'Here’s a little pre-emptive truth telling: there’s no happy ending'

The  Staff Canteen

The first trailer for the documentary about chef, author and documentarian Anthony Bourdain's life, ‘Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain’  has been released by distribution company Focus Features, promising to break the heart of every person who bore witness to his career and mourned his untimely death.

Directed by Oscar-winning US film producer Morgan Neville, the documentary will screen unseen footage of the chef, intersparsed with interviews of people who knew him, worked with him or admired him, all using voiceovers from Anthony's own documentaries. Due for launch in US cinemas on June 16th, a UK release date has yet to be announced. 

First a chef, Anthony Bourdain became known as the best-selling author of Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Released in 2000, it gave the world a glimpse of what happened behind closed doors in professional kitchens of the 1990s, portraying chefs as a band of misfits with irrational, borderline masochistic tendencies.

He later described the book as having "celebrated or prolonged a culture that allowed the kind of grotesque behaviors we're hearing about all too frequently," in light of the revelations made by the Me Too movementin 2017.

The chef wrote two more bestselling books: A Cook's Tour, released in 2001, an account of his culinary travels around the world, and The Nasty Bits in 2006, a collection of essays on the topic of food. 

What propelled Anthony into global notoriety however were his documentaries, starting with A Cook's Tour, released in conjunction with the book in 2001, No Reservations, which ran between 2005 and 2012; The Layover, which aired for two years between 2011 and 2013, and finally, most celebrated of all, Parts Unknown, which began in 2013 and came to an abrupt end when he took his own life in 2018.

The documentaries were perfectly summed up by Anthony himself with the phrase: "Some of you might ask, how is this food related? F****d if I know." The sentiment was echoed in the words of celebrated restaurateur David Chang, who said about the documentaries, that "It was almost never about food. It was about Tony learning to be a better person."

His brother, Chris Bourdain, said that through his work, Anthony taught people about places and cultures in a way no journalist could, showing people reverence and respect wherever he went.

Anthony Bourdain had been filming an episode of the series in Strasbourg with his close friend and chef Éric Ripert, and had not been seen for almost a day when he was discovered in his hotel room following an apparent suicide. 

His death sent shockwaves around the world and especially throughout the hospitality industry, posing questions about mental health and the consequences of leading a tortured life such as his.

Éric Ripert and José Andrés launched Bourdain Day in his memory on the anniversary of his death on June 25th 2019, and later unveiled The Anthony Bourdain Legacy Scholarship at the at the Culinary Institute of America, for students interested in experiencing world cuisines and cultures.

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th June 2021

'Here’s a little pre-emptive truth telling: there’s no happy ending'