Bourdain Day: Tell me your favorite Tony memory

People of Substack…as some of you may know, today is the birthday of one of my friends, Anthony Bourdain. A few years ago, the great Eric Ripert and I announced a new holiday to be added to every one of our calendars…BOURDAIN DAY…to celebrate the birth of our friend Tony.

Thank you for reading my memories of Tony. If you think someone else might want to share a story with us, please share this post!


Let’s use this space to share our favorite memories of Tony … I’ll go first!

Way way back, in 2005, I asked him if he would want to help with a fundraiser for the nonprofit DC Central Kitchen, founded by my mentor Robert Egger, and without a moment of hesitation Tony agreed. He was so selfless and generous, helping to raise millions of dollars for the women and men of Washington DC, to help them get a good culinary education.

The man who raised millions for DC Central Kitchen

Then in 2009 he came to the original minibar…no, not the one with 12 seats at 8th and E in Washington, but the first one was really just six seats within my old restaurant Café Atlantico. I was so happy to show him the food that we made, the innovations we were working on.

Me and Tony at the original minibar (see how small it was?)

Then there was the incredible moment in 2009 when he and I went to Catalunya to visit the legendary elBulli and meet the great chef himself, Ferran Adrià (and his brother Albert) for an episode of No Reservations. I got to take him around the region and show him all of the thing that make Catalan food unique…and how Ferran became one of the best chefs in history.

Me, Ferran, and Tony at elBulli

And of course, our last show together was when he visited me in Asturias, where I was born, to see, taste, and smell the food of my childhood. That memory is always bittersweet for me…I even wrote a bit about it here if you want to read more and watch the episode.

A beautiful day in Asturias

For many many years, Tony has been one of my heroes, truly a voice of the voiceless, telling the stories of people and places that needed to be told. Let’s celebrate him today with a shared meal, a cold drink, and some great memories.

So tell me…what do you remember about Tony?