On Friday, world-famous chef and TV host Anthony Bourdain died at the age of 61. According to CNN, he was in France working on his show Parts Unknown, and was found unresponsive in his hotel room by a friend. The apparent cause was suicide.
Tributes immediately poured in from celebrities, who commented on how the beloved adventurer inspired so many people to discover different cultures and cities through their food on his hit show. When you “eat and drink with people without fear and prejudice … they open up to you in ways that somebody visiting who is driven by a story may not get,” he once said.
Indeed, his travels took him to exotic locations such as the Congo, Libya, and Myanmar. But, in the wake of his tragic death, there’s one particular clip from his show that people are sharing widely on social media and Reddit: his visit to a Waffle House in South Carolina in 2015.
“Anthony Bourdain describing Waffle House is the single-most important description of America that has ever been articulated,” BuzzFeed writer Ryan Broderick wrote on Twitter.
You wouldn’t expect a world-class chef who has sampled some of the best dishes the planet has to offer to think highly of a fast food chain frequented by drinkers after a late night out. But not only did Bourdain love the waffles—he saw an immense beauty in the entire concept of the restaurant itself, and his review of it reflects his at once humble and generous view of humanity.
“It is indeed marvelous,” he says of Waffle House in the voiceover. “An irony-free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. Where everybody, regardless of race, creed, color, or degree of inebriation, is welcomed. Its warm yellow glow a beacon of hope and salvation, inviting the hungry, the lost, the seriously hammered, all across the South, to come inside. A place of safety and nourishment. It never closes. It is always, always faithful, always there, for you.”
Yes, to some extent the hyperbolic language was meant to be facetious, but underneath that is a sincere appreciation for the fast-food chain and its role in American culture, and it speaks to his remarkable ability to see the beauty and meaning behind the things we take for granted. You can watch the full clip below:
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also read 20 Expert-Backed Ways to Improve Your Mental Health Every Day.
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