The First Time Anthony Bourdain And Eric Ripert Appeared On TV Together

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What may seem like an unlikely pair — the tattooed, lovable bad boy, Anthony Bourdain, and the buttoned-up, French, nice guy, Eric Ripert — were actually best friends (via CNN). The Laurel and Hardy of the culinary world had known each other for almost two decades before Ripert discovered Bourdain's body in a hotel room while filming in France for "Parts Unknown" (2018). Ripert later took to Twitter to eulogize his friend, saying, "Anthony was my best friend. An exceptional human being, so inspiring & generous. One of the great storytellers who connected w so many. I pray he is at peace from the bottom of my heart. My love & prayers are also w his family, friends, and loved ones."

While Bourdain had been open about his drug and alcohol use, starting in "Kitchen Confidential," Ripert was more moderate, balancing exercise and eating well to avoid getting drunk. He was featured as Bourdain's sidekick for four episodes of "Parts Unknown," and Bourdain enjoyed torturing Ripert by making him eat spicy foods, to the point of 'hallucinations' and pushing the limits of his patience. But it was all in good fun. Their mutual respect and friendship ensured that Ripert was on board with everything filmed and shown on screen (via Explore Parts Unknown). Their bromance has been well documented, and its beginning came out of pure adoration between the two men.

The bromance

In an article he wrote for Book of the Month, Ripert explained that his bromance with Bourdain began after he reached out to the author following "Kitchen Confidential." In the tell-all, otherwise filled with criticisms, Bourdain praised Ripert's kitchen. Ripert invited Bourdain to lunch, and their friendship began. Interested in the underbelly of the culinary industry written about in the book, Ripert followed Bourdain into hole-in-the-wall restaurants, dive bars, and punk rock concerts, despite it not being his scene.

Ripert's first appearance on screen with Bourdain was in 2002 with Bourdain's show, "A Cook's Tour." The episode took place in Napa Valley at the legendary French Laundry. It would be another five years until Ripert appeared on another episode, this time on "No Reservations." These early collaborations were more like cameos. It wasn't until 2010 that Ripert shared the screen with Bourdain, in Ripert's home country, on a restaurant crawl through Paris (via Eater).

Over 15 years, Ripert would appear in three of Bourdain's shows for six episodes as his sidekick, plus five cameos. During an episode of "Parts Unknown" in 2017, Bourdain said, "I like to bring the distinguished three-star Michelin chef and good friend Eric Ripert someplace every year and torture him." The friends' antics are fun to watch on screen, especially posthumously. The world misses Bourdain, but perhaps no one more than his best friend, Eric Ripert.