Celebrity chefs react to Anthony Bourdain's death

On June 8, 2018, the world woke up to news that Anthony Bourdain, celebrated chef, traveler, food writer and TV show host, had died. According to reports, Bourdain had been found unresponsive in his hotel room while on location to shoot material for Parts Unknown. He had reportedly committed suicide. For many, the news was a complete shock, a sad reminder that many people living with depression don't always exhibit symptoms often associated with the condition.

Bourdain's friends, and those who admired him, quickly posted their thoughts and feelings on social media. It's clear that his incredibly legacy touched millions of lives around the world, and influenced countless more. The culinary industry was especially affected by the news — the loss of such an honest television host, who tested boundaries and brought culinary communities together, hit hard. Often referred to as "Tony" by his closest friends, many celebrity chefs, TV personalities and others in the restaurant business paid their respects online, expressing their thoughts to followers on social media. 

Gordon Ramsay

The star of Master Chef took to social media after hearing the tragic news about Bourdain. "Stunned and saddened by the loss of Anthony Bourdain," he posted on Facebook, along with an image of Bourdain and himself in a kitchen, wearing black leather jackets. "He brought the world into our homes and inspired so many people to explore cultures and cities through their food. Remember that help is always a phone call away US: 1-800-273-TALK UK: 116 123." 

‬Bourdain and Gordon Ramsay seemed to have an amicable relationship, despite Bourdain's commentary in the past. Ramsay followed up with an additional tweet featuring a clip from an old Food Network show Bourdain had hosted, before No Reservations took off. "Seems perfect to share this today. It's a vintage clip of Anthony Bourdain when he stopped by Restaurant Gordon Ramsay over 17 years ago. Sending your family all our love -The Ramsay's xxx." 

Jamie Oliver

Another British chef Bourdain admired, Jamie Oliver (The Naked Chef) truly felt gutted regarding the news. "I have to say I'm in total shock to hear that the amazing @Bourdain has just died," he tweeted, along with a broken heart emoji. Bourdain previously referred to Oliver as a "hero" (along with some other colorful commentary) in his fight against fast food, but Oliver felt inspired by him as well. "He really broke the mould, pushed the culinary conversation, Rest in peace chef…thoughts and love to all his family and close friends." 

Eric Ripert

The Executive Chef at Le Bernardin took the news of Bourdain's death especially hard. Eric Ripert was in France with Bourdain filming for Parts Unkown at the time of his death, and it was Ripert who discovered his body. Ripert was often linked to Bourdain throughout his life. The two had met after Ripert had read Kitchen Confidential… Bourdain had accepted an invitation to lunch, and they had been friends every since. Ripert has been quiet on social media, with good reason, apart from one image he posted on both Facebook and Twitter. His caption reads, "Anthony was my best friend. He was an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous. One of the great storytellers of our time who connected with so many around the world on a level rarely seen. He brought us all on some incredible journeys. I pray he is at peace from the bottom of my heart. My love and prayers are also with his family, friends, loved ones and everyone that knew him."

Alton Brown

"I…don't…believe it. I don't and I won't." Alton Brown's tweet summed up the state most people felt upon learning what had happened to Bourdain. The two Food Network stars exchanged words in the past, but for the most part, Brown had high respect for Bourdain. In a previous interview, he once stated, "I think that [he] is probably the best writer about food. I'm jealous of his work. He pokes a lot of things and that's fine; you have to have critics, issue provocateurs, so to speak… I'm a fan, and the few times I've gotten to work with him I enjoyed it immensely." 

Jay Rayner

Jay Rayner was no stranger to Bourdain's life and work, having reviewed much of it as the Observer's restaurant critic. "Terrible news about Tony Bourdain," he tweeted on Friday. "He was a brilliant man, who single handedly changed what food writing could be." He quickly paid tribute to his friend with a touching essay, which included how Bourdain had been a champion for the non-perfect culture chef life had created, and stating, "as a writer he was massively influential, changing forever what the business of food and appetite on the page could be."

David Chang

Momofuku chef and producer of Netflix's Ugly Delicious, David Chang was one of Bourdain's close friends. Bourdain had featured Momofuku on an episode of No Reservations, and they were often seen at food festivals and other appearances together. They were always creating interesting culinary projects together, most recently the PBS show, Mind Of A Chef. When Chang heard what had happened, he posted only one tribute to Bourdain on social media: a black square, accompanied by a Will Oldman poem, posted on Instagram. The poem begins, "Well, I hope that someday, buddy / We have peace in our lives…" hinting that Bourdain's struggle was not an isolated one.

Nigella Lawson

Many began grieving in their own ways after hearing the devastating news. Nigella Lawson, long-time friend and co-host of The Taste, was especially affected. "Heartbroken to hear about Tony Bourdain's death," she emotionally tweeted. "Unbearable for his family and girlfriend. Am going off twitter for a while." The two were previously seen together celebrating Bourdain's 60th birthday in 2016 in West London; Bourdain commented on their close relationship in a post on his Instagram account: "Always looking out for me."

Emeril Lagasse

The Essence of Emeril star didn't hesitate to express his feelings on Friday. "I'm shocked and extremely saddened by the tragic loss of such an inspiring man," he said, in a post on Twitter. "Tony was a great soul, a mentor, a friend, a father, and an incredible chef." He quickly posted a followup tweet encouraging his followers to seek help if they were struggling with mental health issues. Lagasse and Bourdain knew each other from the culinary entertainment scene, and worked on side projects as well. One of them included a cameo appearance on the show Treme — Emeril Lagasse acted in a scene that was written by Bourdain himself.

Marco Pierre White

"The chef we all wanted to be when I was coming up as a young cook and wannabe chef" — that's how Bourdain once referred to celebrity chef and traveling buddy Marco Pierre White. It's no wonder the two became fast friends; White's rebellious nature and game-changing culinary tactics, penned in his book, White Heat, predated (and certainly influenced) Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. White has yet to comment on the death of his close friend; he posted a captionless image of himself with Bourdain on his Instagram account on Friday, which has since become a place for fans to leave him sympathetic messages.

Cat Cora

Iron Chef star Cat Cora took to Instagram with a touching tribute to Tony Bourdain, where fans were able to read her thoughtful response alongside an image of her pal. "I've known Tony for years," she posted. "This is a huge loss to us all. I am shocked, saddened and heartbroken. We'll have that cook-off we talked about in heaven now. We are praying for the entire family @asiaargento and are here for them always." She followed up with a suicide prevention hotline number, providing the much needed resource for those seeking help.

Carla Hall

Carla Hall was subjected to Bourdain's critiques when she was competing on Top Chef: All Stars, but that didn't change her opinion of the man off the camera. "I am gutted and saddened upon hearing the news of @Bourdain, a beloved presence in the culinary community. You will be missed," she tweeted on Friday. After Top Chef had ended, the two were often seen together at public appearances, like the DC Central Kitchen's Capital Food Fight in 2014.

Andrew Zimmern

Bizarre Eats star Andrew Zimmern was hit particularly hard by the tragic news early Friday morning. His Twitter profile was a stream of posts related to his relationship with Bourdain, and his feelings overall. "A piece of my heart is truly broken this morning," he began. "And the irony, the sad cruel irony is that the last year he'd never been happier." A second tweet showed a more emotional side: "I'm so angry this morning. Life is fucking hard and crazy and Tony I love you. Im wearing your boots that I never wore because they were yours, and going to work." A few followup tweets included how Zimmern was trying to cope with the loss, including a photo of himself and Bourdain with Travel Channel's Adam Richman, posted by Richman himself.

Padma Lakshmi ‏

The former Top Chef: All Stars host ‏learned of Bourdain's death early on. Padma Lakshmi posted on her Twitter account, "I just woke up to the horrible news about my friend @Bourdain. In shock and devastated. One of the most fun and wittiest men I knew. Tony you will be missed. RIP." She later posted an image of a young Bourdain working in a kitchen on her Facebook page, with a similar caption, stating how "devastated" she was and how Bourdain had been such an influence and a mentor in her life. 

Tyler Florence

The history between Food Network star Tyler Florence and Bourdain was controversial, to say the least. Their professional relationship was clouded by articles citing their "rivalries," especially concerning Florence's partnership with Applebee's. Despite that, Florence definitely seemed affected by the loss of Bourdain. He posted a screenshot of the CNN article announcing Bourdain's death on Instagram, saying that "the food world lost it's biggest fan." On Twitter, he summed up his feelings into a simple, but powerful, one-word tweet: "Shattered…"

Michael Symon

Co-host on The Chew and Food Network celebrity chef Michael Symon goes way back when it comes to his friendship with Bourdain. Symon appeared in the "Cleveland" episode of No Reservations, and in a 2009 article for the Cleveland Arts Prize website, Bourdain had said the following of Symon: "[he] is quite simply, Cleveland's best known, highest profile and most influential chef. His restaurants are – and have been for some time, reason alone for an outsider to visit." On Twitter, the loss was truly felt by Symon, who had trouble expressing his own feelings but went on to retweet posts from friends in honor of Bourdain.

Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio and Bourdain new each other from the culinary entertainment industry — they even worked on Top Chef: All Star together. Once he heard the news, Colicchio hinted at his exposure to Bourdain's adventurous spirit in a tweet. "RIP doubtful. Tony's restless spirit will roam the earth in search of justice, truth and a great bowl of noodles." Colicchio's role as MSNBC's first food correspondent was influenced by Bourdain's Parts Unknown show on CNN. Both chefs-turned-journalists told stories that involved food and culture beyond what was served on a plate.

Buddy Valastro

They weren't close outside of their professional relationships, but Cake Boss's Buddy Valastro was definitely impacted by the news of Bourdain's death. On his Instagram account, he posted a black square, and wrote, "It's been a truly shocking day in not only the culinary world but it's no surprise that the authentic soul of Anthony Bourdain has touched and inspired so many. Everyone is feeling this loss. He was talented, smart, cunning, unapologetic and explored every corner with an open eye we all wish we can. We felt that, we admired that, and it drove us. You, me, anyone. In whatever way. My thoughts tonight are with those who will miss him every day."

Sandra Lee

Sandra Lee spoke out about her thoughts on Bourdain's death on her Facebook page, in a few posts. The first included a black and white image of Bourdain, where she spoke about her shock and sadness, and the qualities of Bourdain she admired. She also hinted at their past disagreements, but that "the food entertainment business is a family and every member has their place with a unique personality." Her followup posts included the music video for Steve Nicks' "Nightbird," a song about "loss and longing and ultimate love," and another post with two photos of birds, with the caption, "A Final Farewell to the Nightbird Anthony from all the White Winged Doves."

Rene Redzepi

Rene Redzepi works at Noma in Copenhagen, which consistently has been named the "World's Best Restaurant" in recent years. Redzepi worked on the Copenhagen episode of Parts Unknown with Bourdain, who wrote about how happy Noma had made him feel. "Another incredible loss to suicide. Heart broken, sad, in disbelief," he tweeted on Friday after hearing the news. He later retweeted a statement from CNN correspondent Chris Cillizza, which discussed how the signs of depression are not always apparent, even in those who seem happy and successful.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).