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Anthony Bourdain's Death Leaves a Huge Hole in Culinary World 

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Editor's Note: The following is The Big Spoon, an opinion column on San Antonio's food and drink scene.

Globetrotting TV host, author, and advocate Anthony Bourdain died on Friday morning at 61 in France.

The chef was found dead his hotel room in France by longtime friend and fellow chef Eric Ripert.

And the food world — that is the world that eats food — is in mourning.

Bourdain, a '78 Culinary Institute of America grad, first came into the spotlight with his pieces for The New Yorker that showed a realistic look inside professional kitchens. The pieces snowballed into his best-selling Kitchen Confidential, again a raw and honest depiction of kitchen life – from the pervasive drug use (that's still pervasive) to the practices restaurants used that diners should be aware of.

But Bourdain really came into his own with No Reservations, a Travel Channel series that aired from 2005 to 2012 and later on with CNN's Parts Unknown, where he country-hopped for 45 minutes at a time, taking viewers to the furthest corners of the earth and showcasing cuisines most of us will never have the chance to try. He traipsed through war zones, and pointed out differences, efficiencies, and, best of all, similarities.

And Bourdain gave credit where credit was due. He was an ardent advocate of the Latinos, Mexicans and Ecuadorians he worked alongside, and the work they do in some of the country's biggest kitchens. He wrote tirelessly about how Mexican food should be held in a higher esteem and his love of Mexico. A great example is this essay, written in 2014, as the 2016 election loomed on the horizon.

The news of his death this morning has left a huge hole in the food world, and not just those who read his books or watched his shows. His impact can be seen in today's kitchens, the chefs working there, and the food they share with us on a daily basis. Despite the onslaught of celebrity chefdom, it hasn't gotten any easier to work the long hours, often forgoing family time, and the loss of one of their biggest advocates will take time to heal.

So many restaurants, so little time. Find out the latest San Antonio dining news with our Flavor Friday Newsletter.

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January 12, 2022

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