Travel Tales with Fergal – Remembering Anthony Bourdain

The Travel Tales with Fergal Podcast is a very special episode celebrating the life of the world renowned travel and food writer and broadcaster Anthony Bourdain with interviews with Patrick Radden Keeffe from the New Yorker who wrote the definitive profile of him.

Laurie Woolever who was his assistant and who has just released a brilliant biography on Tony and Paddy Daly who was his producer for many shows in Ireland and who originally is from Ennis, Co.Clare.


Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential and host-writer of the seminal food and travel series Parts Unknown, didn’t review restaurants so much as entire cultures, places and foods. By the time of his untimely death, he had public figures like Barak Obama asking to go on his show in a memorable episode in Vietnam.

Bourdain began his path to international fame as a writer, and throughout his career he’s been known for his wit and storytelling abilities. His writing is filled with rich tales of kitchen life in his New York City restaurants, his thoughts on the places he’d visited, and the pleasures of opening minds to new experiences. Bourdain’s work articulated a way of life that celebrated food, travel, and cultural exchange.

Laurie Woolever, a brilliant and prolific US journalist, was Bourdain’s “lieutenant” for many years. Her highly acclaimed book Bourdain in Stories is an “oral history”-style collection of stories from his family, friends, crew, brigade and TV colleagues. It reveals a vulnerable side to the man and adds remarkable depth to his onscreen persona.

Patrick Radden Keefe is a staff writer with the New Yorker and the author of a number of bestselling books including the award winning Empire of Pain about the Sackler family, Purdue Pharma and OxyContin in 2021. Patrick talks on the podcast about his deep shock on hearing of Bourdain’s suicide “It did not compute. Who was more volcanically alive? A chef turned writer and television host, he had designed a fantasy existence—travelling around the world, budget be damned, meeting interesting people and eating delectable food—and turned it into a paying job. Tony himself tended to describe his good fortune as if he’d pulled off a spectacular heist”.

Keefe spent a year hanging with Tony in New York and Vietnam and interviewing family and friends for the definitive profile of Tony Bourdain. “Tony will be remembered for his infectious enthusiasm and his brash exuberance, but I was most inspired by his capacity for reinvention. Looking back over my notebooks this morning, I recognised dark threads running through our conversations. Bourdain freely acknowledged that part of the reason he continued to work at such a frantic pace might have been a fear about where his mind might go if he ever sat still”.

Woolever interviewed nearly 100 people from the television personality’s life, bringing together a portrait of a man more complicated, curious, and vulnerable than most of his fans realised. Bourdain was an evangelist for shining a light on local cuisine, cultures and landscapes from places often rarely visited and thus making the world a more accessible and infinitely more interesting place.

The Travel Tales with Fergal Anthony Bourdain Remembered Special podcast episode is available on all podcast platforms and from