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Montrealers Mourn Anthony Bourdain’s Death

The chef, author, and host died Friday morning

Anthony Bourdain eats smoked meat at Schwartz’s in Montreal for Travel Channel show The Layover
Travel Channel/Screencap

Kitchen Confidential author, TV host, and chef Anthony Bourdain died Friday morning in France at the age of 61.

Bourdain shone a bright light on Montreal’s dining scene across multiple visits for his CNN show Parts Unknown and Travel Channel show The Layover (pictured above). His love for the city’s food was undeniable, with Bourdain commenting that “without Montreal, Canada would be hopeless.”

The death elicited a huge reaction, both inside and outside the international food world — and Montreal is no different. Bourdain had a particular affinity for this city’s food scene: His love for Martin Picard’s Au Pied de Cochon was well documented, as was his friendship with Joe Beef owners Dave McMillan and Fred Morin, struck up after Bourdain visited the Little Burgundy restaurant in 2004.

McMillan appeared on CBC Radio One show Q to offer some memories of the New York chef, remembering his first encounter with Bourdain, when he was promoting Kitchen Confidential and dropped by Liverpool House before he had risen to fame.

“It was like an author on the road staying in a crap hotel room, carrying a hundred copies of this book and going to different restaurants,” he said.

McMillan recalled that as Bourdain’s star rose, he didn’t forget about the relationships he’d forged before.

“As he ascended, he was very kind and brought everyone along with him... it was a good ride; we owe him a lot.”

The Joe Beef co-owner also remembered some of Bourdain’s best advice for life, both in and out of the kitchen.

“‘Don’t be a shit person’ rings true to a lot of kids on the line. Be kind, be nice, be sweet, this life is already very difficult... so at least let’s not be evil to each other, let’s support each other.”

Elsewhere at Joe Beef, Fred Morin invoked the sad death of another close friend, restaurateur John Bil, a Joe Beef opening figure who died earlier this year.

Eulogies have poured in from other Montreal figures — Montreal Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman thanked Bourdain for putting Montreal on the map.

Outside the restaurant world, writer Toula Drimonis recalled working with Bourdain for the Montreal and Quebec City episode of Parts Unknown.

Chefs, writers, sports teams, restaurant owners, and musicians also had thoughtful words.

Bourdain visited Montreal three times for his TV shows Parts Unknown and The Layover, yielding a plethora of sharp observations about the city. But despite the witty and at times harsh observations, he always demonstrated a true love for the food of Montreal and Quebec.

If you or anyone you know is considering suicide or self-harm or is anxious, depressed, upset, or needs to talk, call the Suicide Prevention Centre of Quebec at 1-866-277-3553.

Liverpool House

2501 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Le Sud-Ouest, QC H3J 1N6 (514) 313-6049 Visit Website

Joe Beef

2491 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Le Sud-Ouest, QC H3J 1N6 (514) 935-6504 Visit Website

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