Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain was a culinary rebel — a storytelling pioneer who managed to capture the beautiful relationship between food and everyday people.
Bourdain took risks, and connected to people of all kinds. He fell in love with Beirut, and was not afraid to visit again — despite experiencing the worst of Lebanon’s 2006 war.
The visionary chef was found dead in a hotel room Friday while visiting France. He was working on an episode for his award-winning CNN series, “Parts Unknown.”
Bourdain was 61, and he took his own life.
In 2006, Bourdain and his crew were caught in the crossfire of the 2006 Lebanon war. The crew was planning to shoot an episode of his “No Reservations” show when the war broke out.
They had to leave Lebanon, but it didn’t stop them from coming back.
“From the first day that I ever arrived in Beirut, it smelled like a place I was going to love,” Bourdain said. “(The war) didn’t change my opinion about the place. If anything, it hardened it.”
In 2015, Bourdain and his crew re-visited Beirut to document the city’s culinary culture and resilience.
His episodes always told stories beyond just food.
Bourdain was best at documenting the human condition, and he posed thoughtful questions that made him more of a journalist at times, than a celebrity chef.
“He was embraced by the Lebanese and they embraced him back, and that was something that really got to him at that time,” said Ramsay Short, who appeared in three of his Beirut shows.
In fact, Bourdain loved Beirut so much, he once considered naming his daughter after the city, CNN wrote.
“It’s something of a miracle that (Beirut) works,” Bourdain said in his 2015 episode. “Sunni, Shii’te, Christians can all live in one city and through some kind of tacit understanding maintain what is one of the most liberal environments in that part of the world.”
WATCH: When visiting Beirut, Anthony Bourdain asks himself: “Am I wrong to love this place?”
He fell in love with Beirut, and his viewers fell in love with him.
Rest in Peace, Anthony Bourdain.
If you or someone you love might be at risk of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.