BUTTE – In October of 2015, Anthony Bourdain stopped in Butte with a film crew to shoot an episode of his CNN travel show “Parts Unknown.” It was clear the late celebrity chef and journalist made a lasting impression on those who met him.
“I found him to be really interesting, cynical to a fault, almost, he had a healthy cynicism, but he was the kind of guy I’d like to spend more time with,” said Brian McGregor, owner of the Silver Dollar Saloon in Butte.
Amanda Curtis remembers speaking with Bourdain about Butte’s labor history.
“He was great to talk to, he was kind, he was really interesting and engaging I could have sat there and drank whiskey with him all night. I was just so pleased with the way he portrayed the Montana and the Butte that I know and I felt just so proud to be from here,” Curtis said.
For Don Andrews, Bourdain was his idol when he was younger, because he wanted to be a chief. He met him years earlier in Portland but didn’t have a piece of paper for an autograph.
“And so I just took off my hat and had him sign my head and I was so excited I ran home through the Portland rain and was going to take a picture of it, but by the time I got home the rain had made it just run and I just looked like a deranged clown,” Andrews said.
Those who got a chance to meet with Anthony Bourdain during his visit to the Mining City said he was genuinely interested in Butte’s labor history.
They also said he had a bit of a zest for excess and somewhat of a dark side.
“I think he went through a whole bottle of the Neversweat during that scene,” said Andrews. “Yeah, he could definitely put them away.”
McGregor added, “He was kind of dark, you know. Whatever the subject was, he would pull out the darkest option of conversion. You talk about the history of the United States and he’d start talking about genocide, that kind of thing.”
Those who met the great story-teller found his death by suspected suicide shocking, but Don Andrews won’t call it a tragedy.
“You know, I don’t think of his death as a tragedy, because I think of his life as such a magnificent thing. You know, I think it’s just the end and all stories have to come to an end, it doesn’t make it a bad story,” Andrews said.