September 22, 2020

Gladys Bourdain, Who Helped Her Son Reach an Audience, Dies at 85

“She came over, and she said, ‘You know, your husband’s got this new job,’” Ms. Fein (who left The Times in 1999) said on Monday. “‘I hate to sound like a pushy mom, but I’m telling you this with my editor’s hat on, not my mother’s hat on. It’s really good, and it’s really interesting, but nobody will look at it, nobody will call him back or give it a second look. Could you put it in your husband’s hands?’”

Ms. Fein persuaded Mr. Remnick to read the article, and The New Yorker published it under the title “Don’t Eat Before Reading This.” Mr. Bourdain later said that he had a book deal in a matter of days after that.

Expanding on the article, he wrote “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly” (2000), an unflinching look at the food service industry that became a No. 1 New York Times best seller.

The book’s success propelled Mr. Bourdain from a brasserie kitchen onto television, as the host of “No Reservations” and “Parts Unknown,” on which he traveled the world sampling different foods and engaging with different cultures.

Mr. Bourdain committed suicide in 2018 at 61.

[Read Anthony Bourdain’s obituary.]

Ms. Bourdain memorialized her son with a tattoo of his name on her wrist — her first and only tattoo.

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