Gladys opened up about Anthony’s legacy in a phone interview with Today on Monday, June 11, and revealed that she last spoke to the iconic chef on Mother’s Day on May 13. Gladys learned of Anthony’s passing from her younger son, Christopher. She added that Anthony, a “lover of people of all kinds,” showed no signs that something was wrong.
During the interview, Gladys also shared a sweet story about Anthony’s introduction to the culinary world. While on summer vacation from Vassar College, he worked as a dishwasher in Provincetown, Massachusetts, but later tried his hand at cooking.
“The thing is, he came back form his first summer in Provincetown as a dishwasher and then one of the cooks burned himself or cut himself so badly he had to stop work and Tony, who had just been observing, filled in,” Gladys recalled. “And when he came back at the end of the summer, we talked about it and since he had so little interest in his college career, I suggested the Culinary Institute [of America] and that’s how it all started.”
After graduating from the Institute in 1978, Anthony went on to work for several restaurants and authored many books about his culinary endeavors. Gladys spoke fondly of her son’s writing ventures to Today, noting that he had an “incredible vocabulary” and his second grade teacher wanted to move him to a private school because he had surpassed so many of his peers in reading.
As his career progressed, Anthony documented his love for food on television, his most recent project being the CNN special series, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
“He didn’t disguise anything or take on any act of persona,” Gladys said of Anthony, who had been open about his personal and financial struggles during his life. “He was who he was and it was out there for everyone to see.”
The world was left in a state of shock when Anthony was found dead in his hotel room in France on Friday, June 8, during a day off from filming Parts Unknown. Gladys spoke out about his death via an interview with The New York Times later on Friday.
“He is absolutely the last person in the world I would ever have dreamed would do something like this,” Gladys, a longtime editor at the newspaper, explained, later noting that her son “had been in a dark mood these couple of days” but she never thought he would take his own life.
“He had everything,” she continued. “Success beyond his wildest dreams. Money beyond his wildest dreams.”
French authorities confirmed on Saturday, June 9, that there was no evidence of foul play or violence in the chef’s death.
After news of Anthony’s death made headlines, CNN released a statement honoring their former employee. “It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement to Us on Friday. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
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