Chicago remembers Anthony Bourdain

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Food fans from around the world and here in Chicago are mourning the shocking suicide death of Anthony Bourdain. (WLS)

Food fans from around the world and here in Chicago are mourning the shocking suicide death of Anthony Bourdain, a world-class chef with an every-man sensibility. Bourdain was found dead in his France hotel room Friday. He was 61.

The gifted storyteller had strong ties to Chicago.

It's no secret Anthony Bourdain had a love for this city. He came to Chicago for shows multiple times and was even at the Chicago Theater back in 2010.

Now, those who knew and loved him in Chicago are remembering Bourdain and mourning his loss.

"They've got a very low tolerance for any kind of nonsense or pretense or putting on airs," said Bourdain of Chicagoans. "It's a great food town."

Anthony Bourdain had an affinity for Chicago. And the city had the same for him.

"I'm always surprised by Chicago," he said. "How just no nonsense they are. How they kind of take things as they are."

Bourdain was at the ABC7 State Street studios on Windy City Live just a few years ago.

On that trip it's likely he came to one of his main Chicago haunts, the Old Town Ale House. Bourdain's faded picture plastered along the windows as a badge of honor.

"I don't think there's any doubt that he was fascinated by Chicago and Chicagoans," said Ale House manager Bruce Elliott.

Elliott is heartbroken. He never expected his friend to take his own life.

"Nobody is going to come along and replace him, that's for sure," Elliott said. "He's a unique, once in a lifetime person."

Elliott is left with a haunting memory of his last in-person conversation with Bourdain following a film shoot at the Lily Pool near Lincoln Park Zoo.

"I said, 'You know Anthony, everybody envies you. I don't. I know what you're doing. I know how hard you're working,'" Elliott said. "He says, 'I don't know. I'm running. I don't know what I'm running away from.' He couldn't stop. He just couldn't sit still."

Outside of the Ale House, a small memorial beings with a single white rose saying, "Rest in Peace Anthony."

"For somebody that you would think would have it all, the freedom to travel, to do exactly what he loved, it's just shocking that you'd come to that point," fan Jerry Petrow said.
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Food fans from around the world and here in Chicago are mourning the shocking suicide death of Anthony Bourdain.



For millions of viewers Bourdain was their passport to the good life, making the exotic seem familiar and drawing cultural connections around a table and plates of food.

Bourdain was a kingmaker in the Chicago culinary world. Business began booming after his visit to Calumet Fisheries on the Southeast Side.

"It aired on like a Monday night and the next day of course we got phone calls," said manager Carlos Roses. "We had people lined out the door ready to come in before we even opened."

Another Chicago-based friend of Bourdain, Chicago Tribune food and dining reporter Louisa Chu is mourning as well.

"This is a disease and it can happen to anyone," Chu said.

She remembers her friend and his time in the city fondly.

"(There was) simplicity and the honesty that he found here that he wasn't able to find in a lot of other places in the world," she said.

Chicago culinary leaders like Stephanie Izard remembered Bourdain, saying, "I will always admire him and be thankful I got to spend a little time with him."

And world leaders like President Obama tweeted his condolences as well.



"Even in someone who's got a very successful career and what, to the outside world looks to be a good life, inside was something he felt was an unendurable pain," said Northwestern Medicine Chief Psychologist Dr. Marc Reinecke.

Reinecke says if you want to help someone in need, offer them hope.

"Offer them a sense of hope that there's solutions, they can get through this, the pain isn't unendurable," he said.

Anthony Bourdain's last 'Parts Unknown' episode in Chicago

Anthony Bourdain filmed his last Chicago episode of CNN's ''Parts Unknown'' in 2015.

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Chef, author and television host, Anthony Bourdain, stops by the Windy City LIVE studio to chat about his latest endeavor.


The second episode of Season 7 aired in the spring of 2016, and focused on Chicago's food offerings well beyond deep-dish pizza. In fact, it did not even profile deep-dish, hot dogs, or Italian beef - the staples most tourists seek out.

In the episode, Bourdain starts by visiting the Old Town Ale House, which was the inspiration for the episode thanks to Bourdain's love of owner Bruce Cameron Elliott's blog "Geriatric Genius." Bourdain went on to try the breaded steak sandwiches at Ricobene's with music producer Steve Albini, ate Mapo Doufu at Chinatown's Sze Chuan with Stephanie Izard, and had a home cooked meal with Chicago rapper Lupe Fiasco and his mom. And he took a tour of Second City with performer Paul Jurewicz.



Bourdain spoke with CNN in April of 2016 ahead of the episode's airing. He talked about how special this city is, compared to other cities he stayed in.

"You wake up in Chicago, pull back the curtain and you KNOW where you are. You could be nowhere else. You are in a big, brash, muscular, broad-shouldered mother****in' city," Bourdain said.

Around that time, he also stopped by our Windy City Live studios after teaming up with The Balvenie single malt Scotch whisky, produced by the family-owned William Grant & Sons company in Scotland.
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Chef, author and television host, Anthony Bourdain, stops by the Windy City LIVE studio to chat about his latest endeavor.



He compared Chicago to Glasgow, Scotland, for it's "working-class ethos and history."
At the time, Bourdain hosted "Raw Craft," a video series for The Balvenie which featured a behind-the-scenes look inside the shops of American craftsmen and women.

The chef also curated The Balvenie 2015 Rare Craft Collection, which consisted of hand-picked craftsmen and women across the United States.

"Raw Craft" short films can be viewed at www.RawCraft.us.

Bourdain called Chicago a "big-hearted but cold-blooded machine with millions of moving parts -- a beast that will, if disrespected or not taken seriously, roll over you without remorse."
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