Celebrity chef and television host Anthony Bourdain, 61, was found dead on Friday morning in his hotel room in France. The apparent cause of death is suicide.
Bourdain, who took viewers all around the world for close to two decades through his different, world-travel shows, recorded a 2014 episode of his “Parts Unknown” in various parts of Mississippi.
Before his visit to the Birthplace of America’s Music, Bourdain, like many who have never visited, had no idea what Mississippi has to offer. All the information that he possessed regarding the state was what he had heard from others or what he had seen portrayed in different movies.
“As a New Yorker with a drearily predictable view of my tribe, I took a dim view of Mississippi,” Bourdain wrote on his website after the airing of the episode. “The history was not pretty.”
Visits to a famous blues club, Faulkner’s birthplace, and the state capital would soon change Bourdain’s tarnished view of Mississippi.
During his stay, Bourdain ate at local restaurants such as the Big Apple Inn in Jackson, Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville, and The Senator’s Place in Cleveland. He also toured William Faulkner’s house, visited the famous Delta blues club long known as Po Monkey’s, and took a canoeing trip on the Mississippi River.
“I hope that viewers will get a taste of a uniquely beautiful place–where some of the last of some truly great American institutions are still alive. Where you can hear the blues performed where it was born, in exactly the same surroundings, the same kind of bar, as when it all began. Where you can have an irony free pig ear that will make you weep for joy,” Bourdain continued in his notes.
Bourdain may have left a few pounds heavier than when he arrived, but at least he was able to experience a glimpse of such a special state overflowing with soul and hospitality. The world famous chef will always be remembered in the minds of food lovers worldwide, but especially in the minds of Mississippians.
“He was knowledgeable of everything food,” the Big Apple Inn owner Geno Lee said. “There was something about Anthony Bourdain…he was an icon”