Celebrating Bourdain, Life, and Food
On June 8, 2018 the world learned of the untimely and unfortunate death of American chef and travel host Anthony Bourdain in the otherwise picturesque Alsatian village of Kaysersberg. Bourdain was on-site filming an episode of his hit show Parts Unknown. Understanding the region and its food shines a light on who Bourdain was and why he would come to this small village on the Route des Vin d’Alsace, spending his last days doing what he loved, exploring a region through its food with great friends. This was Bourdain’s principled approach to food. Food for the chef was a means to an end – a way to understand and interact with people and geographical issues. In the highly geopolitical borderlands of Alsace, Kaysersberg literally means the Kaiser’s village. Inherently it has a heavy Germanic influence and an identify that more or less mixes with French. Its architecture is visually German; its wine is primarily white; its castle is called Schlossberg. While peaceful since World War II, it is an understatement to say that a village like Kaysersberg has a mixed identity. Bourdain was staying at the 5 Michelin Star hotel Le Chambard on the eastern end of town with its 2-Star Michelin Restaurant, La Table d’Oliver Nasti. The region features four other Michelin 1-star restaurants that would have been frequented by Bourdain and longtime friend Eric Ripert. But it would have been the wines and local foods of Colmar and Strasbourg that really drew the chef’s appetite for life. Perhaps strolling through Colmar’s Place de l‘Ancienne market and sampling regional specialties like choucroute garnie, the epitome of a shared German-French heritage that is comprised of cabbage, sausage, and ham. Anthony Bourdain left a legacy of loving food, travel, and most of all people. So when we are in Kaysersberg, these elements come together and we raise a glass to remember the man who left us too soon. Rest in peace Chef.