Photo: Cebu lechon restaurant Zubuchon still proudly displays the quote of the late chef Anthony Bourdain, that made them, and the Cebuano lechon, famous (Pinterest)
News of the passing of Anthony Bourdain the world’s first celebrity chef-poet struck us deeply. Disregarding the details of his death, we nonetheless celebrate his storied life, memories of which bring us down to the earth he loved, and the people whose lives, and cuisines, we met as he traveled and pondered the many lesser known corners of the world.
As Filipinos we fondly recall the way he discovered Pampango Sisig and Cebu’s Lechon, and how he described Filipino food as “underrated,” and “ascendant.,” These kind words from him challenged our tendency to look down on ourselves.
Since then Filipino cuisine has risen to a larger audience. Our adobo is now a regular in global cooking shows, and can now be found in cosmopolitan cafes and university restaurants, earning a place in the global kitchen.
As poetically as he described the food he ate, from the swanky Michelin starred restos to the Thai old lady whose barbecued roadside sausages he adored, he left us, like a tragic hero of the now wider global food and culture and the fantasy we savor as we bask in it.
The profound thought in his death is that while his frank and thoughtful observations brought us Filipinos and our food to a global audience, he taught us to love the food we eat, and in turn, ourselves.