CHICAGO (CBS) — Anthony Bourdain once said any excuse to come to Chicago is a good one.
The celebrity chef and author was found dead Friday morning in France in an apparent suicide.
His TV shows opened viewers eyes to not just the food, but the social complexities of the world around us.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports that was true whether he was visiting exotic places, or the bars and food stands of Chicago.
In a classic, sarcastic visit to Chicago, Anthony Bourdain dined on pan pizza at an institution, Bert’s Place.
“I am not sure that he ever loved the pizza, but he loved Bert the man who made it,” said Chicago Tribune food writer Louisa Chu.
That connection, to the people behind the plates, helped define Bourdain said Chu.
She was his table mate that day and had been his friend for years.
“He was a very complex, complicated and sometimes very vulnerable man,” said Chu.
Bourdain, a chef, gained fame writing about the kitchen.
But as his career blossomed his mind explored more complex subjects at the table.
“It started off with food and drink and beyond that got to the bigger cultural and social issues that drove him,” said Chu.
On another broadcast, he dined on a classic steak sandwich at Ricobene’s in Bridgeport.
“To this day people will call and say is ‘this the place Anthony Bourdain was at,'” said Sam Ricobene of Ricobene’s Restaurant.
His guest was Chicago music producer Steve Albini, and by then his program had evolved into something weightier, yet digestible, for everyman.
“The fact he didn’t try to come off as omniscient, but more curious, made him a unique voice,” said Albini.
“He knew what we loved. He knew why and understood what drove the people who loved to make it for us,” said Chu.