Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain Biography

Chef, Producer, Television Personality(1956–)
Chef Anthony Bourdain moved out of the kitchen to become a bestselling author and award-winning TV personality, gaining wider fame with his unique culinary worldview.


Anthony Bourdain was born on June 25, 1956, eventually establishing himself as executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles. After his article "Don’t Read Before Eating This" appeared in The New Yorker to raves in 1997, Bourdain moved from one high-profile culinary project to the next, including TV shows A Cook’s Tour and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. He has also written several books, including Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.

Background and Kitchen Career

Born on June 25, 1956, in New York City, Anthony Bourdain was raised in suburban New Jersey, developing a devotion to literature and rock music. (His mother was a copy editor and his dad, a music executive.) Bourdain eventually attended Vassar College for two years and then graduated from the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America in 1978. 

Later acknowledging self-destructive drug use during his youth, Bourdain soon began running the kitchens of New York restaurants such as the Supper Club, One Fifth Avenue and Sullivan's. He became executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.

Culinary Writing

In 1997, The New Yorker published Bourdain's now famous article "Don’t Eat Before Reading This," a scathingly honest look at the inner workings of restaurants, specifically their kitchens. With his credibility as a renowned chef, the article carried much weight and led to other writing projects. In 2000, his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, a vast expansion of the New Yorker article that highlighted Bourdain's sometimes rough disposition, came out to great popularity.

A Cook's Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines, an account of exotic food and his travel exploits around the world, followed in 2001. The book was written in connection to his first TV series, A Cook’s Tour, which debuted a year later and aired until 2003.

The 2000s: TV Successes and More Bestsellers

In 2002, Bourdain started his two-season run on the Food Network’s A Cook’s Tour, a series featuring Bourdain traveling the world seeking culinary adventures. In 2004, Bourdain released Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook: Strategies, Recipes, and Techniques of Classic Bistro Cooking, and in 2006, The Nasty Bits. Both books went on to become New York Times bestsellers.

In 2005, Bourdain premiered a new Travel Channel series, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, which explored similar themes as A Cook’s Tour. The show ran for nine seasons, ending in 2012, and enjoyed a wide audience while winning two Primetime Emmy Awards for its cinematography. Also in 2005, because of the huge popularity of Kitchen Confidential, Fox aired a short-lived sitcom based on the book. The character "Jack Bourdain" was loosely based on Anthony and was portrayed by then up-and-coming actor Bradley Cooper.

Other Ventures

Bourdain has also appeared as guest judge on Bravo's Top Chef reality cooking competition show several times, and was one of the main judges on the eighth season of Top Chef All-Stars.

Always up for a new experience, Bourdain appeared in an episode of reality show Miami Ink, on which he received a skull tattoo. He also had a brief cameo in the 2008 movie Far Cry and appeared on Nick Jr.'s Yo Gabba Gabba! as Dr. Tony. He has served as a writer and consultant for the HBO series Treme as well. 

Bourdain’s next book, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, was released in 2010. He has also published crime fiction as well as a 2001 historical account of Typhoid Mary and the 2013 graphic novel Get Jiro! 

Bourdain returned to series television in 2013 with CNN's Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which once again looks at specific dining rituals across the globe. The show has won four Emmys, with three consecutive wins from 2013-15 for Outstanding Informational Series or Special. In 2015, the culinary expert also announced the development of a giant food hall in Manhattan, New York, to be dubbed Bourdain Market. 

Personal Life

Having been married previously for almost two decades, in 2007 Bourdain wed jujitsu expert Ottavia Busia. The couple has a daughter. 

In September 2016, Bourdain and Busia announced their plans to divorce, citing that their decision was mutual and amicable.

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