It comes as no surprise – the death of Anthony Bourdain has touched so many. Bourdain’s post-chef career as a food writer, author, and travel show host was launched by his writing, Don’t Eat Before Reading This, published in The New Yorker in April 1999.
Shortly after this no-name chef told his story about what happens behind closed doors in restaurants, he was offered a contract for his first book Kitchen Confidential. The rest, as they say, was history.
What captivated me was his willingness to go where most wouldn’t dare. His honest, descriptive, and shocking appraisals of life in a restaurant kitchen weren’t liked by all, but, by and large, his I-don’t-give-a-flying-you-know-what attitude and the sheer act of being himself created fans who loved and admired him for writing like he talked and being who he was.
Bourdain, interviewed on the occasion of his 60th birthday for First We Feast quipped, “I joke about not giving a f*** being a very good business model for me,” he said, “but it’s true. The absolute certainty that nobody was going to buy or read or care about Kitchen Confidential was what allowed me to write it. I didn’t have to think about what people expected. I didn’t care. And as a result, I was able to write this book quickly and without tormenting myself. And that seemed to work out and I learned from that experience and I tried very hard. Whether I’m meeting with a group of television executives or telling a story, I don’t think about ‘the fans’; I don’t think about what audiences expect, and I’m not afraid of what will they think of me, or what if they don’t like it and I’m not on television anymore.” And then the kicker, the thing that got the audience pumping, “You know, I’ll go back to brunch….. I don’t care.”
Here’s what I think is the saddest part of the whole turn of events this past week with Bourdain, and even in the same light, Kate Spade. His fan’s love and admiration for him, and his bad-boy ways, wasn’t enough to overcome the darkness and despair, and maintain the energy required to continue to live life as he knew it. So, he made the decision to leave it all, including a sweet 11-year old daughter.
My hope and belief is that he is now at peace connected to Love in a way that none of us have ever experienced. I for one would love to know what he really thinks about this “place”. For if there’s one mortal person I know I could count on for the full report it’s Anthony Bourdain.
Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook.
Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?
Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?
Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?
I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet. That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.
Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing:
An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?”