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Andrew Zimmern on How Anthony Bourdain’s Death Impacts ‘Bizarre Foods’

Andrew Zimmern Anthony Bourdain Bizarre Foods
Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain attend the Chase Sapphie Card Launch at Weather Room at Top of the Rock on October 22, 2009 in New York City. Ben Hider/Getty Images

Andrew Zimmern released a thoughtful and poignant statement when his friend and fellow chef Anthony Bourdain died on June 8, praising him for his “sagacity and insight.” And now, some nearly four weeks later, the Bizarre Foods host is reflecting on Bourdain’s death and what it means for Zimmern’s show and others like it.

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“I don’t feel an added weight,” the 57-year-old tells Us Weekly of how he now views Bizarre Foods in the absence of Bourdain and Parts Unknown, the show the late chef hosted on CNN. “I do what I do and I try to stay in my lane, and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and I’m going to keep staying in my lane.”

Still, that doesn’t mean the four-time James Beard Award-winning TV personality, who debuted a new season of Bizarre Foods on July 3, isn’t continuing to grieve the loss of his former colleague and pal. “I just feel really sad. There were very few voices out there speaking out for other cultures, the concept of the ‘other,’ the desire to make the invisible visible, and the underlying meaning of being a citizen on planet Earth,” Zimmern explains. “The things that Tony stood for, we’ve lost the loudest voice in our world for that, and there’s only a handful of us who do that kind of thing. It’s a small club.”

In fact, Zimmern admits with Bourdain gone he’s worried others will try and re-create Parts Unknown without the heart or outlook the Kitchen Confidential author brought to it. “My fear is that having realized how valuable he was now that he’s gone, that there’s some network out there ready to launch 30 Bourdain copycat shows with real idiots hosting them,” Zimmern tells Us. “That’s probably my biggest fear, which would be, I think, a setback to all the work that not only Tony did, but that I’m doing and that others are trying to do. That scares me because that’s something that’s very typically American.”

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Andrew Zimmern Bizarre Foods
Andrew Zimmern rides the last 200 miles of the Pony Express Trail in the latest season of Bizarre Foods. Travel Channel

“I know it sounds crass and almost craven to start talking about it just a few short weeks after his death,” Zimmern continues. “But I know the way these things work, and I know in some room somewhere, there’s people starting to scribble these things on a blackboard and game plan it and market it.”

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Bourdain was found dead at age 61 by famed chef Eric Ripert last month in a hotel room in France. His cause of death was suicide, and a French judicial official confirmed to The New York Times on June 22 that there were no narcotics found in his body at the time of death.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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