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Remembering Anthony Bourdain. Aired 3-3:30a ET
Aired June 9, 2018 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): -- his own path.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: I was in my office, it was about 4:45 am, I was getting ready for "NEW DAY," which goes on the air at 6 o'clock. I had my back to the door and I heard my door shut.
I turned around and my boss, Jeff Zucker, was standing there, looking passionate and he says, I have to tell you something, no one else knows but we're going to have to report this.
And he says, "Anthony Bourdain is dead."
I was shocked. I think I actually screamed, "No!"
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: We have some terribly sad news to report this morning, heartbreaking and devastating.
BRIAN STELTER, CNN SENIOR MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Once we were sure all of us gotten the numbers had been notified that's when we went on the air with the news.
BERMAN: World renowned chef, bestselling author, award winning host of "PARTS UNKNOWN" and our friend, Anthony Bourdain has died.
STELTER: Anthony was found dead this morning in his hotel room in France. He had hung himself in his hotel room.
POPPY HARLOW, CNN HOST: The idea that he was suffering somehow is really heartbreaking.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Honestly, it hurt to even talking about him in the past tense at this point, it's a, it's really -- yes, it's really hard to -- hard to imagine. I mean, you never know what goes on in anybody's head and you never really know what goes on anyone's heart. But certainly, you know, the pain he must have been feeling, at least in that moment or in those moments and the loneliness he must be feeling it's just terribly sad to think about. And makes me very sad for him to have -- to have succumbed to that.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN HOST: Somebody as vital, as passionate, as alive, as warm as human as Tony Bourdain, I could not imagine, A, that he was gone and B, that he was gone in this manner. That he took his own life at this time in our history. It's left a massive hole in, I think our world.
COOPER: I lost a brother to suicide, so, I know the shock that people feel, I mean, the shock that loved ones feel. And it's something that I have thought about for 30 years and I don't have any answers about why somebody does it.
STELTER: Anthony's life changed in 1999, that's when he wrote his famous article for "The New Yorker," "Don't Eat before Reading This."
He was letting us all inside the kitchen, revealing the secrets of the chef world of the restaurant world. And it quickly became a book, "Kitchen Confidential." Now that came in 2000 but we're still talking about it 18 years later and that's what led to the food network to Discovery Channel and to CNN.
ANTHONY BOURDAIN, FORMER CNN HOST: This is a world of fresh, delicious, spicy, meaty, salty, sour, sweet dinner.
STELTER: "PARTS UNKNOWN" started on CNN in 2013 and it was like a bolt of lightning.
BOURDAIN: The most vital thing, giver of life, sticky rice.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I said, Anthony Bourdain on CNN, what the hell is that about, right?
I didn't quite get it at first. I was like, we don't do, that's not what CNN does. And then he did it and I got it. And then I said this is guy is genius. He's brilliant.
BOURDAIN: Now what's the famous greeting, is it have you eaten or have you had rice?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's both. Literally it means have you eaten rice yet, but what it really means is, how's it going.
LEMON: I thought that he was a better journalist than many of us ever could be. Because it came to him naturally. It was just curiosity.
And isn't that really what being a journalist is all about, being curious?
AMANPOUR: When he brought "PARTS UNKNOWN" to CNN and I interviewed him about what his mission was. He basically says, I want to go to familiar and less familiar places to tell the American people about all these places but through the medium that they'll be able to relate to. So, food.
Everyone can relate to food, right?
So he was also telling about culture and politics and history and the geography, but through food.
BOURDAIN: Welcome to Shanghai province. Tucked up near the borders of Burma, China, Laos, India not too far away, all of them have left their mark on the food.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: That episode that I love --
BOLDUAN: -- was his episode about Pittsburgh, just because he's saying, Anthony Bourdain, "PARTS UNKNOWN," travels the world.
And he's going to Pittsburgh, right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gene, Uncle Gene, this is Anthony Bourdain.
BOURDAIN: How do you do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One hundred three years old, 103 years old.
BOURDAIN: Looking good.
BOLDUAN: But he's awesome. He talked about social issues, the boom and bust of industry and how automation has left cities behind.
BOURDAIN: The money is definitely coming in.
Is it lifting all the boats?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it is not.
BOLDUAN: I mean, so the episode in talking about the reemerging food scene in Pittsburgh was little about the food and more about society and people and people down on their luck and how they fight their way back up.
BOURDAIN: What did you decide to say?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wanted to cook.
BOLDUAN: And the economy then that leads to government policy and everything in between.
BOURDAIN: A lot of people in this country are angry, they feel that their anger is not being acknowledged in any way and, frankly, I think they're right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
BOLDUAN: And that's all encompassed and just an episode of "PARTS UNKNOWN." It's a rare talent to be able to put it all together. BERMAN: For me, the word that best describes Tony is passion. He just felt so much passion for what he did and what he saw. I don't think he ever had no opinion on something. It wasn't like, whatever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Benjamin Bridge is there about an immense ocean (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, gentlemen, cheers to the queen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate the aristocracy, man.
COOPER: He was actually as you see on television. You know, he was funny, he was sarcastic, he had a dark sense of humor. He loved nothing more than, if you went out to meals with him or if I went out to meals with him, he enjoyed getting me to eat bizarre foods that I would never in a million years eat because I have the palate of a 5- year old.
COOPER: This is tripe.
BOURDAIN: What is tripe?
COOPER: Tripe is one of those words that I know means something else--
BOURDAIN: It means good. It means good.
COOPER: Is it like brains or the penis of a shark or a...?
BOURDAIN: No, no, not that good. It's the stomach lining of the cow.
COOPER: He loved cinema, he loved the music and all of that was incorporated in these travel journeys that he would produce. I actually end up taking trips to places he had been because I want -- I went to Tandoori after he had done an episode in Tandoori because I thought, wow that was interesting, I wanted to see what he saw.
CUOMO: One day, Tony and I were sitting off stage, waiting for a segment to happen.
And he looked at me and he said, so, what are you about, what is your passion?
And I said, fighting. I love to fight.
And his eyes -- I remember he had these hooded eyes -- and it went like this and he had recently found BJJ, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. And he loved it, he loved it so much.
BOURDAIN: Every morning, every morning at 7:00 am, I'm here. And for the next hour or two hours or sometimes more, I'm just getting crushed.
CUOMO: The most recent conversation I had with him was not too long ago. He had said, you know what I love about it, the struggle. I love the struggle. I love trying to figure out how to get out of this and what to do next. And that struggle, no matter how much you think that's it, I'm going to have to tap out, I find a way out of it, I love it.
STELTER: Anthony earned practically every award you can earn in the TV industry. Five Emmy awards just for "PARTS UNKNOWN". Dozens of other nominations. The Peabody in 2013 one of the most prestigious awards in television was presented on his first year on CNN.
BOURDAIN: We ask very simple questions.
What makes you happy?
What do you eat?
What do you like to cook?
And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions, we tend to get some really astonishing answers.
STELTER: I've been getting e-mails from viewers all day saying, they feel like they've lost a friend, because they felt that connection with him through the television.
BOLDUAN: Whenever we've taped, I would always like yell back at him, in my next life, I'm coming back as Anthony Bourdain.
And he'd look at me and be like, OK, good luck with that one.
But I think that's why -- that is not unique to me, right, everybody wanted to be a little bit of Anthony Bourdain. You know, over- liquored, overfed, traveling the world, having fun, connecting with people and getting paid to do it.
BOURDAIN: O, enchanted land of my childhood, a cultural Petri dish from which regularly issues forth greatness. New Jersey, in case you didn't know it, has got beaches, beautiful beaches. And they're not all crawling with 'roid-raging trolls with reality shows. I grew up summering on these beaches and they are awesome.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: You know, he just was a regular person, you know, in his regular jeans, in his regular shirt. He had no pretension, he had no interest in pretension and it was one of the most compelling and endearing things about him.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: He was somebody who was actually introverted and just happened to have this very public job of being on television and being in the public eye. JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: It was interesting, because he was such a dichotomy. He was, you know, this swashbuckling, larger-than-life character, who was very good-looking, you know, women loved and men wanted to be -- and -- and yet he was always kind of -- to me, it always seemed like -- even though he was very confident or seemed very confident, he was always, I think -- he was always kind of just winking at it all.
That there was -- he was kind of all in on the joke, that it didn't really mean anything, that we're all humble, we're all fragile.
BOURDAIN: Jersey's got farmland, beautiful bedroom communities, where that woman from "Real Housewives" who looks like Dr. Zaius, does not live there or anyone like her. Even the refineries, the endless clover leaves of turnpikes and expressways twisting in unknowable patters over the wetlands, to me, somehow beautiful. To know Jersey is to love her.
CAMEROTA: You know, I'm a Jersey girl, so I watch that had with rapt attention of what he was going to bring to life in New Jersey from his hometown.
TAPPER: He had humble beginnings, he came from the Jersey shore. But I think it was also the fact that he had such a rough life in his 20s and you know, in retrospect was amazed that he had survived his 20s that he didn't die then. That, I think, must have gotten him in touch with humanity of not just himself but of everyone.
BOURDAIN: There's nothing like the North Atlantic. It's majestic. Yes, I love the beach. Pretty much had my first everything on the beach. You name it, first time I did it, beach. I was miserable in love, happy in love ultimately, as only a 17-year old could be. This is where I lived, very happy summer in the early '70s.
BERMAN: He drops out of Vassar, he goes to the culinary institute. He had such vivid stories about working in these kitchens in Provincetown.
BOURDAIN: It was here all the way out at the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown, Massachusetts, where the pilgrims first landed. And it was where I first landed, 1972, washed into town with a head full of orange sunshine and a few friends.
Provincetown, a wonderland of tolerance, long-time tradition of accepting artists, writer, the badly behaved, gay, the different. It was paradise.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all did drugs, acted young and crazy. And, Tony, he was probably wild and some not as wild as others.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: He was willing to show us all sides of his amazing life, the good, the bad and the ugly. We learned from him in the process.
AMANPOUR: Tony came raw to the picture. He came with his history of his own demons. He didn't hide that he had these terrible problems with alcohol, with heroin and yet, that's what made him so relatable.
BERMAN: Tony always owned his struggles and one of them was drugs and heroin which was something that largely it was a 1980s thing for him and he worked through.
BOURDAIN: I know what the life of somebody who wakes up in the morning and their first odd of business is get heroin. Having been through it myself, you know, going to a meeting of addicts. You know, I -- they had something to say to me and I had something to say to them.
COOPER: There was a vulnerability to him, I mean, as cool as he was, there was a vulnerability to him that he would -- he would expose.
BOURDAIN: I'll tell you something really shameful about myself. The first time I shot out, I looked at myself in the mirror with a big grin. You know, something was missing in me, whether it was a self- image situation, whether it was a character flaw.
You know, that stable family in the suburbs, you know, I had a lot of advantages. There was some dark genie inside me, that I really much hesitate to call a disease, that led me to dope. You know, I didn't have anyone else who could have talked me --
BOURDAIN: -- out of what I was doing. But intervention wouldn't have worked. I didn't have a child. I have a 7-year-old daughter now, who I never would have had, I never would have thought.
I looked in the mirror and I saw somebody worth saving or that I wanted to at least try real hard and save. You know, anybody could find themselves very easily in this situation.
And you know I look back and I think about, you know, I think about what I'll tell my daughter. You know, that was Daddy. No doubt about it. But I hope I'll be able to say that was Daddy then and this is Daddy now. And I'm alive and living in hope.
AMANPOUR: He brought to CNN something that very few others had brought and that was a sense of knowing who he was, of not being afraid of saying who he was. Of not being afraid to relate his foibles, his weaknesses as well as his strengths and his unique ability to tell stories. He brought all that to people.
STELTER: He was really exploring the human condition. He was really talking about what it means to be human and what we all share all around the world. Obviously, we all share a need to eat, but he was going so much further talking about what we all have in common and what connects us.
BOURDAIN: I come to a fact that in an earlier life, you know, I'm probably responsible for one dead Colombian, you know, due to my lifestyle in the '80s that there was a real effect on the ground.
BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: How does that deal with you? BOURDAIN: I question the drug -- I came back from it questioning the
usefulness of the drug war.
BALDWIN: And I asked him about his own -- his own life and his own drug use, which he's talked about, he's been so candid about it for years. I almost caught him off guard. I just remember his response was something to the effect of, he wondered if his own drug use from years ago, really heavy drug use contributed to the death of someone in the drug trade in Colombia or beyond. And he was so serious about it.
I don't want to say it almost felt like it still haunted him but it was something he was aware of as one of his past demons.
BOURDAIN: My drug addiction I hope, it's not the most interesting part of my life. In fact, I don't find it particularly interesting at all. But there it is. It is part of my life, it changed me and it allowed me to, I think better understand some things about life, about myself and what I'm capable of doing.
And it's given me a certain, on one end, empathy for some people and a complete lack of empathy for others. That's something I felt I should talk about. I see this particular moment as a clear example of how we might change our drug policies and I thought you should know why it matters to me. It's that simple.
CAMEROTA: I think he did everybody a real service by talking about his own addiction and how much he struggled with heroin and cocaine. I think that again, the more that we can talk about these really hard subjects the more it removes the stigma.
And to know that he had overcome those things I think is inspirational. I think it gives everybody hope, you know, to know they can overcome something really hard.
And that is why the pain of this, I think is doubly compounded, because he had overcome, it seemed, some demons in the past. And I guess that doesn't make you bulletproof.
BLITZER: You know, I didn't know him well enough to know -- but to know if he was still haunted by it but I'm sure it never leaves you. When you go through that kind of experience it's always going to be there.
You fight it, you deal with it, you move on. And I always thought he did an amazing job in moving on. And in the process, helping all of us move on.
AMANPOUR: He was so real and so authentic and in the end, maybe he was too real for his own self. I think the real thing to know about Tony Bourdain was that he was a deeply, deeply human being, he was a giant talent, he was a unique voice but he was deeply human.
When people came to sit down to watch "PARTS UNKNOWN" they knew they were going to get something different even it was about a place they knew, even if it wasn't a part unknown to them. LEMON: His stories weren't about food.
LEMON: Food was a conduit. It was a thing that drew you in. And once you were drawn in it was about the experience, it was about the connection, it was about his interaction -- his interactions with people.
TAPPER: It was the Obama White House who reached out to CNN and I put them in touch with Bourdain. They wanted -- I mean, that's who Anthony Bourdain was, Obama wanted to go have food with him, not really the other way around.
BURNETT: Anthony's point of view is basically, you know, I don't want some fancy state dinner, I don't want -- you know, it's got to be the scooter and the whole thing. And he got it his way.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good to see you.
BOURDAIN: Good to see you. Mr. President, how do you like Vietnam?
OBAMA: I love it.
BURNETT: And Anthony sat for him, while the Secret Service were, you know, apparently very cool, they were freaking out because they couldn't taste test the food they couldn't do anything, but Obama had no problem coming in and eating the local food and having a beer.
BOURDAIN: How often do you get to sneak out for a beer?
OBAMA: Very rarely. First of all, I don't get to sneak out, period, but once in a while, I'll take Michelle out on a date night. The problem is, part of enjoying a restaurant is sitting with other patrons and enjoying the atmosphere. And too often we end up getting shut into one of those private rooms in the back.
BOURDAIN: Well, I'm glad I could help and --
BERMAN: Tony asked the president, do you ever just get to sort of do this?
To sit down and chill and have a beer?
Which was a great question to ask.
BOURDAIN: We seem to be at a point where we're turning inwards, I mean we're actually talking about building a wall around our country. And yet you have been reaching out to people who don't necessarily agree with this.
Gaza, Iran, Cuba, I mean, I just wish that more Americans had passports. You can see how other people live, seems useful at worse and incredibly pleasurable and interesting at best.
OBAMA: It confirms the basic truth that people everywhere are pretty much the same, the same hopes and dreams. When you come to people like Vietnam and you see former American Vietnam vets coming back.
When you see somebody like a John Kerry or John McCain, two very different people politically and temperamentally but -- who were able to bond in their experience of meeting with their former adversaries and you don't make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.
BOURDAIN: As the father of a young girl, is it all going to be OK, is it all going to wake up?
My daughter will be able to come here in five years, 10 years, should be able to have a bowl of bun cha and the world would be a better place?
OBAMA: Yes. I mean, I think progress is not a straight line. You know, there are going to be moments at any given part of the world where things are terrible. But, having said all that, I think they are going to work out.
BOURDAIN: Thank you so much. Cheers.
BERMAN: There aren't a lot of chefs who get to sit down and interview the President of the United States. But the reason I think that President Obama wanted to sit down with Tony in Vietnam had nothing to do with the food. It was the talk about, again, life.
COOPER: Anthony interviewed a guy named Boris Nemtsov, in an episode he did in Russia and who was a critic of the regime.
TAPPER: He was really good at picking people who were in the crosshairs of bad guys.
BOURDAIN: So, we were supposed to be dining at another restaurant this evening and when they heard you would be joining me, we were uninvited. Should I be concerned about having dinner with you?
BORIS NEMTSOV, FORMER RUSSIAN DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER: This is a country of corruption. And if you have business you are in a very unsafe situation. Everybody can press you and destroy your business. That's it. This is a system.
BOURDAIN: Meet Boris Nemtsov. He was a deputy prime minister under Yeltsin and today he's one of Putin's most vocal critics.
This restaurant was kind enough to take us in. But the chef is a Brit, so maybe he has less reason to worry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First course, gentlemen.
BOURDAIN: Critics of the government, critics of Putin, bad things seem to happen to them. Litvinenko case, a known enemy of Putin, speaking with the radioactive polonium, are you concerned?
NEMTSOV: Me, about myself?
BOURDAIN: Yes. You were a pain in the ass.
NEMTSOV: Tony, I was born here 54 years ago. This is my country. Russian people are in a bit of very big trouble, Russian court doesn't work. Russian education decline every year. And I believe that Russia has a chance to be free. There is a chance. It's difficult but we must do it.
COOPER: Nemtsov ended up getting assassinated shortly after. So, you know, he, Anthony was not shying away in any way from serious political issues in a place. I mean, he embraced all those things.
TAPPER: The idea that Bourdain would have met with Boris Nemtsov in Russia before Nemtsov was killed, that's what Bourdain was doing, was looking to tell stories of humanity and oppression.
BALDWIN: I remember asking Tony Bourdain, what would be the bucket list locations to a guy whose been around the world five times?
And he said Iran. And then, lo and behold, several seasons later, there he was.
BLITZER: He was interviewing "The Washington Post" reporter at the time, Jason Rezaian, and his wife.
BOURDAIN: The official attitude towards fun in general seems to be ever shifting, is it even a good idea?
JASON REZAIAN, TEHRAN BUREAU CHIEF, "THE WASHINGTON POST": There's a lot of security, lots of rules, there are a lot of people in place to make sure you do the right thing and not do the wrong thing. But a lot of push and pull, lot of give and take.
BOURDAIN: Do you like it -- are you happy here?
REZAIAN: Look, I'm in a point now after five years where I miss certain things about home. I miss my buddies, I miss burritos, I miss having certain beverages with my buddies and burritos at certain type of establishments. But I love it. I love it and I hate it, you know? But it's home. It's become home.
BOURDAIN: Are you optimistic about the future?
YEGANEH SALEHI, JASON REZAIAN'S WIFE: Yes, especially if there's no clear then finally happens, yes, very much actually.
COOPER: Shortly after, Jason was arrested by the regime and held. And I remember interviewing Anthony actually about Jason. And you know, Anthony was trying to speak out forcefully on Jason's behalf.
BOURDAIN: These are two lovely blameless people who are not deserving of this -- of this fate.
COOPER: It was interesting to see Anthony often winding up kind of in the epicenter of, you know, serious political situations.
BLITZER: And I also loved the episode where he went to Jerusalem, went to Israel, met with Palestinians, met with the Israelis and brought us a unique point of that -- that situation. That was very powerful.
LEMON: Any story that we sit on television and argue about and have these heated discussions about, all you have to do is interject some food and wine or whatever into it and a table it and it becomes much more civilized.
MICHAL BARANES, OWNER, MAJDA RESTAURANT: Fried zucchini with mint.
YOTAM OTTOLENGHI, CHEF AND AUTHOR: And the apricots, the little sweet apricots we had.
BOURDAIN: It's really intensely delicious.
Are you hopeful?
BARANES: Of course. I have my children. I need to see them.
YAAKOV BARHUM, OWNER, MAJDA RESTAURANT: I respect her religion. She respects my religion and my family. And together we can build something for our kids, our future country. That's what we think and that's what we give the message for our customers.
OTTOLENGHI: Part of the attraction of this restaurant, the fact that it actually manages to do what not so many chefs try to do here and that is sort of mix your Jewish ethnicity or background with Arab food.
LEMON: What he did, even better than people who went to school for journalism, was that he educated you and he took you on a journey with him and we all went along for the ride.
BOURDAIN: What do I do?
Every show, I'm not going to say it's a formula, but the basic structure is guy go someplace, eat a bunch of food and comes back, OK?
That's what I do every time. This is not a food show, but there's food. This is not a travel show, but there's travel. I don't know what it is.
STELTER: Anthony used food, it was a -- it was a way to start a conversation. But his shows, his life, he was really exploring the human condition.