Travel industry mourns Anthony Bourdain, godfather of foodie travel

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Anthony Bourdain shooting "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown" on location in Salvador, Brazil, on Jan. 9, 2014.
Anthony Bourdain shooting "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown" on location in Salvador, Brazil, on Jan. 9, 2014. Photo Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The travel industry was still absorbing the news on Friday that celebrated chef and travel series star Anthony Bourdain, a man who arguably propelled the foodie travel movement into the mainstream, has died.

"No one was traveling for food before Anthony Bourdain; now nearly everyone is a foodie traveler and, in my opinion, that is due in full to him and the work he did. The food world was lucky to have him," said Laura Lynch of Savored Journeys. "Anthony Bourdain had a unique ability to take authentic food experiences that felt obscure and intangible, and make them possible for the every day traveler."

Bourdain, 61, was found dead at a hotel in the Alsace region of France, news media reported. The cause of death was reported to be suicide.

Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of the CNN series, "Parts Unknown," his latest travel show. Bourdain came to prominence after publishing his expose about life in the restaurant business, "Kitchen Confidential," in 2000. He became a household name during his years hosting The Travel Channel show "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations."

Anthony Bourdain in the "Parts Unknown" Season 2 finale: Live from Atomic Liquor in Las Vegas.
Anthony Bourdain in the "Parts Unknown" Season 2 finale: Live from Atomic Liquor in Las Vegas. Photo Credit: Isaac Brekken

After three years with The Travel Channel, Bourdain moved to CNN to launch his latest show, "Parts Unknown," in 2013, a series about the intersection of travel, culture, cuisine and politics.

"We are devastated by the news of his passing. Anthony Bourdain was an icon in the world of food and travel whose work validated and inspired what we do at Access Culinary Trips. Culinary travel is more than just eating great meals, it's about exploring cultures through their cuisine by connecting with local people over food. That's what creates the best travel stories, and nobody did that better than Tony," said Tamar Lowell, CEO of Access Culinary Trips.

Camille Rumani, co-founder and COO of EatWith, which makes locally hosted culinary experiences available to travelers, said that Bourdain will always be a true inspiration for the EatWith team.

Said Rumani, "Anthony Bourdain showed the world what authentic travel looks like, and told the stories of his adventures in one of the most inspiring ways we've seen. His legacy within the culinary space is one that will never be forgotten."

Erik Wolf, president of the World Food Travel Association, noted that Bourdain played a large role in the surge in interest in culinary travel over the past decade.

Said Wolf, "Bourdain's television shows seeded the idea of food travel for many who had never considered the notion before. His shows helped to open the eyes of so many budding new food lovers, perhaps more than any other media professional. He will be sorely missed." 

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