Anthony Bourdain Has Become the Future of Cable News, and He Couldn’t Care Less

Rob Brunner:

Parts Unknown is the flagship of Bourdain's somewhat accidental empire. He also presides over two other current TV programs: the PBS docuseries The Mind of a Chef (which he both narrates and executive produces) and the Esquire Network travel show The Getaway. He's a mentor on ABC's reality competition The Taste (season 3 premieres in January), and he oversees an Ecco/HarperCollins imprint that has released four books since it kicked off in May 2013. He has written six food books of his own--including his 2000 memoir, Kitchen Confidential--and several crime novels. Recently, and much to his surprise, he's even become a new face of CNN, which is currently being overhauled by former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker. His show could lead an industry-wide shift toward a more documentary-focused cable-news landscape.

For Bourdain, it has been a long evolution: from heroin-addicted chef to punk-rock-foodie author to global citizen on a mission to simply understand a bit about our world. It's a testament to Bourdain's work ethic and creative drive that after 14 years on television, he's still pushing to get better, go deeper, seek out complexity, avoid the obvious and conventional. At a time when he could simply coast, Bourdain seems as energized as ever.

But right now, at Tori Shin, he’s mostly just hungry.

I was a Bourdain groupie for a long, long time. I checked out towards the end of No Reservations, but after reading a few write-ups about Parts Unknown, I decided to give him another shot. I’m glad I did. I thought something about it felt different and this really great piece confirmed it. Make sure you read to the end to see what his future plans are.