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Brutally honest. That was my first impression towards Mr. Bourdain. The first time I’ve seen him was on No Reservation reruns on Asia Food Channel circa 2016. It was a back to back episode and that was all it took him to color me interested. I googled him and happily found that my first impression wasn’t very far to what he was described by articles all over the interwebs. I became a fan immediately.
To be honest, looking back, it wasn’t much of a fanboying. I didn’t see him as much as I saw Gordon Ramsay or Jamie Oliver. Or other celebrity chefs with fresh looks and cute gimmicks that naturally get a lot more screen time. I guess it’s partly because his low profile nature that wasn’t encouraging him to flaunt his celebrity status or his culinary prowess as a blatant habit. He simply was there as a person who passionately–or, according to him, enthusiastly– be.
I did not know Mr. Bourdain personally, but boy I wish I did, even though I’d probably die of humiliation by his witty remarks after the first encounter. He was dark and bitter. Yet it seemed to me that he had it figured out, this world. He had it in him the courage and the enthusiasm to do things many people won’t even consider. He lifted my horizon and showed me a great many things. A man with so much love to what he does, and gained much love for it. A man with so many to live for.
Death was swift and sure. None will ever escape her embrace. But his was cold and shocking. So unlike his clever tongue or his honest smile. His passing was rather a ripple of agony, finite for those who were touched by him, instead of a huge shock over the earth. Yet, on his years living upon the earth, he had left a mark that will touch the hearts of many others. And an emptiness no other person will ever fill.
“[When I die], I will decidedly not be regretting missed opportunities for a good time. My regrets will be more along the lines of a sad list of people hurt, people let down, assets wasted and advantages squandered.”
I hope you find peace, Sir. I hope you’d agree with me that this world is a beautiful place, some people are born to make it harder to live, but it is a beautiful place indeed. I had wished that one day I’d eat in one of the restaurants in your show and somehow seeing you there, sitting and eating normally. I don’t wish for small talk or acknowledgment, just seeing you eat and drink in the same place would be good enough for my bucket list. But the ship had sailed. So sail on, sail on, sailor.