Anthony Bourdain on Bay Area Food and Why He Didn't Get Vegetarianism

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Notes, photographs and flowers are left in memory of Anthony Bourdain at the closed location of Brasserie Les Halles, where Bourdain used to work as the executive chef, June 8, 2018 in New York City. Bourdain, a writer, chef and television personality, was found dead in his hotel room in France on Friday. His employer CNN confirmed the death as a suicide. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The death of writer, chef and host, Anthony Bourdain, on Friday has hit many people hard. Known for his quick, honest remarks and adventures in global cuisine, he helped change perceptions about local foods.

Author of the book "Kitchen Confidential" and host of CNN's "Parts Unknown," Bourdain was known for having an open mind when traveling, willing to eat everything from a still-beating cobra heart to a bowl of noodles. He wasn't going for the "wow" factor; the chef was just eager to try new things and experience local fare.

Appearing on KQED's Forum in 2002, Bourdain had some zingers, meditative moments and even fielded a call about animal rights. You can listen to the full interview here.

On eating adventurously while traveling: "I think hopefully people who travel come back with an enriched understanding of the world and their place in it, and how big and marvelous the world can be. I hope on balance that it's better to travel with an open mind and see the world than to stay at home and eat nothing but shrink-wrapped boneless stuff."

On perceptions of American cuisine: "The rest of the world have a dimly-perceived view of us as eating nothing but fast-food hamburgers diving into swimming pools full of ketchup."

On the food scene in San Francisco: "I think that's one of the things that's traditionally been good about San Francisco and the Bay Area. It was really one of the first places in America to get into that regional, artisanal heirloom thing. This is taken for granted in much of the rest of the world."


On homelessness in San Francisco: "I'm a New Yorker and the homeless situation is... it is troubling to me as I'm sure it's troubling to anyone with a heart and open eyes. I don't fully understand it. It seems to be lots of them and in terrible shape and, you know, I'm a New Yorker. It struck me."

On vegetarians (many of whom he encountered in the Bay Area): "It's expensive being a vegetarian. You're spending a lot of time buying expensive soy, dairy substitutes, which to me taste like spackle. And I just I don't understand it."

On a few of his favorite Bay Area restaurants: "I had a near religious food epiphany the other day. I found myself having a breakfast at Swan Oyster Depot sitting on a stool eating a chowder and crab and I thought, 'Oh this is it. This is just perfect.' "

"The meal I had at the French Laundry was the most impressive and ambitious restaurant meal I've ever sat down to."

A 2009 tweet from Bourdain about San Francisco had no replies until this week. Since his death, it's had an outpouring of replies and retweets.

Chefs and fans also took to social media to express their sadness over Bourdain's passing and share their memories of him.

His show, "Parts Unknown," will be airing a special on him on Saturday night.