Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
Paris, France (4E) – Among the many legacies left behind by the late Anthony Bourdain — gourmet, celebrity chef and Emmy Award-winning TV host — is a body of literary works notable for its deep insights into the volatile and vicious world of chefs and the cuisine they create.
A day after committing suicide by hanging on June 8, Bourdain’s first book, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” published in 2000 topped the bestseller list on Amazon.com. The paperback version of the book zoomed to the number 1 spot on June 9 after shooting up on June 8, surpassing former president Bill Clinton’s new novel, according to Amazon.
The book is widely considered the launchpad for Bourdain’s entertainment and literary career and propelled him from the dingy job as a chef in New York restaurants to renowned TV host, writer and world traveler. He hosted the award-winning “Parts Unknown” on CNN beginning 2013, and was in France filming for the series when he died.
Since the launch of Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain went on to author 11 books over the next 16 years. As can be expected, all these books revolved around the world of cuisine, chefs and cooks that he loved and loathed at the same time.
The most intriguing work in his literary trove were his last two books, or graphic novels (the millennial term for comic books) to be more precise. Get Jiro! published in 2012 and its sequel, Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi published in 2016 were described as a “stylized send-up of food culture and society features.”
Get Jiro! is set in the not-too-distant future where Los Angeles is a food-obsessed city where master chefs rule the town like crime lords, and people kill for a seat at the best restaurant. Jiro, a renegade and ruthless sushi chef (who’s the son of a Yakuza boss) arrives in LA with ideas of his own. What results “is a bloody culinary war of epic proportions, and in the end, no chef may be left alive!” The book made it to the New York Times bestseller list.
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