Anthony Bourdain, the American celebrity chef whose tragic death was announced Friday, is admired by Iranians not only for his popular TV show and great talent, but also for the positive image on Iran he conveyed to the rest of the world.
The famed cook, writer and host of the CNN’s award-winning series “Parts Unknown” killed himself Friday in a luxury hotel in France.
Bourdain visited Iran in 2014, as part of his tour around the Middle East for his TV show.
Iranians took to Twitter and Instagram on Saturday to praise Bourdain for offering a different picture of their country to the usual Western media reports and government rhetoric.
Commentators praise him for his ability to tell stories that went beyond the superficial picture painted by the daily news cycle over the course of his TV career.
After visiting Iran, he came back with a confusing picture of the country, as what he experienced was so at odds with what he understood of the country from the vision portrayed by the US government, CNN reported.
“Because the Iran you see from the inside, once you walk the streets of Tehran, once you meet Iranians, is a very different place than the Iran you know from the news”, Bourdain wrote on his trip.
“Nowhere else I’ve been has been so extreme between what one sees and feels from the people and what one sees and hears from the government,” he wrote.
In the episode CNN aired on his visit to Iran, Bourdain says, “Forget about the politics if you can for a moment. How about the food? The food here is amazing.”
“Iranians are the descendants of Ancient Persia, an empire of poetry, flowers, the highly influential culture that goes back thousands of years.”
“The road back to Tehran. Along the way, reminders of just how far back this culture goes. The ruins of ancient caravansaries, highway rest stops from when armies, merchants, traders traveling by camel, by foot all passed along these same routes. This right here a stop on what was once the Silk Road extending all the way to China.”
“In this part of the world, whatever your background, bread is a vital, essential, fundamental, and deeply respected staple.”
“It is worth mentioning, whatever you think, wherever we are now, that Saddam—supported by the US government and with our full knowledge — used sarin and mustard gas on hundreds of thousands of Iranians. Less known in America, known and felt by everyone in Iran.”
“Iran does not look and does not feel the way I had expected. Neither East nor West, but always somewhere in the middle.”