This Is What Michael Symon Really Thought Of Anthony Bourdain - Exclusive

Anthony Bourdain and Michael Symon go way back. The two famously appeared together in 2007, when Bourdain visited Cleveland for his Travel Channel show "No Reservations" (via Cleveland Magazine). Symon helped show off the city's prime barbecue joints and gave Bourdain the chance to see what Cleveland had up its sleeve. Both chefs stayed in touch over the years, with Bourdain naturally even making a joke or two at the chef's expense, which Symon gave right back (via Eater). Despite the snarky remarks on both sides, Symon and Bourdain clearly had the utmost respect for one another; when Bourdain died, the news left Symon stunned.

Years after his passing, Michael Symon still fondly remembers the good times he had with Anthony Bourdain. "Anthony was a dear friend. I knew him for, gosh, well over 25 years," Symon shared in an exclusive interview with Mashed. "He was a special guy. He's as good a human as there is to sit down and have a cocktail with." Over the decades, Symon built a lasting friendship with Bourdain and held him in high respect.

Bourdain and Symon had a longer friendship than you knew

Michael Symon's relationship with Anthony Bourdain actually stretched back well before that 2007 episode of "No Reservations." Symon told Mashed, "I met Anthony in, I want to say, the early '90s, and Tony was just a great guy. I mean, he was just, he was one of those rare people that was a tremendous listener. Not only was he a great host of television, but he was a tremendous listener, and he was one of those people that was a huge smart-ass, but still had the ability to bring people together. He could talk s***, but still make you feel good about the situation and bring people together. And I think that was one of his greatest gifts. I think about him a lot. And especially with everything that we went through in the past and stuff, Tony would have been great [during the pandemic] because he was good at bringing people together."

After all these years, Symon still treasures his memories of Bourdain. Their friendship lasted decades in part due to Bourdain's genuine nature and magnetic personality, which could close divides. Bourdain's influence remains with everyone who got the chance to call him a friend.

To keep up to date with chef Michael Symon's world and learn more about his relationships with other chefs, make sure to check out his Instagram page. Symon also recently teamed up with Diplomático Rum for a string of collaborations, so make sure to check out the company website for recipes and cocktails featuring the liquor.