Earlier this month, restaurant industry icon, Anthony Bourdain, committed suicide in France.
The late chef, who was born in New York but grew up in the New Jersey suburb of Leonia, touched many lives in the industry at both a national and international level. Bourdain’s death was a shock to his family, friends, peers, colleagues, and fans everywhere. Those who mourned him made a memorial at the restaurant he served as executive chef for eight years— Brasserie Les Halles.
This week, a resolution was introduced by Democratic New Jersey Assemblyman Paul Moriarty to establish the “Anthony Bourdain Food Trail” in his honor, as reported by The Associated Press.
Bourdain dedicated a 2015 episode of his CNN show “Parts Unknown” to visiting ten eateries, with most scattered throughout South Jersey, including: Hiram’s Roadstand in Fort Lee, Knife & Fork in Atlantic City and Lucille’s Country Cooking in Barnegat.
“Even after international fame, [Bourdain] never forgot his Jersey roots. Each episode, Bourdain brought his homegrown wit, charm, and sense of humanity to his viewers,” Moriarty said in a statement, as reported by The Inquirer. “He became a New Jersey food icon.”
In New York, Bourdain’s death inspired Xi’an Famous Foods’ CEO, Jason Wang, to donate earnings from June 8 to a Suicide Hotline as announced in the company's Facebook page.
Wang’s original Chinese restaurant in Flushing, Queens had been featured in the celebrity chef’s Travel Channel series “No Reservations” (2007) and since his visit, the business became very successful. Now, Xi’an Famous Foods can be found throughout New York City in one of its dozen locations.
Wang attributes his family's ability to achieve the American Dream to Anthony Bourdain’s endorsement.
"I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream," Wang wrote in the company's Facebook page.
"I'm just calling out good food like it is, that's all," Bourdain humbly replied to Wang.
Three days later, Xi’an Famous Foods reported it was “able to raise $73,509.76 (net sales) to donate to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’ to help their work in suicide prevention,” Wang had written in an update of the same Facebook post.
Bourdain's absence has certainly left a hole in the food world with one of it's leading voices gone.
As Foodable previously reported, "his suicide, along with fashion designer's Kate Spade suicide... has brought attention to the rising suicide rates in the U.S."