She wanted to pay tribute to the late chef and author, who was found dead by suicide in his hotel room in France while shooting an upcoming episode of the hit Netflix show with his friend Eric Ripert in June, by creating a trip through her native country that would honor his legacy and allow people to explore Vietnam the same way he did.
“As a self-proclaimed foodie, Anthony Bourdain is my hero,” Nguyen says. “I have been following his work, from his TV debut on No Reservations to his most recent show, Parts Unknown. In both his book, Kitchen Confidential, and the show, he inspires generations of young ‘Glorified Dishwashers’ to become so much more, just as he once did with his career.”
“To meet him, not to mention assisting him and working with his crew on his show was literally a dream come true!” she continues. “The experience of a lifetime not only helped me understand the man himself, but how his love for my beautiful Vietnam developed over good food and conversation. To say thanks and pay tribute to Anthony Bourdain, the trip ‘A Tribute to Anthony Bourdain: Taste of Vietnam’ is everything I would like to offer for everyone who loves him, fall for (or is curious about) Vietnam, and, of course, would love our food.”
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The 14-day, 13-night tour hits nine cities in the Southeast Asian country and retraces the late chef’s footsteps. It kicks off in Ho Chi Minh City with dinner at one of Bourdain’s favorite restaurants featured on No Reservations, Com Nieu. Guests on the excursion will also visit the Opera House, the Ben Tre province, and cruise the Chet Say River. Of course, the trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Hoi An’s Central Market or a meal at the small hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Hanoi where Bourdain treated President Barack Obama to a meal. The table and chairs where they dined are now encased in glass.
“There is no better place to entertain the leader of the free world, in my opinion, than one of these classic, funky, family-run noodle shops you find all over Hanoi,” Bourdain said during the episode. “Dinner and a beer cost about $6. I’m guessing the president doesn’t get a lot of state dinners like this.”
The trip through Exotic Voyages is customizable, and the price includes all meals, accommodations and transportation (not including airfare). Rates begin at $3,755 per person.
It was no secret that Bourdain advocated for everyone who was able to see the world to do so. In his book Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, he wrote: “If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel — as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them — wherever you go.”
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.