I often felt that Anthony Bourdain's best television shows, especially in his most recent series Parts Unknown, were essayistic. He led with a curious, questing persona, embodied by both his gregarious, ambling body and his thoughtful voice-overs, and he often allowed in the deeply personal, and at times confessional. Witness his deep despondency in Sicily, and his honest recounting of his addictions, among other bracing autobiographical moments. He was skeptical, hungry for knowledge, and always seemed open to surprise (of the blissful and the despairing varieties), to some measure of self-interrogation, and to the infinite, often surprising, usually joyous connections among disparate people and cultures. (He was, of course, a heck of a writer, too.) Food, as it was with M.F.K. Fisher, was the door opening onto the human condition.
He'll be missed.