In remembrance of Bourdain and his indelible impact, check out some clips from his travels across the continent and the diaspora below. You can watch full episodes of Parts Unknown on Netflix.
"Now there is a definite cachet to living in Soweto. A real pride of having been at the centre of things, when it was hard and dangerous to have an opinion. Look at the streets here and you see what that kind of pride does. It may not be a rich area, but it's immaculate. Squared away; an emerging middle class coming up."
On this trip, Bourdain explored Mozambique's incredible seafood variety and rich culinary history.
After visiting the mainland, the food expert visited Zanzibar, and took in the island's diverse flavors, and culinary traditions.
Upon visiting Africa's largest metropolis last October, Bourdain described Lagos as "mad, bad, delicious, confusing, and I've never seen anything like it."
"No island in the sun is paradise on earth, however it might look from the concrete blocks, glass cubicles, or wood boxes we may live in. And all the dancing and music and great food in the world can never hold together, by itself, what would keep us apart. What might look like a utopian stew of ethnicities and cultures living together under swaying palms is of course a far more complicated matter. But Trinidad has done better than most and in proud and unique style."
Bourdaine on Ghana's bustling Makola Market:
"You don't master Makola market; you submit to the sensation and impulse."
"It is a country that defies stereotypes and expectations at every turn," said Bourdin in this CNN piece.
In this popular episode, the chef explored the harsh realities of the tourism industry in one of the Caribbean's largest islands. One popular clip shows Bourdain hilariously devouring some succulent jerk chicken.
In this episode, Bourdain takes in the sounds, sites, and flavors of Ethiopia with famous Ethiopian chef Marcus Samuelsson. Bourdain tried his best to show an intimate side of a country that he felt was widely misunderstood in the global community.
In this short clip from his time spent in central Africa, Bourdain lived out one of his life-long dreams by traveling across the Congo River.
Bourdain always warned against the romanticizing of the Caribbean, instead urging people to recognize the humanity of people who live on its islands. Upon traveling to Cuba , he had this to say: "Havana's beautiful—incredibly so. Probably—no, definitely—the most gorgeous city I've ever seen anywhere in the Caribbean or Latin America," he wrote in a Travel Channel guide. "The people are lovely. The baseball, some of the best and most passionate fans in the world. It's easy and understandable how visitors can get overenthusiastic about the place, gush about it and lose sight of the fact that their experience is very, very different than the average Cubans'."