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Use of Deepfake Anthony Bourdain Voice in New Documentary Sparks Outrage—But Is it Immoral?

What autonomy should artists and beloved cultural figures have over their legacy after they pass?

If Anthony Bourdain wanted to be anything, it was to be genuine.

All you have to do is watch a few minutes of the famous chef onscreen to recognize that a desire for authenticity was at the core of his life, a quality reflected in every interaction he had and every painstakingly written voiceover he uttered. Of course, the always wry chef never would have used that word, though in an NPR interview he once described his favorite kind of restaurant as just that, saying, "It's, for lack of a better word - I hate this word, but I'll use it anyway - authentic."

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Anthony Bourdain's 5 Best Moments

The late, great Anthony Bourdain would have been 65 today.

Anthony Bourdain

The late, great Anthony Bourdain would have been 65 today.

The smooth-tongued TV culinary master unfortunately took his own life back in 2018, but he left behind a legacy full of great moments, both with the food he ate and with the people he'd charm along the way. The best way to pay tribute to such a brave explorer is to revisit the moments that only Anthony Bourdain could capture. Whether it be stressing over what to order at Waffle House, or gorging on a hot bowl of noodles with a former president, Bourdain succeeded in leading a life unlike anyone else's. Here are some of his best moments from over the years.

Bourdain Spends Christmas In The Philippines

When Anthony flew to Manila for Christmas, he visited the sprawling Philippine city to not only take in the sites but to deeply connect with the people. He spent dinner with a woman named Aurora and her massive family, highlighting Aurora's unshakeable maternal spirit throughout the years. She had spent three decades cleaning houses and babysitting in order to financially support those she loved, one of whom was Bourdain's director on Parts Unknown.

Bourdain used Aurora's story to then highlight the massive diaspora of migrant Filipino workers who would often leave home for years before returning. Aurora's children, who were now all middle-aged, were finally being given the opportunity to get to know their mother after decades apart. Her sacrifice was inspiring, and Bourdain highlighted it in a poetic way only he could.

Bourdain Tries Waffle House For The First Time

"It is indeed marvelous," Bourdain said of Waffle House. "An irony-free zone where everything is beautiful, and nothing hurts. Where everybody, regardless of race, creed, color or degree of inebriation is welcomed." Never has anyone described the drunken debauchery of Waffle House with such grace, but that was Bourdain's bread and butter. He was always able to describe the grimiest parts of the human experience with elegance. On Bourdain's first trip to the fast-food chain alongside legendary chef Sean Brock, he gorged himself on the legendary guilty-pleasure food, while reminiscing on why places like Waffle House are the lifeblood of America.

Exploring New England's Heroin Epidemic

In a more somber episode back in 2015, Bourdain explored northern Massachusetts, which was and still is deeply struggling with a heroin epidemic. Bourdain touched on his own experience with heroin, and explained not only his own relationship to the drug but small-town America's relationship to it as well.

Stopping By a Strip Club With Alton Brown

In an episode titled "The Layover" back in 2013, Bourdain dove face-first into Atlanta's cuisine, and capped off a successful evening at the Clermont Lounge with Alton Brown. The two chefs took shots out of plastic cups, and even met a gorgeous lady named "Blondie," who was proclaimed to be the unofficial mayor of Atlanta. The best part is probably when Bourdain said the Clermont Lounge "should be a national landmark."

When He Visited Iran

When Bourdain visited the war-torn country of Iran, he offered a gorgeous, authentic look at Iranian culture. He visited the abode of an Iranian art gallery owner and was fed a feast of delicious Persian food such as sour cherry rice with meatballs and chicken. Needless to say, Bourdain was shaken by the flavors and warmth he received. "Iran does not look, does not feel, the way I expected," he admitted.

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Anthony Bourdain Dead by Suicide at Age 61

Cuisine Connoisseur and Creative Chef Found Unresponsive in French Hotel Room

CNN has confirmed that Parts Unknown host and world-traveling television personality Anthony Bourdain has died.

While in France filming for an upcoming project for the network, he took his life and was found by fellow chef and friend, Eric Ripert in his hotel room. Not only is this sad news a shock to his co-workers and family, but to fans from all over the world who have enjoyed Bourdain's work – his writing, filming, food, and overall flair and fascination for culture and "the human condition."

Born in New York City in 1956, Bourdain was a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, worked in many restaurants throughout his career – from line cook to executive chef, and starred in food- and travel-based television programs including Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, The Layover, and the show he was in the midst of filming, CNN's Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

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CNN released a statement regarding Bourdain's passing Friday morning, ""It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain. His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller."

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Fans tuned in to Bourdain's program for his honesty, sense of adventure, curiosity, and intrigue. As exciting as he was to watch, so were the diverse people he met from all around the globe and the stories and food they shared. His no-nonsense style and the way he touched so many lives were impressive and always interesting to bear witness to. He will be sorely missed. Bourdain leaves behind one young daughter.

If you are having thoughts of suicide or care about someone who may need help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).


Melissa A. Kay is a New York-based writer, editor, and content strategist. Follow her work on Popdust as well as sites including TopDust, Chase Bank, P&G, Understood.org, The Richest, GearBrain, The Journiest, Bella, TrueSelf, AMC Daycare, and more.


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