On June 8, 2018, the world sadly lost Anthony Bourdain, a world-renowned chef and TV personality. Bourdain was well-known for his love of traveling and food, hosting shows like A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown, while also guest judging cooking competitions such as Top Chef. In addition to food and travel, though, Bourdain had a passion for story-telling and made quite an impact on the publishing industry.
Bourdain had a special place in his heart for crime fiction. Between 1995 and 2001, he wrote and published three crime novels: Bone in the Throat (1995), Gone Bamboo (1997), and Bobby Gold (2001). Around the same time, Bourdain had written and published a cooking memoir titled Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000), which launched his culinary career with an offer from Food Network.
"As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful." – Anthony Bourdain
Still possessing a passion for publishing and books, Bourdain opened his own publishing line in September 2011, named Anthony Bourdain Books, under HarperCollins’ imprint Ecco Press. The publishing line acquired three to five books a year, publishing authors who have strong voices and have talent in specific areas of life. Each author published by Anthony Bourdain Books was handpicked by Bourdain himself. Sadly, this means that Anthony Bourdain Books will be closing after seven years, once its last client’s book is published, which will be in 2019.
Bourdain didn’t want to just publish food-related books; he wanted to publish interesting people with interesting jobs and hobbies. In 2012, he signed 85-year-old Marilyn Hagerty, a newspaper columnist of 30+ years from Grand Forks, North Dakota, who had reviewed a new Olive Garden opening in her hometown. The review got a lot of attention because of its novelty of reviewing a chain restaurant, rather than an independent one. Bourdain saw the potential to discover and reveal how true Americans eat every day, and published Hagerty’s book in 2013, titled Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews. Below is an interview with Bourdain discussing his decision to work with Hagerty: