LA MESA, Calif. -- In the wake of his shocking death Friday, students at the San Diego Culinary Institute told FOX 5 that Anthony Bourdain was their ultimate role model.
“His show, 'No Reservations,' came out when I was about 15, 16 years old and (watching) that enlightened my world,” Samantha Baker said.
“Cooking was always interesting. Watching Gordon Ramsay, Anthony Bourdain and all that stuff -- I thought I could do that,” added classmate Robert Haywood.
Haywood and Baker said that Bourdain ignited more than their passion for food. As he traveled and ate his way around the world, he also taught them a love for culture.
“To respect a culture enough to develop their food -- that’s something he brought into my living room when I was really young and I’ve never forgotten about it,” said Baker.
Haywood said he appreciated Bourdain’s brutal honesty: “He’s just a straight-shooter and truthful, that’s what really drew me to his show compared to everyone else’s."
Chef Instructor Kurt Waefler said Bourdain was a great storyteller who inspired many: “I think he influenced a lot of people, whether it was chefs or (inspiring) people at home watching his shows to go out and try new things."
All called Bourdain a true legend, a rockstar chef and someone they someday hope to emulate.
FOX 5 contacted renowned San Diego chef Bernard Guillas of the Marine Room and chef Brian Marlarkey, both of whom were personal friends of Bourdain, but the chefs declined interviews.
Chef Antonio Friscia of Rustic Root in the Gaslamp said Bourdain was an inspiration to the culinary world, giving us all an opportunity to travel and experience the culture of food through his writing and reporting.
“I did not know Anthony,” said Chef Deborah Scott with the San Diego-based Cohn Restaurant Group. “The big picture here is that we really need to pay attention to mental health and the warning signs.”
She said Bourdain paved the way by broadening horizons, exploring other cultures and what a major role food plays in their contribution to the world.
If you or someone you know needs help, the crisis hotline number is 888-724-7240.