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Chef Edward Lee: Bourdain changed my life

Anthony Bourdain was universally adored for his writing, his wit and swagger, his bitter intelligence, his sarcasm an...

Posted: Jun 10, 2018 3:05 PM
Updated: Jun 10, 2018 3:05 PM

Anthony Bourdain was universally adored for his writing, his wit and swagger, his bitter intelligence, his sarcasm and his refreshingly honest vision of the world. It was as nuanced and tender as it was grim and sardonic. Tony gave us a world that we didn't know we needed. He gave us stories of people we didn't know we loved. He gave us the meat and the juice and never spared us the gristle, the cartilage and blood. He gave us his time and energy and thoughtfulness. He gave us a humanity we sometimes didn't deserve.

When I was a virtual nobody, he helped me -- with books, with TV, with advice, with a food documentary which, to this day, is the work I am most proud of. He was a complex person and the public will remember him in many varied ways. I will remember him as a kind man who wanted to help bring others into the light. A young chef, a struggling business, a food hawker, a musician, an activist or even a homeless person -- Tony's broad vision of humanity included them all. His influence was, and is, staggering.

I remember the first time I met him. My agent, Kim Witherspoon, called me to come to a charity function he was hosting, for The Bronx Letters Foundation (where Kim is on the board). It is a charity that provides financial support for extracurricular programming like a school newspaper, literary magazine, college visits and more for the Bronx Academy of Letters.

It was very dear to Tony. As soon as Kim introduced us, she got an emergency call and had to run out. Left alone with a star, I was nervous -- and whenever I get nervous, I start to prattle on with a story that goes on forever. The emcee called Tony to the stage to make a speech while I was still talking. He looked at me with his piercing eyes and said, "Hold that thought." I stood there, in jeans and a T-shirt amidst a crowd of tuxedos and gowns, for an eternity.

When the auction began later on, Tony was standing next to me. The first item up for bid was a scholarship for a young student in the Bronx trying to study in London. No one bid on it. The auctioneer started to beg. Tony stood there, vibrating with anger and cursing under his breadth at the "f*****g cheapskates."

No one else could hear him, but I could. He wasn't aiming his ire at me but I couldn't stand it anymore. I raised my hand. I think it was $5,000, or at least that's what I remember. I know I didn't have the money to spare. Tony looked at me with equal parts confusion and rage. He rushed back to the stage, ripped the mic out of the auctioneer's hand and yelled at the crowd for not opening their wallets when "this chef from Kentucky who clearly does not make a lot of money," just did.

I believe they raised a bunch of money that night. I never did get to finish that story I was telling Tony. I never did get to thank him for everything he has done for me and for the world -- for all of us who are curious and hungry and adventurous and wanting more out of this life than our day-to-day routine can provide. He gave that to us in spades.

In a distant future, when we look back at this era, at all its chatter and noise, we will dust off the infinite clutter of nonsense, and we will truly see Anthony Bourdain for what he was: a muse who showed us the best of what humankind can be.

In his honor, I will be making a charitable donation to The Bronx Letters Foundation. We will miss you dearly, Mr. Bourdain.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 581335

Reported Deaths: 7267
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1206301710
Ramsey50221865
Dakota44921441
Anoka40688432
Washington26275278
Stearns21864220
St. Louis17475302
Scott16941123
Wright15685135
Olmsted1308297
Sherburne1136784
Carver1029545
Clay806892
Rice7920104
Blue Earth736041
Crow Wing650687
Kandiyohi646681
Chisago579751
Otter Tail565877
Benton558897
Goodhue469972
Mower459432
Douglas458774
Winona447350
McLeod416558
Itasca416253
Morrison412660
Isanti407062
Nobles406348
Beltrami386258
Steele379115
Polk378567
Becker374049
Lyon356850
Carlton340152
Freeborn338929
Pine323321
Nicollet320243
Brown302740
Mille Lacs297252
Le Sueur284722
Todd277131
Cass264828
Meeker249638
Waseca234821
Martin227131
Roseau204519
Wabasha20293
Hubbard182941
Dodge18073
Renville177543
Redwood170636
Houston166915
Cottonwood161921
Fillmore153710
Pennington153219
Wadena152121
Chippewa151238
Faribault149419
Kanabec141824
Sibley140610
Aitkin132836
Watonwan12979
Rock126819
Jackson120911
Pipestone113626
Yellow Medicine113420
Pope10766
Murray10529
Swift103818
Stevens88011
Marshall87417
Clearwater85416
Koochiching80914
Lake80519
Wilkin79612
Lac qui Parle74822
Big Stone5924
Lincoln5723
Grant5638
Mahnomen5408
Norman5369
Unassigned51793
Kittson48222
Red Lake3947
Traverse3675
Lake of the Woods3173
Cook1550

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 364143

Reported Deaths: 5900
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57127619
Linn20675333
Scott19714239
Black Hawk15734307
Woodbury15078228
Johnson1438283
Dubuque13308207
Dallas1108797
Pottawattamie11021166
Story1052948
Warren571488
Clinton550792
Cerro Gordo534689
Sioux511674
Webster510892
Marshall480775
Muscatine472999
Des Moines450366
Wapello4278122
Buena Vista423940
Jasper412770
Plymouth399979
Lee371955
Marion360075
Jones296457
Henry290237
Carroll284352
Bremer282360
Crawford264140
Boone262334
Benton254955
Washington252250
Dickinson247343
Mahaska228850
Jackson220642
Clay214625
Kossuth214564
Tama208871
Delaware208040
Winneshiek196333
Page191921
Buchanan190331
Cedar188623
Hardin184443
Fayette184341
Wright183136
Harrison179073
Hamilton178949
Clayton168456
Butler163734
Mills161321
Madison159719
Floyd159442
Cherokee158338
Lyon157541
Poweshiek154533
Allamakee150251
Iowa147924
Hancock146534
Winnebago140631
Cass137654
Grundy136032
Calhoun135313
Emmet133040
Jefferson132135
Shelby130337
Sac129819
Appanoose127847
Louisa127849
Union127332
Mitchell125642
Chickasaw123515
Guthrie120629
Humboldt118726
Franklin116221
Palo Alto112123
Howard104122
Montgomery102437
Unassigned9990
Clarke99324
Keokuk95431
Monroe95028
Ida90234
Adair86032
Pocahontas85422
Monona82830
Davis81324
Osceola77716
Greene77310
Lucas76823
Worth7338
Taylor65612
Fremont6209
Decatur6059
Van Buren55618
Ringgold54424
Wayne53123
Audubon5009
Adams3374
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