Anthony Bourdain, Travel Host and Cannabis Advocate, Dead at 61

Influential cannabis advocate, chef, and travel host Anthony Bourdain died this morning of an apparent suicide.
Anthony Bourdain, Travel Host and Cannabis Advocate, Dead at 61
Peabody Awards/ Wikimedia Commons

Travel host, chef, and cannabis advocate Anthony Bourdain has died at the age of 61. CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death Friday and has reported the cause as suicide. He had been in France to produce an installment of his CNN series Parts Unknown according to the news network. Chef Eric Ripert, a close friend of Bourdain, found him in his hotel room unconscious on Friday morning.

A consummate adventurer, Bourdain spent much of his adult life traveling, cooking, eating, and writing. He was also an advocate for cannabis. He was once filmed enjoying a cannabis-infused pizza in Cambodia, although he didn’t come right out and say it. But he hinted pretty strongly about it.

“What makes this pizza happy so happy?” he wondered aloud. “Let’s just say there’s a powerful herbal component to this pizza…It’s the pizza that makes you insane in the membrane.”

He even took the opportunity to share some of the medicinal attributes of a pot pizza.

“Cures glaucoma, too,” he joked.

Last year, Bourdain smoked a joint on camera in Seattle for an episode of Parts Unknown. And earlier this year, he did the same in Uruguay, where cannabis is newly legal nationwide. He also visited other 420-friendly locales including Jamaica and Morocco, although did not imbibe on camera in those episodes.

In 2011, Bourdain revealed to fans at a Barnes and Noble bookstore his favorite method of consuming herb.

“I will tell you—with authority—that the perfect delivery system for marijuana…is a joint,” he said. “A classic joint. I prefer two papers. Purists will say one paper. [But] two papers burns more evenly.”

Anthony Bourdain Hit the Scene with “Kitchen Confidential”

Bourdain first became popular after the publication of his book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly in 2000. In that book, he exposed the grit and gamesmanship of the New York City restaurant scene. And he freely discussed the drug use prevalent in the Big Apple’s kitchens.

“We were high all the time, sneaking off to the walk-in refrigerator at every opportunity to ‘conceptualize.’ Hardly a decision was made without drugs,” Bourdain wrote. “Cannabis, methaqualone, cocaine, LSD, psilocybin mushrooms soaked in honey and used to sweeten tea, secobarbital, tuinal, amphetamine, codeine and, increasingly, heroin, which we’d send a Spanish-speaking busboy over the Alphabet City to get.”

After the success of Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain turned to television. His first show, A Cook’s Tour, was a blend of travel, cooking, and eating. The program debuted on the Food Network in 2002. He produced 35 episodes of the show before it then ended the following year.

Bourdain’s next series, No Reservations, premiered in 2005. Another program that mixed food and exotic locations, it aired on the Travel Channel from 2005 until 2012. A 2006 episode, filmed in Beirut during the developing Israel-Lebanon crisis, earned an Emmy award for its impromptu coverage of the international event. Bourdain hosted a second Travel Channel show, The Layover, from 2011 until 2013.

Anthony Bourdain left the Travel Channel in 2012 and premiered Parts Unknown on CNN the following year. He has also made appearances on reality TV shows, The Simpsons, and the Nick, Jr. program Yo Gabba Gabba!, among others.

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