Anthony Bourdain, The Chef The World Misses

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Photography by Alan Lim ©

I first met Anthony Bourdain in early 2000s when I photographed him for an interview piece on his first tv show, A Cook’s Tour right after his acclaim memoir, Kitchen Confidential.

On that day of the shoot, I was told by my colleague to meet her with a celebrity chef at Zion hawker center to make a portrait of him. Arriving at the hawker it wasn’t too difficult to spot him, a lengthy middle age Caucasian man sitting in the middle of the crowd among the Asians. My first impression of Anthony came across as a guy who had seen it all, comfortable being in Asia, relax and cool. One of the most unusual things about him I remember extremely well was unlike most Americans who would hesitate and think twice when being offered local Asian food to try. Instead, he looked at it once, opened his mouth wide, down the food and started chewing, and he really enjoyed them all. I remember watching him I said to myself quietly, ‘Man, this guy is adventurous’. Imagine the midday hawker center in Singapore, it was hot and steamy, but this American did not complain about the heat at all, and let alone mentioning a single word about it. As a guy, he’s one of those who you will like him instantly and get along easily with a couple of beer. When came to photo taking, he was cooperative, fast and easy, definitely one of the easiest sessions I had. A few years later I photographed him once more.

Whether you knew him from the screen as the man who brought us with him around the world in his food adventure and redefined food show, or you knew him in person as the cool guy you loved to hang out with, he sure will be missed by everyone for a very long time.