Money & Power

How Anthony Bourdain Built a Business Outside the Kitchen

The 61-year-old amassed a personal fortune through TV and book deals.
IMAGE GETTY IMAGES/ JASON LAVERIS
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Celebrity chef, author, and television personality Anthony Bourdain died of an apparent suicide in France Friday morning, CNN reports.

The 61-year-old was overseas to film his television show Parts Unknown, and his friend Eric Ripert, the French chef best known for his New York City restaurant Le Bernardin, reportedly found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room.

"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," CNN said in a statement Friday morning. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

The Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown show was just one way in which the New Jersey native, who told Wealthsimple he "grew up decidedly middle-class," amassed a fortune that Celebritynetworth.com estimates to be worth $16 million.

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Anthony Bourdain was a four-time Emmy Award winner

Bourdain told Wealthsimple in March 2017 that "the reports of my net worth are about ten times overstated" though. "I think the people who calculate these things assume that I live a lot more sensibly than I do," he said.

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After dropping out of college at Vassar, Bourdain went to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and graduated in 1978. From there, he worked in the kitchens of New York City restaurants like the Supper Club and One Fifth Avenue before becoming executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.

It wasn't until 2000, however, that he started getting additional proceeds from books after publishing his runaway hit Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. He followed that with 2002's A Cook's Tour, which included a television show component.

The Travel Channel's programs Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and The Layovercame next, in 2005, and more books followed along with essays in the New York Times and the New Yorker.


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Bourdain interviewed former President Barack Obama for his television show.

In 2013, CNN's Brian Stelter writes, "both Bourdain and CNN took a risk by bringing him to the news network still best known for breaking news and headlines. Bourdain quickly became one of the principal faces of the network and one of the linchpins of the prime-time schedule."

He won Primetime Emmy Awards in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 for Outstanding Informational Series or Special for Parts Unknown. He also won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2014 for his work on the PBS cooking series Mind of a Chef.

Bourdain leaves behind an 11-year-old daughter Ariane, whom he shared with his Italian ex-wife, Ottavia Busia. He was recently romantically linked to 42-year-old Asia Argento, an Italian actress and activist who condemned disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

To those who are in emotional crisis and in need of immediate assistance, please contact Hopeline at 804.4673 and 0917.558.4673.

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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