From a 19th-century duck press to a meteorite-forged Bob Kramer chef's knife to artwork by Ralph Steadman, Brad Phillips and John Lurie, the personal collection of Anthony Bourdain's equipment, curios and art reflects a life of adventure and eclectic taste. The Kitchen Confidential author and Parts Unknown host had become one of the world's beloved culinary personalities by the time of his death in 2018, and now, a charity auction is giving fans the chance to bid on items the chef acquired, wore and cooked with, as well as a few manuscripts of his original work.
The auction of more than 200 lots from Bourdain's estate, which started Oct. 9 and will run through Oct. 30, will direct 40% of the gaveled revenues toward the Anthony Bourdain Legacy Scholarship at the Culinary Institute of America, which provides funds for young chefs to travel and learn from diverse cultures and restaurants. "[The family and estate] wanted to make sure it was positive, thoughtful, and true to him," Niki Tilliakos, head specialist at auction firm Lark Mason Associates, told Unfiltered. "To have an aspect where they were able to give back."
Laurie Woolever, Bourdain's assistant and "gatekeeper" told Unfiltered that the auction is "an opportunity for these things to get into the hands of those who followed and supported him." It serves "not only for enriching one's personal collection, but also the next generation of chefs at the CIA."
Some of the highlights of the auction include the press, a device used to, well, press ducks of their fluids. (The juice would then be collected and made into a sauce with Cognac.) A knife from bladesmith Bob Kramer, forged for Bourdain from steel and meteorite (per Woolever, "very much an object that was meant to be used"), is also getting attention. In addition to works by Steadman, Lurie and Phillips, there are anatomical sculptures, a Nepalese mask, a framed photo and note from Billy Joel, a Tom Ford suit Bourdain wore to the Emmys and, perhaps most attractive to Bourdain's followers, early manuscripts with drafts, sketches and poems by the man himself, including the outline of an idea for a club of young, rebel chefs he called "Kitchen Confidential."
The auction is being held online, though most of the lots are also on display at Lark Mason Associates auction floor in Upper Manhattan. Bidding is now open.
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