The life and legacy of Anthony Bourdain, in his own words

Bourdain, who was found dead at 61 on Friday, is remembered as a celebrated chef, author and TV personality.
7:07 | 06/09/18

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Transcript for The life and legacy of Anthony Bourdain, in his own words
Fellow travelers, this is what you want. This is what you need. This is the path to true happiness. And wisdom. Reporter: For Anthony bourdain, ever the intrepid adventurer, he took us to parts unknown. No location too remote. No dish too exotic. Eating bugs? That is so last network. Reporter: But his final destination was tragic. World-renowned chef, best-selling author, award-winning host of "Parts unknown," and our friend, Anthony bourdain, has died. Reporter: A hotel room in France where he was filming an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN show, the part we may never know is why, at age 61, this globe-trotting superstar appears to have taken his own life. He had a dream job. I try to avoid a social conscience. I try to avoid politics. I think -- I don't think that I have the gravitas. Reporter: And he was great at it. I have a sense I'm a profoundly lucky guy. Reporter: I first met bourdain in Lebanon in 2006. Bourdain happened to be there filming his show "No reservations." The rest of us were there to cover the war. I'm not Ted Koppel, you know? War coverage, serious correspondence, that's just not -- if anything, I thought it was ill-suited to the material, to say the least. Reporter: The experience gave him a new appreciation for comfort food. Dished out by U.S. Marines who finally got his team out. Tuna noodle casserole. It's a joke dish synonymous with awfulness. Now a welcome sign. A sign that things were Normal. That we were going home. Reporter: That ability to use food to find empathy, common ground, with people of vastly different experience, is what people loved about Anthony bourdain. Good to see you. Reporter: Today president Obama looked back on the extraordinary meal he shared with bourdain in Vietnam. I will walk you through it. Walk me through this. Reporter: A meal and a man the former president won't soon forget. Tweeting today, this is how I'll remember Tony. He taught us about food, but more importantly, about its ability to bring us together, to make us a little less afraid of the unknown. We'll miss him. And as head chef, he was equally blunt. I don't get these special appetizes in sin.12 seconds my head is going to explode! Reporter: He dared to reveal trade secrets that might make you think twice about dining out. When "Kit comment confidential" became a best seller in 2000, he gave "Nightline" a tour of his kitchen. Feel like you're in a noisy, tobacco-stained, loud, crowded, exuberant place just like in Paris, eating exactly the same kind of food. And so that's what people are looking forward to when they come here, and that's exactly what they get. It's about not just doing well, cooking well. It's cooking well always. Always being on time. Always being ready. Always making it the same way. Reporter: Among the trade secrets he revealed, don't order fish on a Monday. Because it won't be fresh off the boat. Check out the bathroom in your favorite restaurant. If it's dirty, the kitchen probably is too. And, never order eggs Benedict for Sunday brunch, in fact, steer clear of Sunday brunch altogether. Many restaurants save up their table butter. They'll heat it up, strain out the cigarette butts and bread crumbs, use that for the hollandaise. You're the guy who wrote the book about, don't eat from the restaurant if the bathroom is dirty. Now you're the guy who goes to Uzbekistan where there is no bathroom. Well, I was so wrong about so many things. You know -- I regret saying you should check out the bathroom, if the bathroom's filthy -- some of the best meals of my life the last seven years have been in absolutely septic environments with chickens and pigs running around. Reporter: Case in point, a meal he had with bushmen in Namibia, ostrich egg omelette cooked on the ground along with the anus of a wart hog. This is one time where "Well done" is eminently desirable. But no, this Hershey highway is served Al Dente. . Chewy. Reporter: Not something he'd ever have served at his restaurant. I like them medium well. Well-donners, used to hate them, but -- they pay to eat our garbage. You know, they want the toughest, oldest, nerviest, most unlovely steak that we have. And they are least likely to notice when we give it to them. They want carbonized shoe leather. Most restaurants are only too happy to give it to them. Do you miss being a chef? I miss sitting at the bar after work. Having served 300 meals. You know exactly how well you did, you know. Your fellow professionals know you did -- you were on your game. 300 meals went out, nothing came back. How has travel changed you? Having seen and fallen in love with, you know, Asia, south America, a lot of my old life, a lot what was we take for granted in America, is very flat to me. Reporter: He knew he was living the good life. But having struggled with addiction, he acknowledged his demons as well. I'd like to be happy. I should be happy. I have, you know, incredible luck. Uh-huh. I'd like to look out the window and say, hey, life is good. And you don't? No. Reporter: Bourdain is the second high-profile suicide this week. Just days after designer Kate spade. According to the CDC, suicide rates have been rising in every state but Nevada. Bourdain's mother tells "The new York Times" his close friend told her he had been in a dark mood these past couple of days. But to the outside world, there was little shine bourdain was at risk. France was bourdain's culinary home. This was the cuisine that launched it, and it was one he clearly enjoyed. His CNN show recently featured a French meal in Lyon prepared and served in the old style. I will never eat like this again in my life. Chef, merci. The meal of my life. Reporter: Tonight, for countless bourdain fans, there's that same sense of appreciating something magnificent, at the same time, knowing we'll never see it again. Our thanks to David. And if you are one of the ones struggling with dark thoughts, dial the national suicide prevention lifeline number. 1-800-273-8255. We'll be right back.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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