Molokai Remembers Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain, a celebrated chef, TV personality, travel and food commentator and host of the award-winning series, “Parts Unknown,” died last week at the age of 61. In 2015, Bourdain visited Molokai as part of the series’ episode on Hawaii food and culture, and many Molokai residents have been reacting to his death and offering tributes of their memories of him. Bourdain himself wrote fondly of Molokai on his blog following his visit.
“The place where I was happiest in Hawaii was the place everybody (native Hawaiians included) insisted that I would probably be least happy—or least welcome: Molokai,” wrote Bourdain. “I was treated with enormous kindness and generosity everywhere I went—nowhere more so than Molokai. My ignorance and naive preconceptions tolerated with patience and good grace. This is one haole who feels very, very honored and grateful for the many kindnesses shown me.”
Molokai residents who worked with him in production while he was here have described him as “super down to earth and totally understood how we felt as people of Molokai.”
“Throughout the conversations on and off the screen he remained the same guy,” recalled Maile Naehu, who helped host Bourdain at Keawanui Fishpond during his visit. “His charm, intelligence and straight up cool factor was unlike any other. “What he saw and the stories that he was able to bring out of people, no doubt has shed light on issues that were political, social, religious, environmental, heck just about everything that needs to be talked about to gain a better understanding of our world.”
Bourdain was found dead in his hotel room in France while working on a “Parts Unknown” episode. He is believed to have taken his own life.
In Hawaii and across the country, suicide rates are rising. In Hawaii, one person dies by suicide every two days, according to the Department of Health. Molokai has also seen an increase in suicides in recent years, and the tragedy has affected many families and the community as a whole. The Dept. of Health urges people to reach out if you know someone who may be depressed or considering suicide and talk to them with understanding to help alleviate feelings of isolation. If you or someone you love is suicidal, call the Hawaii neighbor island Crisis Line at 1-800-753-6879.