The late Anthony Bourdain will likely be a news topic on 8 June, the one-year anniversary of his death. However, don’t expect to hear comments from his closest friends on that date. Instead, they will celebrate Bourdain’s life on 25 June, his birthday.
Bourdain was found dead last year in a hotel in France from an apparent suicide by his good friend, Eric Ripert, the French chef whose three-star Michelin restaurant in Manhattan, Le Bernardin, is annually ranked one of the best in the world. His name is currently associated with only one other restaurant: Blue by Eric Ripert, at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
The 25 June celebration is one in which Ripert hopes millions of people take part
From 2009 through 2018, Bourdain, Ripert and chef José Andrés headlined the annual Cayman Cookout culinary festival together, becoming known as the “three amigos” of the festival. The two remaining “amigos,” Ripert and Andrés, along with Bourdain’s family and agent, made a decision about the anniversary of his death.
“We didn’t want to celebrate the anniversary of Tony leaving us,” Ripert said. “June 25 is the birthday of Tony and therefore we have decided to celebrate the legacy and the birthday of Tony on June 25. So on June 8, nothing will happen that is meaningful.”
The 25 June celebration is one in which Ripert hopes millions of people take part.
“What we did, José and I, we did a video together asking people everywhere in the world to ‘cheer’ Tony on June 25 any way they want,” Ripert said. “They can do it with a beer, with wine, with water … but it’s a celebration of the legacy of Tony.”
Ripert said there is no structure to the gesture and that it can happen any time of the day on 25 June.
“You just take a glass and cheer Tony,” he said. “It could be someone in the morning with a coffee, raising their cup and saying ‘Cheers Tony’ or anything they want.”
In the video Ripert and Andrés did together they have asked that people take a photo of themselves or their group raising their glasses to Bourdain and then post it online under the hashtag “BourdainDay.”
Ripert will post his tribute to Bourdain early in the day on 25 June.
“I will be in Asia, so I’ll be doing it probably before anyone because I will be 12 hours ahead.”
Although Bourdain attended The Culinary Institute of America and worked as a chef for many years, he first became known for his bestselling 2000 book, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.”
He later starred in several television shows, but his last programme, “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” on CNN made him an international star. In that show, Bourdain travelled all over the world exploring different cuisines. However, the show was about the people in those places as much as it was about the food.
With that in mind, Ripert said there will be another tribute to Bourdain to celebrate his legacy in the culinary world.
“We reached out to the [Culinary Institute of America] because Tony graduated from that school and Tony had a lot of respect for the school,” Ripert said. “So, the CIA is creating a scholarship for young students to potentially be able to travel abroad and go work and visit other countries. At the same time, the CIA is going to name one of the main halls after Anthony Bourdain.”
Bourdain’s fans will have one other way to celebrate his life on his birthday, Ripert said. CNN will air a marathon of “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” on the day on 25 June.