Anthony Bourdain, CNN host and celebrity chef, dead: A look at his career

Anthony Bourdain traveled the world, bringing into American homes cuisine and cultures otherwise undiscovered. From working in a Massachusetts seafood restaurant to eating a still-beating cobra heart in Saigon, Bourdain’s career took him to places many adventure-seekers and wanderlusts only dream of.

Bourdain, who was 61, was found dead Friday from an apparent suicide.

"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," CNN said in a statement. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

Read on for a look at Bourdain’s storied career.

The beginning

Anthony Bourdain’s first job was a dishwasher in Massachusetts, he told The Boston Globe.

“I was sharing a house in Provincetown one summer with a bunch of friends from high school. I was not contributing to the rent, and everybody I was living with was working in seasonal jobs at restaurants either as cooks or floor staff,” he said. “One night they just said, we need a dishwasher and it’s going to be you, since you are not contributing to the rent. So I got started as a dishwasher and fell in love with the whole business and the whole subculture.”

Bourdain dropped out of Vassar College after two years to pursue a career in the culinary world. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978 and from there went on to work in various restaurant kitchens, including One Fifth Avenue and Sullivan's.

His big break came when he was appointed executive chef at Brasserie Les Halles in 1998.

A book deal

Bourdain’s first book, "Kitchen Confidential," was published in 2000. He told The Boston Globe that the best-seller stemmed from an article he wrote for The New Yorker.

He wrote several more best sellers after that.

Television career

Bourdain first reveled to Food Network viewers with the show “A Cook’s Tour.” Bourdain traveled the world, teaching his viewers about local cuisine and restaurants. The show ran from 2002 to 2003.

Next came “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel, where Bourdain traveled the world with his viewers from 2005 to 2012.

In 2013, Bourdain joined CNN for “Parts Unknown.”

“For more than a decade, Anthony Bourdain has been a trailblazer in educating Americans about different cuisines and cultures around the world, as well as an outspoken commentator on social trends ranging from the rise of celebrity chefs to the impact of fast- food chains to the spread of vegetarianism and veganism,” CNN’s executive vice president and managing editor Mark Whitaker said at the time.

Dinner with the president in Vietnam

Bourdain dined with then-President Barack Obama in Hanoi.

The meeting with Obama was kept a complete secret – even from CNN, Bourdain said.

“We had been talking for nearly a year. It was very, very closely held,” Bourdain told Politico. “CNN did not know, the camera people did not know. Only a very tight group at [production company] Zero Point Zero, my partners, me and very few people at the White House. It was very closely held."

At the dinner, Bourdain praised Obama for being “on point” with how he used his chopsticks. The table where they ate was preserved by the restaurant in a glass case.

‘Highlight of his career’

Bourdain recently traveled to Hong Kong in what he called the “professional highlight” of his career in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Fox News' Sasha Savitsky contributed to this report.