What Anthony Bourdain Was Really Like, According To Nigella Lawson

One of the most famous television personalities of all time, Anthony Bourdain realized he wanted to become a chef very early on in life on a childhood vacation to France, according to Mental Floss. When Bourdain tried his first oyster, he had an astounding epiphany. "It tasted of seawater ... of brine and flesh ... and somehow ... of the future," he wrote in his bestselling book, "Kitchen Confidential." The book would then skyrocket the New York City chef to stardom.

Known as a fountain of wisdom and sarcastic wit, Bourdain tragically passed away in 2018, but his memory lives on through his loved ones and unparalleled reputation. Laurie Woolever, Bourdain's longtime assistant and confidante, recently released "Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography," an inside look into the life of the legend from the people who knew him best. Woolever pieced the novel together by speaking with people from all facets of Bourdain's life, from his kitchen crew and family members to his closest friends — including famous food writer and television host Nigella Lawson.

Bourdain was funny, clever, and kind, Lawson said

Lawson got to know Bourdain on the set of the ABC cooking competition, "The Taste." While the series was short-lived, the power duo developed a strong friendship during the show's two-year run. "It was like a month at summer camp," Bourdain said in an interview with People when referring to his time on the set. 

In her interview with Woolever for "Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography," Lawson describes how she initially didn't feel "particularly comfortable" signing on to be a judge for "The Taste," but she loved doing it because it allowed her to hang out with Bourdain and the other hosts — and she figured that if Bourdain were involved, it was "guaranteed" that the show would have integrity (via Bon Appétit).

While Lawson enjoyed spending time with Bourdain, she learned that he did need a lot of time alone. "He was a very introverted person, which people misunderstood in a way, because of his facility with people, but he was always a slightly detached presence," she shares. The 61-year-old British author describes the late Bourdain as "enormously friendly" and warm, while sometimes needing "a bit of space around him." "I loved being in his company," Lawson continues. "When you're young, what you want of people is that they're funny and clever. And then as you get older, you realize kindness is important. But it's not often that you meet people who are funny, clever, and kind. And he was."