Rest in Peace, Anthony Bourdain


I was very sad to see the news about Anthony Bourdain's death, reportedly by suicide.

I regularly watched Bourdain's TV shows, “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown.” I don't normally get too excited about celebrity, but I do remember entering a contest where the prize was a chance to have dinner with him. I would have really enjoyed that.

I also read his famed book Kitchen Confidential, which I really enjoyed. The other day, I saw a friend post a link to his 1999 article (“Don't Eat Before Reading This“) in the New Yorker, which led to the 2001 book. He had a way with words, on the page and on screen.

The first two paragraphs… it's so well written:

“Good food, good eating, is all about blood and organs, cruelty and decay. It's about sodium-loaded pork fat, stinky triple-cream cheeses, the tender thymus glands and distended livers of young animals. It's about danger–risking the dark, bacterial forces of beef, chicken, cheese, and shellfish. Your first two hundred and seven Wellfleet oysters may transport you to a state of rapture, but your two hundred and eighth may send you to bed with the sweats, chills, and vomits.

Gastronomy is the science of pain. Professional cooks belong to a secret society whose ancient rituals derive from the principles of stoicism in the face of humiliation, injury, fatigue, and the threat of illness. The members of a tight, well-greased kitchen staff are a lot like a submarine crew. Confined for most of their waking hours in hot, airless spaces, and ruled by despotic leaders, they often acquire the characteristics of the poor saps who were press-ganged into the royal navies of Napoleonic times–superstition, a contempt for outsiders, and a loyalty to no flag but their own.”

A few years back, I wrote a blog post for KaiNexus with a video of Bourdain talking about being “less awful every day,” which reminded me of the practice of Kaizen and continuous improvement.

The video:

Rest in peace, chef…

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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