Viral Olive Garden Reviewer Remembers Anthony Bourdain: 'He Was Nothing but Kind'

Anthony Bourdain touched the lives of many before his tragic suicide on Friday. Of those people included 92-year-old food critic Marylin Hagerty, who had nothing but kind things to say about Bourdain after his passing.

Hagerty went viral back in 2012 after writing a serious review for the food chain Olive Garden. Even though her review was positive, many social media users found it absurd for a food critic to seriously critique a food chain restaurant.

But Bourdain, who was always open-minded about food and food criticism, stepped out of the woodwork to support Hagerty in her efforts.

"People were saying what a funny strange thing it was for anyone to write about the Olive Garden, and all of a sudden Anthony Bourdain came to my side," Hagerty said in an interview with TIME. "He said he agreed with the people at first, and as he thought about it more, he seemed to appreciate the fact that for people in middle America, it's part of how we eat."

The Parts Unknown host met with Hagerty later that year and convinced her to write her own book about her reviews. As a result, she wrote Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews in 2013 and had it personally published by Bourdain.

"I expected to meet some kind of character," she recalled. "I found him to be not a wild, reckless character of a person, as I had expected. I found him to be a very pleasant businessman and journalist."

"To me, he was nothing but kind and a gentleman," she added

Bourdain also wrote the foreword for the book.

"Anyone who comes away from this work anything less than charmed by Ms. Hagerty — and the places and characters she describes — has a heart of stone," Bourdain wrote. "This book kills snark dead."

The 61-year-old was found dead in an apartment in France on Friday morning. CNN confirmed his death was suicide by hanging.


"It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain," CNN stated in a press release. "His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time."

If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).