Anthony Bourdain entered the literary stage with an inside tip, delivered in the gruff whisper of a racetrack tout: Don’t order fish on Mondays.
It was the part that everybody remembered from his first published work, a long essay about the unglamorous and sometimes unsavory work of cooks and dishwashers that ran in The New Yorker in 1999 and that made it almost impossible for waiters to sell seafood between Sunday and Tuesday for at least a decade.
And the advice gave Mr. Bourdain, a journeyman cook and chef nobody had heard of, a new career. Before he was found dead on Friday, in what the authorities were treating as a suicide, he was the witty, connected guide who, in memoirs, cookbooks and television shows, would tell you things that others wouldn’t.
In the glossy, cheerful, relentlessly promotional realms of food and travel writing, that left him a fair number of truths he could claim as his own, and he took full advantage of the situation.
A close reader of Orwell, he modeled that first essay and the book that grew out of it, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly,” on Orwell’s “Down and Out in Paris and London.” While other restaurant writers had helped build the cult of the creative, artistic chef, Mr. Bourdain made folk heroes out of the dishwasher and the line cook — a job description previously known only to restaurant employees. He described their lives and their day-to-day work in concrete, indelible detail.
他深入地研究过奥威尔的作品，并仿照奥威尔的《巴黎伦敦落魄记》(Down and Out in Paris and London)写出了自己的第一篇文章，以及由此文发展而成的书——《厨房机密档案》(Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly)。别的美食作家在营造对富有创意和艺术性的大厨的崇拜，波登却让洗碗工和帮厨成了平民英雄——在此之前，只有餐厅员工知道这些人的工作内容。他通过具体的、令人难以忘怀的细节，描写了他们的生活和日常工作。
When kitchens were being wrapped in a shimmering gauze of glamour, Mr. Bourdain got busy unwrapping them, revealing the injuries and addictions, low wages and high tempers that took a toll on workers.
Among other things, he was one of the first writers to tell the dining public that many high-profile New York restaurants would cease to function without the work and talents of Mexican employees. It was almost a casual aside, yet it suddenly opened new subjects to the purview of food writing: immigration policy, labor conditions, racism.
He identified with the grunts, portraying himself as a slinger of cheap steaks and French fries. The grunts, in turn, identified with him, not because of his contributions as a chef — who can name an Anthony Bourdain dish? — but because he told the world what the work was really like. And once he left kitchens behind for a career in travel television, he didn’t lead his camera crews on a tour of the world’s most luxurious resorts. He went to Detroit and the Bronx, Libya and Beirut.
“Good food, good eating, is all about blood and organs, cruelty and decay,” he wrote in the opening sentence of that New Yorker piece, and it set the tone for all the work that followed.
Mr. Bourdain was a blood-and-organs kind of guy, and he became identified with his unflinching, at times ostentatious, descriptions of life, death, sex and digestion. Footage of fly-speckled goats’ heads in open-air markets was to his travel shows what harbor sunsets were for other programs.
Although he wasn’t immune to hyperbole, he had an old-school chain-smoking newspaper editor’s hatred of self-serving hypocrisy, particularly in other television hosts. He delighted in mocking celebrity chefs like Guy Fieri (whose Times Square restaurant he called “the Terrordome”) and Paula Deen (“the worst, most dangerous person to America”).
虽然他难免也会夸张，但他具有一个一根接一根抽烟的老派报纸编辑对自私伪善的憎恨，尤其是对其他电视主持人。他喜欢嘲笑名厨，比如盖伊·菲耶里（Guy Fieri，他说菲耶里在时报广场的餐厅是“恐怖穹顶”）和葆拉·迪恩（Paula Deen，他说她是“美国最坏、最危险的人”）。
At times Mr. Bourdain’s capacity as truth-teller could bleed into other, less salutary roles: the attention-seeking bully, the purveyor of well-polished shtick, the lecture-circuit fixture who, on cue, would curse like a line cook who has just chopped off the tip of his finger.
In the past few months, as accusations of sexual harassment and predatory behavior have shaken the restaurant industry, Mr. Bourdain’s swaggering accounts of kitchen life have come in for re-evaluation. He certainly took pleasure in telling outsiders what it was like. Was there some pride in there, too, in belonging to a band of misfits and rule-breakers? Had he helped to popularize a workplace culture in which misogyny and abuse were overlooked, tolerated and sometimes even celebrated?
“To the extent which my work in ‘Kitchen Confidential’ celebrated or prolonged a culture that allowed the kind of grotesque behaviors we’re hearing about all too frequently is something I think about daily, with real remorse,” he wrote on Medium in December.
Having regularly heaped disgust and outrage on Harvey Weinstein (who was accused of rape by Asia Argento, Mr. Bourdain’s partner), he was also confronted with serious and deeply unsettling allegations about Mario Batali, a friend. “In these current circumstances, one must pick a side,” Mr. Bourdain wrote. “I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women.”
他经常对哈维·韦恩斯坦（Harvey Weinstein，波登的伴侣艾莎·阿基多[Asia Argento]指控韦恩斯坦强奸了她）表示厌恶和愤怒，但他也面临着对他的朋友马里奥·巴塔利(Mario Batali)的非常令人不安的严重指控。“在目前的情况下，人们必须选择立场，”波登写道。“我毫不犹豫、毫不动摇地站在这些女性这一边。”
But if the feminist perspective was relatively new to his repertory, speaking out about sexual abuse was not. Long ago, in “Kitchen Confidential,” he had written about a union shop steward who had inserted his fingers into Mr. Bourdain’s rectum every day, in front of the other kitchen workers. Experiences like this may be common for male cooks, but they are not commonly discussed in public.
Mr. Bourdain was too unsettled, his moral compass too twitchy, to have written an account of kitchen life that was purely celebratory or purely accusatory.
“Life is complicated. It’s filled with nuance. It’s unsatisfying,” he once said. “If I believe in anything, it is doubt.”