In the Weeds by Tom Vitale will be published by Hachette Books on Oct. 12

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Anthony Bourdain, Tom Vitale
Anthony Bourdain and Tom Vitale
| Credit: Todd Liebler

Anthony Bourdain was admired for his wit and humanity as he explored food across the globe — but he was loved even more by those who knew him off-camera.

For two years after the celebrity chef died by suicide in June 2018, Bourdain's longtime director and producer Tom Vitale says he was "unable to go back to work."

Instead, Vitale constantly thought about his life-changing adventures with his friend. The result is his upcoming book, In the Weeds: Around the World and Behind the Scenes with Anthony Bourdain, which will be published by Hachette Books on Oct. 12.

"By 2018 work had so thoroughly consumed my life anything (or anyone) that even hinted at getting in the way had to be destroyed. You would have done the same thing if you had my job. For over a decade I got paid to travel the world with Anthony Bourdain," Vitale says in a statement shared exclusively with PEOPLE.

"Then suddenly it was all over. With Tony's death not only did I lose a friend and mentor, but also my career and identity," adds Vitale, who also produced Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. "I spent the next two years lost in grief and unable to go back to work, instead silently reliving the whole amazing adventure.

"Eventually I decided to write some of it down. Once I started, I couldn't stop, there just wasn't anything else I could do. It was too bizarre and incredible a story not to tell."

In the Weeds Tom Vitale
Credit: Hachette Books

While fans loved Bourdain for both his candor and snark, he was "an enigma even to those close to him," according to the press release.

"Over the course of more than a decade traveling together, Tony became a boss, a friend, a hero and, sometimes, a tormentor," the description continues. "In the Weeds takes readers behind the scenes to reveal not just the insanity that went into filming in some of the most far-flung and volatile parts of the world, but what Tony was like unedited and off-camera."

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While Bourdain's shows seemed like "an all-expenses-paid adventure" to remote places, filming was rarely that straight-forward.

"What happened off-camera was far more interesting than what made it to air," explains the press release. "The more things went wrong, the better it was for the show. Fortunately, everything fell apart constantly."

Despite the chaotic nature of his work, Bourdain loved his career.

"I have the best job in the world," he once told PEOPLE. "I decide where we go. If I'm not having a good time, it's nobody's fault, it's a failure of the imagination."

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "help" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.