Charleston episode of Parts Unknown to debut at Food Film Festival (copy)

A Charleston Riverdogs game photo posted on Anthony Bourdain’s Verified Twitter account in 2015.

Anthony Bourdain, who was reported dead by suicide this morning by CNN, first came to Charleston in 2007 to record an episode of No Reservations, his food travelogue on the Travel Channel that profiled different places with his signature mix of bravado and insight. 

During that visit to town, he first met chef Sean Brock, who at that point was locally celebrated at McCrady's but not yet the internationally known celebrity chef he would eventually become. 

Brock met Bourdain as I interviewed him at the Market Pavilion Hotel, and he came bearing a jar of White Lightning (a.k.a. moonshine) and a bit of fan-boy awkwardness. 

Bourdain's subsequent Charleston episode missed the mark for many local food industry vets, with champagne at an oyster roast and blessings at Jestine's. 

Fast forward to 2011 and Brock headed to Tokyo for Cook It Raw, an international event being covered by Bourdain and crew. The two bonded and became fast friends. You can see it happening on camera. 

In 2015, Bourdain returned to Charleston, to finally get it right with Brock as his guide for an episode of Parts Unknown, the CNN version of his travelogue show. It was an epic trek through Charleston with Bill Murray, Rodney Scott and Waffle House all making appearances.

Brock sent this statement about Bourdain's passing: "I will dearly miss my friend Anthony Bourdain. Whether it is mental illness, substance abuse, or anything else that may cause pain: suffering is not shameful and asking for help is not weakness. This serves as a reminder that just because people appear to be living a 'perfect' life, they may be struggling and need help. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we can’t take care of the ones we love. Every life is so incredibly valuable and equally as fragile."

A good reminder that there are resources available to those dealing with addiction and depression. The National Suicide Hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The food industry has begun rallying in recent years to help its own. Chefs With Issues is a good resource that can direct those suffering to help. 

Charleston's food community commisserated on social media with an outpouring of shock and sadness.

 

Follow Stephanie Barna on Twitter @stefbarna.