2003. Lying on the couch. Procrastinating from the 10 000 word dissertation that awaits me, my brother & I watch Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations on UKTVfood. Unaware at the time, this is not long after he burst into the culinary TV world and his brilliance was truly recognized.
Enthralled and beguiled, we would watch this rock star chef on his travels, munching on delicious morsels in between a drag of his cigarette and a shot of the local liquor.
He had it all. Eloquent, engaging, hilarious and just cool. Most of all, he was simply a fantastic story teller.
He made an impression on my brother and me.
And it stuck.
Wil (my little bro) is now a chef in Stockholm and here I am in Berlin telling the food stories of this city to whoever wishes to listen.
In the early days of my food touring in Berlin, a compliment was paid to me in the form of my being a cross- between Shakira and Anthony Bourdain. There could be no higher praise in my book.
Learning that Anthony decided to die just over a week ago struck me to my core.
That this man of such magnificence, effervescence and a seeming lust for life, could be taken from us on account of his own choice, was hard to comprehend.
Today, it seems unimaginable that we live in a world that he is no longer a part.
This may all seem very dramatic and hyperbolic, and perhaps it is. I didn't actually know Anthony, we weren't friends. But somehow, that doesn't seem to matter.
That was part of his magic you see. He told us his food stories as if talking to his peers, letting us into those secrets he uncovered. He took us along for the ride.
He was the friend berating me for going vegan, thrusting his unctuous osso buco into my face. Slurping the bloody flesh from his spicy Morcilla sausage provocatively. But I loved him anyway.
He educated us not only on the cuisine of those countries he visited, but what was happening politically. He often gave a voice to those who most needed it.
We could all relate to him. This slightly flawed, yet still impossibly brilliant character that had a past, but found his way to the top. He was, and remains an inspiration to any of us that feel our potential has not yet been reached. (Anthony was 44 when Kitchen Confidential was published.)
His shows welcomed us into his world and we were his friends- he was the best friend we never had.
Goodbye Anthony, thank you for everything. I hope you have found the peace you deserve.