Remembering Anthony Bourdain in Buffalo

Jun 8, 2018

The suicide of celebrity food writer and chef Anthony Bourdain on Friday may sound an alarm bell and inspire some to consider killing themselves, says the coordinator of Erie County's suicide prevention coalition. But it also might lessen the stigma of talking about suicidal thoughts and seeking help. 

"We are always concerned when we hear about high profile suicides,'" says Dr. Celia Spacone, PhD. 

Spacone is one of several mental health experts who will appear in a WBFO Facebook Live discussion on Tuesday, June 12, at 1 p.m.  

Bourdain's suicide comes just days after designer Kate Spade was also found dead by her own hand, according to the New York City Police Department.  The designer who built a billion-dolar brand of luxury handbags was found in her Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan on Tuesday. 

CNN reported today that Bourdain, the chef-turned-TV-star  died in France while working on an episode of "Parts Unknown." The network said the cause of death was suicide.

"It brings the whole topic to everyone's mind," Spacone tells WBFO. "It can be positive in that people start talking about it ... because it reduces some of the stigma. There is the understanding that anyone can have thoughts of suicide."

She cautions that in some cases after celebrity suicides, there is a spike in average people who carry it out. 

"We need to be having a discussion amongst ourselves to look at who might be at high risk.. a friend, a neighbor, a family member. Listen to the pain they are experiencing and help them get help," she says. 

Bourdain traveled around the world -- including Buffalo -- to find interesting food.

His travels to Buffalo, Baltimore and Detroit were chronicled in this episode of "No Reservations." (Skip to about 27:45 for the segment on snowy Buffalo and his trip to Ulrich's Tavern in Buffalo and Schwabl's in West Seneca.).

And here's a 2013 Buffalo News interview with Bourdain as his “Guts and Glory” tour came to Shea’s Performing Arts Center.

“I try to remind people as often as possible that I wasn’t a great chef – and when success came along, it was not for my cooking, by a long shot,” he said. “I was 44 years old, standing there in a kitchen next to the deep fryer, without health insurance. I had never owned a car, never owned property, never paid my rent on time. I was desperately in debt.”

A 2016 interview Bourdain did with Dave Davies will be re-broadcast on WBFO Friday at 7 and 10 p.m. on WHYY's Fresh Air. 

For more on Bourdain's love of food, here's an extended interview for The Splendid Table public radio show. He joined Lynne Rossetto Kasper to talk about his book, Appetites, the stress of cooking for five people versus 500, making Spam musubi for his daughter's school lunch, and his Oval Office-approved opinion on the matter of ketchup on a hot dog.