In the days following Anthony Bourdain death, his chef colleagues shared thoughts and tributes, honoring the incredible life of the man with the best job in the world. Now, Bravo's Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio is weighing in with thoughts of his own — even as he struggles to make sense of them.
"I feel really bad that his best friend had to find him,” Colicchio told The Hollywood Reporter of Bourdain, who had appeared as both a guest judge and a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef over the years. “It's so rough, and I don't know how to process it.”
Colicchio remembered when Bourdain named him in his 2000 book Kitchen Confidential, saying: "Prior to Kitchen Confidential, I didn't know Anthony, but like all young chefs, I read the book. He took the scab off the industry. If you were in the book you generally got slammed, but he mentioned me at the end as one of the guys who got it. When we eventually met, both of our party days were well behind us.”
Colicchio and Bourdain were both outspoken about the sexual harassment claims against Mario Batali. "What we are going to miss is the best of him," Colicchio tells THR. "He was willing to speak up and he came out strongly against sexual harassment in our industry. Privately we talked about it, and it was good to have someone who was willing to put himself out there."
He also praised Bourdain’s ability to adapt to carve out a job that worked for him. “He was really a writer… He was thoughtful and found a way to fit into the food world when he no longer wanted to cook,” he said. “I feel that the best was yet to come and now those stories aren't going to be told.”
Colicchio, like many others, does not feel any sense of resolution yet surrounding the tragedy. “We are all grappling with the fact that it's hard to understand how he was in that dark place and didn't find help, and I feel really bad that his best friend had to find him," he said. "It's so rough, and I don't know how to process it."
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