Anthony Bourdain's Custom Knife and Other Belongings Are Going up for Auction — and Proceeds Will Allow Future Chefs to Study Around the World
Proceeds will benefit the Culinary Institute of America and Bourdain's family.
In June, chefs Eric Ripert and José Andrés announced that they had partnered with the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to create a scholarship dedicated to the memory of Anthony Bourdain. The scholarship will be awarded to one or more students who intend to study abroad or are taking part in the school's international travel programs, which makes it an even lovelier tribute to the world-traveling Parts Unknown host.
“Anthony Bourdain opened the world of food and different cultures to all through his brilliant storytelling,” CIA President Dr. Tim Ryan said at the time. “He often came to campus to speak with students about food and world cultures, his career, and the importance of authenticity in being a chef. It is therefore fitting that his memory is being honored at the CIA through a scholarship for students interested in experiencing cuisines and cultures around the globe.”
The Culinary Institute has been accepting donations for the scholarship, but a just-announced auction of some of Bourdain's personal belongings will also help fund it. According to The New York Times, more than 200 pieces that belonged to the late chef will be sold online in October, including artwork, his mid-century Peter Løvig Nielsen writing desk, and some of his own books, records, and manuscripts. The sale will be available to preview on the Lark Mason auction house website (www.larkmason.com/auctions) starting on October 2, and the online bidding will take place between October 9 and October 30.
"The pieces in this auction include his entire collection and estate, so there is a range of items," a spokesperson for Lark Mason told Food & Wine. "His art collection was principally made up of a small group of artists he favored and connected with, including Ralph Steadman, Brad Phillips and John Lurie. He was loyal to these artists and he purchased various pieces from each of them. When choosing a work for his collection, he often worked directly with the artists themselves, and with his assistant, Lorie Woolover."
One of the most unique items—and the one that Lark Mason expects to sell for the highest price—is a meteorite and steel knife made by master bladesmith Bob Kramer. "I might have to go back to working brunch shifts to afford it. But I now own a Kramer knife," Bourdain wrote in a 2016 Instagram post shortly after he'd gotten the blade. "Samurai quality, 800 layers of pounded meteorite and steel. I plan on just sitting here gazing at it for a few days before taking it out for a drive."
“He was thrilled, and I was thrilled,” Kramer told the Times. “He walked right to the bar and he was like, ‘Oh man, I’ve been looking forward to this.’ He held [the knife], looked at me, I don’t know, we just connected there for a second. Because he got it and I’d made it for him.”
Lark Mason estimates that the market value of all 215 pieces is between $200,000 and $400,000. Sixty percent of the proceeds will be given to Bourdain's wife and daughter, while the rest will be put toward the Anthony Bourdain Legacy Scholarship. The college hopes that the first of these scholarships will be awarded to one or more of its students for the Spring 2020 semester.
Bourdain graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1978, and in 2017, he was given an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in Culinary Arts—right after he finished giving the commencement address. "Please go out there in this new world that is being created right in front of us right now [...] and change that world for the better," he told the graduating class. Hopefully, the funding of the CIA's Bourdain scholarship will allow future chefs to do just that.