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.
Go see my friend John, he will hook you up with some great oysters, just don’t fuck with his playlist.— Fred morin (@fredmadeit) June 8, 2018
Eulogies have poured in from other Montreal figures — Montreal Gazette critic Lesley Chesterman thanked Bourdain for putting Montreal on the map.
If anyone put Montreal gastronomy “on the map,” it was Anthony Bourdain. He loved our city and our chefs. He just got it. We owe him a debt of gratitude.— Lesley Chesterman (@lesleychestrman) June 8, 2018
Outside the restaurant world, writer Toula Drimonis recalled working with Bourdain for the Montreal and Quebec City episode of Parts Unknown.
I spent a week driving Anthony Bourdain around Montreal & Qc, & can attest to the fact that he was intelligent, eloquent, & most importantly, so very kind. He was thoughtful & polite to a fault, when, as a rockstar, he could have gotten away w/ being neither. RIP, Tony. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/IjCBJpZLsr— Toula Drimonis (@ToulasTake) June 8, 2018
Chefs, writers, sports teams, restaurant owners, and musicians also had thoughtful words.
No one is replaceable, but Anthony Bourdain feels particularly irreplaceable.— Mark Slutsky (@totallyslutsky) June 8, 2018
When you couple events like that black hole Doug Ford becoming premiere in Ont with the passing of someone as rich in spirit like Anthony Bourdain, it’s time we took a good hard look at ourselves at a fundamental societal level. Goodness is slipping away— Young Galaxy (@younggalaxy) June 8, 2018
Saddened to learn the passing of Anthony Bourdain, who loved the food, people, and spirit of Montreal. We had the pleasure of hosting him at a game in 2013. Here's a look back at our interview with him from that night.— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) June 8, 2018
I never imagined I’d travel the world in the footsteps of a man I never met Trailblazer. Inspiration. RIP pic.twitter.com/YXF62WUgbr— Aaron Polsky (@FoodieDateNight) June 8, 2018
Fucking sad day Bourdain bon voyage ❤️— M A ROYAL (@LeStUrbain) June 8, 2018
Rest in peace Anthony Bourdain. Thank you for taking us with you on your great travels and showing the world our beautiful MTL.— Taverne Monkland (@MonklandTaverne) June 8, 2018
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.
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