Eric Ripert, Who Was with Anthony Bourdain in France When He Died, Speaks Out for the First Time

"We used to play pranks on each other and we used to have a lot of fun but he never criticized my food, which was nice," Ripert said of his friendship with Bourdain.

Chef and co-owner of Michelin-starred restaurant Le Bernandin Eric Ripert is publicly opening up about his friendship with Anthony Bourdain for the first time since his death in June.

Ripert, who was filming Parts Unknown with the TV host in France at the time of his death, tells CBS This Morning: “We had 20 years of friendship on television and off television because I was invited on the show many times and we were traveling and it was always tremendous fun.”

He also shared his insight on Bourdain’s “curious personality.”

“[Anthony was] very respectful of cultures and he wanted to share with the public his discoveries,” Ripert says. “The idea was do not be scared of traveling and do not be scared going to other countries and do not stay at the resort, do not stay at the hotel and eat the normal menu. Just go out, go in the street and engage with people. Try the food and learn the culture from that experience and I think he did really well in breaking walls, right, in between us and other countries that we sometimes are a bit scared or nervous to visit and that was really a great part of his legacy.”

Ripert reminisced on some of their good times together, including their nationwide tour Good vs. Evil.

“We were actually amazed we were sold out in theaters,” he told CBS. “We used to play pranks on each other and we used to have a lot of fun but he never criticized my food, which was nice.”

RELATED VIDEO: Andrew Zimmern Remembers Last Conversation With Anthony Bourdain

Two days before Bourdain was found dead in his luxury hotel room, the close friends were spotting riding in the countryside on a tandem bicycle.

After a final season of the hit CNN show, the network confirmed to PEOPLE that the episode Ripert and Bourdain were filming in the Alsace region of France when he died will not air.

“From the completed footage, the producers were able to create five location episodes (including Kenya, Asturias, Indonesia, and Far West Texas) plus two specials,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Alsace was not included.”

Following his death, Ripert told PEOPLE: “Anthony was a dear friend. He was an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous. One of the great storytellers of our time who connected with so many. I wish him peace. My love and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones.”

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