Restaurant Owner Reveals How Anthony Bourdain Changed His Life
Published in Nov 2020 / Updated in Aug 2021
You don’t have to read dozens of tributes about Anthony Bourdain to know how deeply he touched people’s lives - one inspiring story is all you need. Even though his death was tragic, shocking, and enshrouded in mystery, his life was a great inspiration to many, including an adoring Bourdain superfan and restaurant owner.
Anthony Bourdain was in France when he made the heartbreaking decision to end his life. The world has been in mourning ever since.
Losing such a gifted chef, author and showman is no minor blow to the those who knew him.
In him was the power to change the culture and the lives of many. No wonder many people were quick to pay tributes to him including Barack Obama, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Chrissy Teigen.
Obama described Bourdain as a person who brought people together and made us less fearful of the unknown.
His partner, Asia Argento, also spoke about the devastating loss Bourdain’s untimely departure was to the world. Bourdain spoke in glowing terms about his partner of 2 years for making him learn more about social justice.
But Argento also had plenty to say about his influence on her life and everyone else's:
"Anthony gave all of himself in everything that he did. His brilliant, fearless spirit touched and inspired so many, and his generosity knew no bounds. He was my love, my rock, my protector."
But it’s not just the big celebs Bourdain touched. He left a lasting impression on many other people.
On countless occasions, he was seen promoting the work of those he thought deserved more recognition. Consequently, he changed many people’s lives for good.
The Thankful Restaurant Owner
Recently, a restaurant owner has come forward to talk about Bourdain’s unforgettable influence on his life.
The man is Jason Wang, who is the CEO of Xi-an Famous Foods. He talked of how Bourdain’s No Reservations show had an important impact on his success in business.
The two met in 2007 when Bourdain and his crew arrived at the restaurant unannounced. The celebrity chef absolutely loved the lamb burgers, and he decided to feature them on his Travel Channel show.
After the feature, Wang’s establishment got a lot of interest. For that, he will never forget Bourdain’s influence on his life.
For this man, Bourdain’s influence ensured that he and his family are now living the American dream:
"I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food, I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream."
"We were able to grow our business and provide great food for our guests, and opportunities for our employees. I looked at him in the eyes and said, this is something we will always be thankful for, Tony."
"And he simply replied, "I'm just calling out good food like it is, that's all."
After the surge in popularity Wang got after the feature, he was able to open more branches in more locations. He has not forgotten the important role Bourdain played in all this.
There Are Many Stories Like Wang's
But Wang is hardly the only person to benefit immensely from Bourdain’s magical influence. During his career, Bourdain featured many upcoming restaurants.
However, the ever-grateful restaurant owner did something few others in his position have. He donated a day of net sales to The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline after Bourdain’s passing.
So, even as we continue mourning Bourdain’s passing, it’s just as important to remember the indelible mark he left on many of those he met during his illustrious career.