The new book World Travel: An Irreverent Guide is credited to Anthony Bourdain. But it was not really written by the bestselling author, chef and TV personality who died in 2018.
World Travel: An Irreverent Guide was assembled by one of Bourdain’s associates, Laurie Woolever, based entirely on his previous writings and an hourlong interview conducted shortly before his death. Bourdain had collaborated with Woolever on 2016’s Appetites: A Cookbook, and this project was conceived of shortly thereafter, she says, with the intent to spotlight some of Bourdain’s favorite places around the globe.
Given the dearth of original writing by Bourdain himself, World Travel contains a handful of tributary essays, by the likes of Bourdain’s brother Christopher, music producer Steve Albini, and Nari Kye, who worked as a production manager on Bourdain’s TV show, No Reservations. She describes, in her essay, how her former boss profoundly changed her life.
“The South Korea episode of No Reservations started as a joke,” she writes. “At the end of Season 1, I said, ‘We’re all going to eat Korean barbecue, and drink lots of soju.’ I got us a huge table in Manhattan’s K-town, and Tony came. We went outside to smoke, and in my drunken soju haze, I said, ‘Tony, you have to swear you’re going to Korea.’ And he said, ‘Of course. And you have to come with me.’ ”
What happened after that drunken conversation was not a joke, Kye says.