Cookbook Club

4 Anthony Bourdain Dishes We'll Keep in Our Recipe Books Forever

July 13, 2018

The untimely death of Anthony Bourdain on June 8 brought the culinary world to its collective knees. The TV host, correspondent, and chef inspired and captured “foodies” around the world with his raw, no-holds-barred style of adventure, encouraging most of us to tear down boundaries and get out there.

But Bourdain also made an impact in one area that’s frequently overlooked: the home kitchen. Before his death, Bourdain wrote two cookbooks, Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook and Appetites: A Cookbook, both full of the punchy, gritty writing style we all came to know and love, but also recipes that are easy to recreate in home kitchens—French Bistro cooking in the former, and a melange of global comfort food in the latter.

In honor of Bourdain, our Cookbook Club added both of Bourdain’s books as options to cook through in June. Here are the dishes that will live on in our hearts (and stomachs) forever:

Macau-Style Pork Chop Sandwich

Bourdain describes this as possibly the most delicious thing in Appetites, so it had a lot to live up to for our members. In the book, Bourdain writes that they had trouble shooting it for the show because everyone kept eating the “models”! This crispy pork chop served on fluffy sandwich bread with a dollop of spicy chili sauce is everything Bourdain said it was.

Bodega Sandwiches

This eggy, cheesy sandwich is the ultimate comfort food to any New Yorker—and Bourdain decided to share the magic with everyone in Appetites. Bacon, egg, and cheese are housed in a squishy, tender Kaiser roll. For the full experience, served wrapped in foil, alongside “shitty coffee.”

another tasty egg and cheese sandwich

Roasted Beets with Red Onion and Oranges

It seems counter-intuitive to include such a simple dish, but Bourdain had mastered the art of elevating the “simple” and this flavorful dish—a combo of earthy beets, kicky cider vinegar, crunchy red onions, and tart citrus—is no exception. In Appetites, Bourdain writes that he frequently made and served it to his daughter, which is reason enough why you should try it, too.

Mushroom Soup

This recipe from Les Halles was conflict-inducing in the group: to truffle oil, or not to truffle oil? While Bourdain recommends a dollop in the cookbook, he later writes, in Appetites, that “if you add truffle oil... you should be punched in the kidneys.” Oh, Tony. Regardless of whether you love (or hate) truffles, Bourdain’s love for food was sparked by a bowl of vichyssoise, the cold French staple, he ate as a fourth-grader on a cruise—a subtle reminder that we should all look for magic in our soup bowl.

There's been an outpouring of touching testimonials in the Cookbook Club, here are just a few of our members' thoughts on why Bourdain was so inspiring:

He writes for people that cook and the flavors are definitely not meek—they are strong, punchy, and opinionated, much like the legend himself. - Bianca Waller

Tony Bourdain wasn't a brilliant chef. He happily admitted that. But he was a genius at telling the stories of people flying under the radar, in the margins, and sometimes deeply misunderstood. - Catherine Chapin Mayhew

The old saying goes, the people who give you their food, give you their heart. And Tony? Well, he gave it all...and we are all better because he did so. May his big, beautiful spirit soar high and happy and shine through in all of all we are and all we do, especially in the kitchen. - Jeanine Egan Licciardi

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Charles Blaskoski
    Charles Blaskoski
  • Eric Walton
    Eric Walton
  • Boomdog02
  • ginglekitty
  • jodyrah
Laura Ratliff

Written by: Laura Ratliff

A life-long lover of food, I spend my weekends at farmers' markets, , shaking up cocktails (currently obsessed with tiki), and generally making a mess in my Brooklyn kitchen.


Charles B. February 21, 2019
I read this whole article in my head in the voice of Anthony Bourdain. Thanks, this made me think of him and his stories.

Eric W. October 2, 2018
I've been a fan of Tony's work since his very first show. The news of his passing hit my surprisingly hard. His was a voice of honesty, truth, and reason in these crazy and surreal times we live in. I wrote this in his honor:
Change Me

Overly concerned
with all the things
that stand between us
instead of commonalities
that could draw us close.

Then the wheels
touch down and
our hearts open
and dreams unfold.

It’s our right to
refuse a life
of frenzied compression,
to run away from
the blasé, overpriced tour
of Yelp’s top f*cking ten.

I want my boots
on the ground,
to wander a quiet street
until I can hear
its ghosts laugh and cry.

I want to feel
the souls of its people,
and savor the
love in its food.

So let the sun weave
its thin strands of light
through the branches
of those old elms
on your boulevards
until I feel dizzy and lost.

What I thought I knew
will be gnarled
and it will be dappled but
I promise I will be a better me
than when the wheels touched down
and you will be a better you,
bon voyage.

Julie L. October 10, 2018
Eric I love your poem. Your words touched my heart. It seems you travel the way I like to.
Patty January 28, 2019
Eric, this is a fantastic poem. Well done..and such a great evoking of Bourdain's spirit and how he touched us all. Thank you!
Boomdog02 September 13, 2018
I have, for months now, struggled to put into words the loss I feel from the death of Anthony Bourdain. Yes, you could call me a fan, groupie, follower, etc. The fact is that I connected with him on some level. Perhaps as a chef, a foodie, and as (aspiring) writer. Perhaps it’s because he traveled to places we only dream about going.
Let's face it…he had a dream job. Traveling to all corners of the world, immersing himself into the food and culture of places we’ve often never heard of. More than that, giving us the “inside “story. Yes, he met with his share of dignitaries and upper crust..but more than often he chose to walk in the shoes of the everyday locals, the poor, and walk the road less traveled to get the true taste of the country. He was, to me, a man of the people he met.

Through his travels (he learned) and was quoted as saying, “we have so much more in common than that which separates us”. And finally, what really spoke about the essence of the man…"the greatest meal in the world is not worth having if you can’t share it with someone”. As his first wife said at his passing, and most appropriately,… “I hope you are having a good trip, wherever you are.” Amen
ginglekitty September 1, 2018
Lesson in Life from Bourdain: Bad Company (Asia) cause of death and waste of $$$. They give bad name to #MeToo.
jodyrah August 29, 2018
Chea W. August 28, 2018
I think Bourdain was his authenic self. I miss him. If you don't like it move on.
FS August 28, 2018
And who are you to tell anyone to move on? Miss him all you like but respect the fact that not everyone is enamored with Bourdain. I found it rather interesting that AB paid off the underage boy who was sexually molested by Asia Argento, AB's girlfriend. What a sweet man!
Picholine September 17, 2018
Oh dear! FS let’s not speak of things that now AB can no longer defend. Please this site is not about unproved rumors and only about his abilities and the man. Let’s show some respect.
FS September 17, 2018
If you're referring to AB paying off the underage boy molested by Asia Argento, it's not an unproved rumor. Do your research.
It's not disrespectful to reflect on AB's flaws, he was human after all. Let's not worship the man, hm?
Picholine September 17, 2018
If that’s what you feel you need to reflect on here on a food site it’s certainly your right. I guess I feel this is maybe the wrong forum. What do I know I only thought we were commenting on food and food related issues. I never worship any man or woman ...just the cooking.
Edward September 22, 2018
Are you here to talk about food and the man's contributions to the food world or spew your disdain for an icon? You're in the wrong place, try the National Enquirer
FS September 22, 2018
You really need to keep your abject admiration in check. This thread is about Bourdain, not food. Maybe someone should explain the difference to you.
Just in case you still don't understand: I don't have disdain, spewed or otherwise. I feel pity for him, and for those he left behind. But I dislike his humble brag attitude and his hateful comments about people who didn't like animal fat as much as he did. He compared vegetarians and vegans to terrorists - so if anyone's had disdain it's Bourdain.
loots_McGoots September 23, 2018
You really need to keep that annoying, unnecessary, overbearing attitude in check. Regardless of whether this thread is about Bourdain or food, it's certainly not about you. Maybe someone should explain the difference to you. Just in case you still don't understand: No one cares what you like and what you don't. I dislike the fact that you act like you're so enlightened when really you're just bullying people who are trying to read an article about a celebrity they liked. Nothing you're saying in this forum is going to change anything. You're not stopping anyone from being victimized. You're just serving yourself at the expense of other people. You're victimizing us with your recreational outrage and you should find a forum where your comments might actually do some good. Best of luck finding one.
FS September 30, 2018
Ooooh, aren't you the tough one? Guess what, I know none of this is about me, so stop trying to make it about me. My point is simply that AB isn't the saint people try to make him out to be.
Don't be so defensive when someone points out that your deity has feet of clay. People who admire others blindly tend to get that way, I've noticed.
Jennifer October 2, 2018
This article and blog is about food.
diane G. August 13, 2018
Bodega sandwich? NY deli breakfast sandwich for past 50 years (maybe longer) and so yummy - buttered roll and coffee standard on your commute but adding eggs and cheese. I miss my deli breakfast sandwich and buttered rolls.
Renée R. July 29, 2018
Last night for dinner I made the Macau Pork Chop Sandwiches and served them with watermelon goat cheese salad. It was a magnificent meal. He was right. The sandwiches are indeed completely delicious. Damn, my heart is going to hurt forever when I think about the loss of this glorious man.
Ruth July 28, 2018
Ruth July 28, 2018
The link showing //firstwefeast has the pork chop sandwich recipe.
Rosalind P. July 28, 2018
I too looked for the recipes; after all, isn't that the promise of this website. Here's a link to the actual mushroom soup recipe:
jodyrah July 28, 2018
I made the Macau pork chop sandwich. All I can say is, if this is the tastiest recipe in the book, I’ll pass on the rest. Glad I did not waste $33 on the book. You can google the recipe titles to get the recipes.
George July 27, 2018 I knew that I could get the recipes and 100's more if I were to purchase the cookbook. But normally when someone reviews a book, with examples, the recipes for those examples are offered to further entice the reader to make the purchase. Obviously that was not the case in this instance. I guess I misunderstood.
Wendiamm July 27, 2018
I also would like the links to the recipes. They are not currently included in the article. Thank you.
Wendiamm July 27, 2018
I, too, would like the links to the recipes. There are no links in this article.
George July 27, 2018
Please put a link up for the recipes......
Johanna Z. July 27, 2018
Why even post this article without the recipes?!!!?
Eric K. July 27, 2018
Hello George, Johanna, and Wendiamm:
You can find the recipes in both of Bourdain's cookbooks:
Our Cookbook Club (which you should join! honored Bourdain last month by cooking through those print books, and this post was a celebration of the Club's favorite dishes. Thank you for reading our remembrance of the late chef; hope this explains a little where the story came from.
Jonilawrence July 26, 2018
I think it's funny some folks think he had a big ego. He really didn't. The opposite in fact. He was incredibly self deprecating. He was opinionated but not egotistic.
Ann-Marie G. July 27, 2018
You know now that I think about it, you’re right. It was more about being opinionated than egocentric. He wasn’t shy about sharing his and tweaking a few noses along the way. All I know is I’ll miss his voice. His recent cookbook made me both laugh out loud and scurry to the kitchen to make something he described.
[email protected] July 26, 2018
You can make the beets with your eyes closed. Yellow beets, goat cheese, basil is good too. I meant no more Bourdain PLEASE.
Edward September 22, 2018
No one asked you to read the article right? Show some respect.
Deborah C. July 26, 2018
No, Ands I cannot see the recipes either boohoohoo
Deborah C. July 26, 2018
Amanda, I meant to address you. Not whatever phone said
[email protected] July 26, 2018
No no no.
Amanda E. July 26, 2018
Can anyone see a link to an actual recipe?
I can not.