Celebrities & Pop Culture

Man Says Anthony Bourdain Helped His Family Go From A One-Bedroom Apartment To Living Their Dream

Bourdain's reply when the man told him how much he'd helped them was so modest.

To Anthony Bourdain, it may have felt like he was just showing the world good places to eat. But, for many people, he was doing so much more than that. Upon Bourdain’s passing due to suicide last week, Jason Wang of New York’s Xi’an Famous Foods spoke out about all of the ways the beloved TV host helped his family.

Wang took to his restaurant group’s Twitter account to remember Bourdain. He told the story of the first time they met and how the foodie had a major impact on his life:

“I remember the time in 2007 when Tony first visited our basement food stall in Flushing for Travel Channel’s ‘No Reservations’ while I was still in college (even though I didn’t know who he was at the time),” Wang wrote. “I remember my father preparing interesting off-menu dishes to get his opinion on when he visited our store.”

Eight years after that initial meeting, and Bourdain’s recommendation of his family’s restaurant on national TV, Wang said he ran into the host and told him how much he’d done for them.

“I remember years later in 2015 after interviewing together for an article, I approached Tony and told him, while he may have no idea what he has done for our family and business by simply saying he enjoyed the food,” Wang wrote. “I wanted him to know it helped bring our family out from living in one room in Flushing to living the American dream.”

Wang said, because of Bourdain’s approval of their food, his family was able to grow their restaurant into a chain and “provide great food for our guests and opportunities for our employees.” When Wang told Bourdain how thankful he was to him, the chef just replied, “I’m just calling out good food like it is, that’s all.”

But, for Wang and his family — what Bourdain had done was life-changing.

In an article Wang wrote for the Huffington Post, he said:

“Tony was our company’s 伯乐 (bo le) ― a discoverer and promoter of potential. Without a bo le, our company would not enjoy the level of success we achieved. And through this role, he also changed my family’s life.”

Anthony Bourdain photo
Getty Images | Robin Marchant

To honor Bourdain’s memory, the Xi’an restaurant group went on to donate 100 percent of its net sales on June 8 to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

If you yourself have contemplated suicide or know someone who may have, resources like the Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be life savers.

Bourdain’s legacy clearly lives on and his work obviously had a major impact on a lot of people.