“They’re probably going to find out anyway, so here’s a little precautionary approach to the truth: there’s no happy ending”: the voice-over of Anthony Bourdain thus opens the trailer of Roadrunner, the documentary he directed Morgan Neville and which will be seen —before its theatrical release on July 16— at the Tribeca Film Festival 11th June. The film traces the life of the intellectual chef and rocker who committed suicide in 2018, whose memory they also evoke two books from 2021.
One already came out: World Travel: An Irreverent Guide is a project that Bourdain left unfinished and is now published by his assistant, Laurie Woolever, who completed it with friends, family and colleagues of the star chef. The book (which will be released at the end of June in Spanish with the title Eat, travel, discover) follows the scheme that Bourdain had thought of: “the places, the people, the food, the walks, the markets, the hotels and more that had remained in his memory, without the help of notes or videos, during almost 20 years of traveling around the world in the service of making television ”.
The second is written by Woolever, and is a biography: Bourdain: The Definitive Oral Biography. It will be released in October 2021 and includes a hundred interviews with Eric Ripert, José Andrés, Nigella Lawson, W. Kamau Bell; Bourdain’s brother Christopher, and the 14-year-old daughter, Ariane; also his mother, Gladys, who died in 2020.
“It tells the story of the man who seemed to have the best job and the best life in the world,” Woolever anticipated. “The stories, memories, and reflections that you collect from your close family, your childhood friends, your fellow students, your colleagues in the kitchen, your collaborators on television, and the friends you made along the way will answer the questions. questions about who he really was, what motivated him and how he chose to live his fascinating life. “
Neville’s movie (20 Feet From Stardom, Best of Enemies, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead Y Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) account that same. From the numerous Bourdain shows, the never-aired scenes, several home movies and the testimony of those who treated him, the film follows the adventures of Bourdain: both those of the trip and those of his private life.
“The show was hardly ever about the food. It was about Tony learning how to be a better person, “he said. David Chang, founder of the chain Momofuku, in one of the featured segments in the trailer that CNN y HBO Max (producers of the film Focus) broadcast days before the premiere at the Tribeca Festival. Bourdain himself is also heard: “One moment I am standing next to a deep fryer and the next I am looking at the sunset in the Sahara. What am I doing here?”.
The sneak peek also revealed that Neville’s film explores the depression the chef faced on the eve of his death. Several of his acquaintances comment: “Reality will never live up to what we imagine exactly”; “I know how hard it must have been for him to procure someone and say, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling well’”; “He was always rushing to go somewhere else even if he didn’t have a place to go.”
Bourdain was born in the city of New York and grew up in a suburbLeonia, New Jersey) with her mother, Gladys, who was a housewife and then a proofreader in The New York Times, and his father Pierre, salesman in a camera store and then executive of Columbia Records. In his house there was a large kitchen: “He was curious,” his mother told him. CBS in 2007. “As a child I would come to the kitchen and decorate the gingerbread cookies at Christmas. He was always interested in pleasant tastes and smells. Since he was little he liked trying new things ”.
Your first visit to FranceWhen he was 10 years old, he introduced her to oysters and snails. Went to college in Vassar to follow who would be his first wife, Nancy Putkoski, with whom he met all kinds of drugs. But his vocation was elsewhere and he dropped out in his second year to start from scratch in the American Culinary Institute, where he graduated in 1978.
He then moved in with Putkoski and began working in different restaurants in New York: Rainbow Room, W.P.A., Chuck Howard’s, Nikki and Kelly, Gianni’s, Supper Club. Except for the habitual use of narcotics – he had a difficult time with heroin and then crack – his domestic life was quiet, with vacations every so often in the city. Caribe. In 1998 he responded to a job posting posted in The New York Times and became head chef of Brasserie Les Halles.
Was there in 1999 when he published — he had always liked to write, and was also an author of fiction— Don’t Eat Before Reading This (Do not eat before reading this), an essay in The New Yorker It had such an impact that he was offered to turn it into a book. Thus arose Confessions of a chef (Kitchen Confidential, That stayed on the US bestseller list for 44 weeks and was translated into 22 languages. A mix of memoirs with advice (the most famous: “Never eat fish on Mondays”) and revelations of the dark side of restaurant kitchens, the book changed his life.
First of all, he gave international fame as a cook very different from those usually seen in the media. “All TV chefs are so cute and adorable, maybe I’m the antidote or something,” he says in a presentation that recovers Neville’s documentary. But above all he opened the audiovisual path, where he would stand out as a storyteller about food from a cultural point of view.
His programs are a kind of version, progressively more sophisticated, anthropological and political, of the first one he did, A Cook’s Tour, which lasted for 35 episodes in 2002 and 2003 on the cable signal Food Network. Two years later he reappeared in Travel Channel with Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, which lasted seven years. In 2013 he joined The Taste as a judge, a role he served for three seasons until he reached his greatest success: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, and CNN.
There it could shine not only as a lover of cooking but also of travel in its less touristy sense: a curious exploration of other places, where you meet other people and learn the unexpected. “Traveling is not always free”, he is heard reflecting on the matter in Roadrunner. “You go, you learn; scars, marks remain; you change in the process ”. His ability to connect was not only with the people he met on his travels around the world but also with the viewers of his show, which made him a star: he won 12 Emmy Awards and one Peabody.
His delight in adventure exceeded dishes such as cobra heart, seal raw eye or wild boar in the style of a tribe of Namibia (“He had sand, shit and hair in every bite,” he commented): he also swam with piranhas, jumped into the water from a cliff, and went skydiving with imitators of Elvis presley.
He published more best sellers: A Cook’s Tour (Travel of a chef), The Nasty Bits (Bad drinks) Y Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook (The kitchen of Les Halles), among others.
“There was still a lot of raw trauma left in Bourdain’s world,” Neville toldThe Hollywood Reporter about the interviews he conducted for Roadrunner. “The movie, if it serves its purpose, will help people come to terms with that loss.” The premiere at the Festival of Tribeca seemed very appropriate: “For someone who was so symbolic of New York, it is perfect. He loved the city: its multilingual nature, 24/7; his energy, his confrontational aspects. In my head, the city and him are synonymous ”.