Chef Edward Lee: Bourdain changed my life

Anthony Bourdain was universally adored for his writing, his wit and swagger, his bitter intelligence, his sarcasm an...

Posted: Jun 10, 2018 4:05 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2018 4:05 PM

Anthony Bourdain was universally adored for his writing, his wit and swagger, his bitter intelligence, his sarcasm and his refreshingly honest vision of the world. It was as nuanced and tender as it was grim and sardonic. Tony gave us a world that we didn't know we needed. He gave us stories of people we didn't know we loved. He gave us the meat and the juice and never spared us the gristle, the cartilage and blood. He gave us his time and energy and thoughtfulness. He gave us a humanity we sometimes didn't deserve.

When I was a virtual nobody, he helped me -- with books, with TV, with advice, with a food documentary which, to this day, is the work I am most proud of. He was a complex person and the public will remember him in many varied ways. I will remember him as a kind man who wanted to help bring others into the light. A young chef, a struggling business, a food hawker, a musician, an activist or even a homeless person -- Tony's broad vision of humanity included them all. His influence was, and is, staggering.

I remember the first time I met him. My agent, Kim Witherspoon, called me to come to a charity function he was hosting, for The Bronx Letters Foundation (where Kim is on the board). It is a charity that provides financial support for extracurricular programming like a school newspaper, literary magazine, college visits and more for the Bronx Academy of Letters.

It was very dear to Tony. As soon as Kim introduced us, she got an emergency call and had to run out. Left alone with a star, I was nervous -- and whenever I get nervous, I start to prattle on with a story that goes on forever. The emcee called Tony to the stage to make a speech while I was still talking. He looked at me with his piercing eyes and said, "Hold that thought." I stood there, in jeans and a T-shirt amidst a crowd of tuxedos and gowns, for an eternity.

When the auction began later on, Tony was standing next to me. The first item up for bid was a scholarship for a young student in the Bronx trying to study in London. No one bid on it. The auctioneer started to beg. Tony stood there, vibrating with anger and cursing under his breadth at the "f*****g cheapskates."

No one else could hear him, but I could. He wasn't aiming his ire at me but I couldn't stand it anymore. I raised my hand. I think it was $5,000, or at least that's what I remember. I know I didn't have the money to spare. Tony looked at me with equal parts confusion and rage. He rushed back to the stage, ripped the mic out of the auctioneer's hand and yelled at the crowd for not opening their wallets when "this chef from Kentucky who clearly does not make a lot of money," just did.

I believe they raised a bunch of money that night. I never did get to finish that story I was telling Tony. I never did get to thank him for everything he has done for me and for the world -- for all of us who are curious and hungry and adventurous and wanting more out of this life than our day-to-day routine can provide. He gave that to us in spades.

In a distant future, when we look back at this era, at all its chatter and noise, we will dust off the infinite clutter of nonsense, and we will truly see Anthony Bourdain for what he was: a muse who showed us the best of what humankind can be.

In his honor, I will be making a charitable donation to The Bronx Letters Foundation. We will miss you dearly, Mr. Bourdain.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 728811

Reported Deaths: 13405
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion996911740
Lake53548966
Allen40529675
St. Joseph35596550
Hamilton35536408
Elkhart28470441
Tippecanoe22375218
Vanderburgh22293396
Porter18701307
Johnson17923378
Hendricks17199315
Clark12943191
Madison12612339
Vigo12437246
Monroe11873170
LaPorte11856210
Delaware10667186
Howard9895216
Kosciusko9390117
Hancock8260140
Bartholomew8058155
Warrick7777155
Floyd7653178
Wayne7035199
Grant7032174
Boone6687101
Morgan6557139
Dubois6150117
Marshall6016111
Dearborn580077
Cass5794105
Henry5699103
Noble559883
Jackson501172
Shelby490696
Lawrence4522120
Harrison435072
Gibson434792
DeKalb427185
Clinton427053
Montgomery423688
Whitley395239
Huntington390080
Steuben385557
Miami381166
Knox371890
Jasper364747
Putnam359660
Wabash353479
Adams341054
Ripley339170
Jefferson329281
White313554
Daviess296299
Wells291381
Decatur284792
Fayette279562
Greene277885
Posey271333
Scott265653
LaGrange265570
Clay259447
Washington240332
Randolph239781
Spencer232131
Jennings229849
Starke215953
Fountain212046
Sullivan211442
Owen198756
Fulton194840
Jay193630
Carroll188520
Orange182654
Perry182637
Rush173025
Vermillion168843
Franklin167835
Tipton162845
Parke146116
Blackford134632
Pike133734
Pulaski116645
Newton107734
Brown101941
Crawford99514
Benton98514
Martin88615
Warren81815
Switzerland7858
Union71010
Ohio56511
Unassigned0414

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1082815

Reported Deaths: 19428
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1258081400
Cuyahoga1119722115
Hamilton799721205
Montgomery514061014
Summit47145945
Lucas42119788
Butler38338584
Stark32273906
Lorain24997481
Warren24274298
Mahoning21546588
Lake20653369
Clermont19761238
Delaware18512133
Licking16418212
Fairfield16176199
Trumbull16032468
Medina15268264
Greene15063244
Clark13983299
Wood13080189
Portage12839203
Allen11639232
Richland11349199
Miami10670217
Muskingum8803133
Wayne8793211
Columbiana8778229
Pickaway8564121
Marion8523135
Tuscarawas8473244
Erie7888154
Hancock6914127
Ross6846155
Ashtabula6805170
Geauga6686148
Scioto6406101
Belmont5881167
Union570848
Lawrence5549102
Jefferson5525151
Huron5430119
Darke5355123
Sandusky5347120
Seneca5282121
Athens519158
Washington5155109
Auglaize490784
Mercer480385
Shelby469293
Knox4486110
Madison435661
Putnam4278100
Fulton422469
Ashland421789
Defiance419697
Crawford3975107
Brown394157
Logan381676
Preble379598
Clinton372163
Ottawa366679
Highland355062
Williams339275
Champaign331658
Guernsey315653
Jackson312551
Perry294950
Morrow284939
Fayette281950
Hardin270864
Henry268666
Coshocton265257
Holmes2603101
Van Wert243463
Adams237852
Pike237634
Gallia235349
Wyandot231055
Hocking215362
Carroll191547
Paulding172640
Meigs144840
Noble133337
Monroe132042
Morgan108423
Harrison108137
Vinton83115
Unassigned02
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