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Louisiana College to Offer Anthony Bourdain Class About the Chef’s Film, Literature Inspirations

Anthony Bourdain
Author/TV personality Anthony Bourdain visits Build to discuss the Balvenie's "Raw Craft" at Build Studio on October 30, 2017 in New York City. Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

One college in Louisiana is doing its part to keep Anthony Bourdain’s memory alive. Nicholls State University, which is in Thibodaux, will be offering a course during the Spring 2019 semester that examines Bourdain’s television projects through the lens of film and literature that influenced it.

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Created by the head of Nicholls State’s film studies program, Todd Kennedy, the course will look at how Bourdain’s various TV series – A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, and Parts Unknown – were informed by creative works or artists such as James Bond and Federico Fellini, who had an obvious influence on the black and white Rome episode of No Reservations that aired during the show’s sixth season.

More specifically, each class will revolve around an episode from one of Bourdain’s shows, which students will view in conjunction with a film or book that influenced said episode.

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The course description, which singles out Bourdain for having a “profound influence on contemporary food and travel writing,” states: “Almost every episode of Bourdain’s shows directly reference and/or pay homage to a major work of literature or film as he develops his own visual and narrative argument about culture, politics, food, art, and the interactions therein. This course will pair Bourdain’s work with the writings and films that influenced him, connecting ways of understanding the world around us through the lens of a transformative writer and public figure.”

Anthony Bourdain
Chef Anthony Bourdain from New York in Sydney, 17 March 2005. Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Kennedy, who has been tweeting up a storm about what students can expect from the course, told CNN that he got the idea for the class when he “started thinking about the way Bourdain encapsulates so much of everything we do in film studies, in English studies, in cultural studies and what I do for a living.”

And, since Bourdain, who died by suicide at the age of 61 in June, was a prolific creator of written work in his own right, students will also be tasked with reading his best-selling memoir, Kitchen Confidential.

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As Kennedy wrote of the rigorous course in a September 19 tweet, “While I’m excited, I’m leery. But I’m still glad I’m doing it.”

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