Two short weeks ago the entire world was stunned when fashion mogul Kate Spade, along with Chef and long time TV personality Anthony Bourdain, both unexpectedly took their own lives, just three days apart. The culinary world has certainly been affected, as the veteran chef was an inspiration to so many.
His trials and tribulations have been on display, for all to know and learn from, in many of his publications and TV shows. One person who was both inspired and impacted is Jill Gedra of Lait Cru Brasserie (346 Connecticut St, Buffalo, NY).
“Anthony Bourdain was a huge inspiration for me, and one of the major reasons I went to culinary school,” said the former cook, now turned restaurant owner. “If he [Bourdain] can overcome addictions like that, and be one of the best chefs, I can certainly overcome my issues.” Gedra is speaking about Bourdain’s honesty regarding his past drug use. For the rest of us in the food world, “He helped put things in perspective,” she added.
As the stages of grief began to take their course, Gedra knew she wanted to do something to pay respects to one of the food masterminds of our generation. Talking with a friend and fellow culinista, Kate Elliott, she wanted to create some dishes inspired by Bourdain’s favorite foods for a few friends. That idea quickly snowballed into the event we have ahead of us on Monday June 25th.
It’s called “A Cooks Tour”. Fifteen Chefs from the Buffalo area are coming together with the local community to celebrate the life of Anthony Bourdain. The sold out event is being held at Kleinhans Music Hall. The cost of the event ($62) and its date, are synonymous with the age, and birthday, of the late chef, as he would have turned 62 this coming Monday.
This will be a grazing type of event, which is very congruent with the style of Bourdain’s recent adventures. Rarely sitting down to big meals, constantly on the go, almost nomadic in his quest for food. With that in mind, food stations will be strewn around the hall. The food contributors we know. The menus – well those will be a game time decision. Though, as Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott would say… “Trust the Process.”
For those lucky enough to get a ticket, doors for the event will open at 6:30pm. There will be entertainment provided by DJ Malik, Sofa Kings, and Rada Rada. There will be a silent auction, with tables filled with some amazing items and services, donated by local businesses. “The outpouring from the city of Buffalo and the surrounding area has been amazing. I have never experienced anything like this before,” said Gedra.
100% of the proceeds of this event will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Everyone at the event will have a story or two to share from the Chef who is gone to soon. Although his chef’s work may only be a microcosm of his accomplishments. Perhaps, better known for the work he had accomplished outside the kitchen – opening the world of food in so many ways.
His honest, sensible, un-repenting yet empathic delivery is what attracted so many to the American icon. Restaurateurs and publications alike, revered Bourdain, as his opinions carried such weight. Yet the self-aware and humble New Yorker, often so eloquent, simply exuded “I’m just calling out good food like it is, that’s all.'” – Anthony Bourdain.
For Gedra, her opinion of Bourdain stems from where he started. Simply saying, “He was a cook’s cook.”
If you would like to donate any items to the event, reach out to Jill Gedra at Lait Cru Brasserie, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following have donated to the event:
Food and Beverage Vendors:
- Lait Cru Brasserie
- Angelica Tea Room
- Barrel and Brine
- Black Iron Bystro
- Black Sheep
- Casa Azul
- Churn Soft Serve
- Grange Community Kitchen
- Heritage Cured Meats
- Shango Bistro
- Vertical Mauve
- 42 North
- Bar Biddies
- Community Beer Works
- Lockhouse Distillery
- Public Espresso