'Top Chef' Judge Mourns Anthony Bourdain: 'Best Was Yet to Come'

Anthony Bourdain died of an apparent suicide Friday, and many of his culinary colleagues have spoken out in remembrance of the late chef.

One of those colleagues is Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio, who shared his thoughts with The Hollywood Reporter, noting that he believed "the best was yet to come" from Bourdain.

Colicchio noted that in his heart, Bourdain was a writer, a fact cemented by his breakthrough 2000 book Kitchen Confidential.

"He was really a writer — originally a struggling one who was writing murder mysteries under a different name — and he wound up in the kitchen," Colicchio said. "He was thoughtful and found a way to fit into the food world when he no longer wanted to cook. I feel that the best was yet to come and now those stories aren't going to be told."

He adds of his death: "We are all grappling with the fact that it's hard to understand how he was in that dark place and didn't find help, and I feel really bad that his best friend had to find him. It's so rough, and I don't know how to process it."

Colicchio himself had received a shoutout in Kitchen Confidential, with the chef crediting Bourdain for his approach to the culinary world.

"Prior to Kitchen Confidential, I didn't know Anthony, but like all young chefs, I read the book," he recalled. "He took the scab off the industry. If you were in the book you generally got slammed, but he mentioned me at the end as one of the guys who got it. When we eventually met, both of our party days were well behind us.”

The two chefs recently came together to speak out in support of the sexual harassment allegations against chef Mario Batali, with Colicchio applauding Bourdain's willingness to speak out.

"What we are going to miss is the best of him," Colicchio said. "He was willing to speak up and he came out strongly against sexual harassment in our industry. Privately we talked about it, and it was good to have someone who was willing to put himself out there."

Bourdain had served as a guest judge on Top Chef multiple times since the show began, with the series' host, Padma Lakshmi, also remembering the late chef.

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“It’s obviously hard on all of us,” she told People. “He was great on Top Chef. He brought a breath of fresh air and a new energy and made it his own. He was very much himself. He made me laugh the whole time. He was like a swashbuckling pirate that just out of nowhere landed onto our judges table."

Photo Credit: Parts Unknown / CNN