Local chefs weigh-in on TV host Anthony Bourdain’s death

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. – The death of well-known chef, author, and television host Anthony Bourdain death rocked the culinary world Friday morning.

Chefs in the St. Louis food scene are taking the loss to heart. Many of them have been expressing their grief on social media and just within their own circle.

Qui Tran of Mai Lee’s Restaurant said he feels Bourdain’s time spent in the kitchen gave voice and validation to just about every chef’s chosen profession.

“He helped me realize that being a cook was cool,” said Tran. “He’s helped create foodies where people aren’t afraid to go out and try the jellyfish salad here or they are not afraid to try ramen.”

Chef Ben Poremba said that usually he’s not affected by celebrity deaths, but this one especially comes as a shock and disbelief. Poremba said not only did he admire Bourdain’s love for food and cooking, but also his honesty.

“He was very real and treated people with a lot of respect and really made a connection with everyone and someone to look up to,” he said.

Poremba and Tran, along with several other area top chefs, hope Bourdain’s death will bring awareness to the issue of mental health.

“The biggest thing to take away is to talk to somebody,” said Tran. “Talk to your neighbor, talk to the strong one. Talk to the weak one, talk to the creative one.”

“Sometimes maybe we just need to take a step back and tell our employees and fellow cooks that we care about them,” said Poremba.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or the Crisis Text Line by texting 741741.