How Did Anthony Bourdain’s Final Book Come Together?

Laurie Woolever discusses her final collaboration with Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain in 2005
Chef Anthony Bourdain from New York in Sydney, 17 March 2005.
Fairfax Media via Getty Images

This week brings with it the debut of a new book by the late Anthony Bourdain. World Travel: An Irreverent Guide is a posthumous collaboration between Bourdain and his longtime assistant Laurie Woolever. This isn’t the first book credited to both; they also worked together on the 2016 cookbook Appetites. And later this year will bring the release of Woolever’s next book, Bourdain: The Oral Biography.

What was the process like to get World Travel made? In a new interview with Sarah Neilson at Eater, Woolever discussed the circumstances that led to the book’s publication.

As the article points out, Bourdain was at work on the book at the time of his death in 2018. Woolever made the decision to continue on with it, adding a host of additional material from Bourdain’s family and colleagues. Neilson notes that the book was delayed due to production issues; it was originally scheduled for a 2020 release.

Woolever told Neilson that a brainstorming session with Bourdain helped to give the book its structure. From there, she went back into her archives. “We were in daily correspondence by email for almost 10 years, so there was a lot of interesting stuff in the back-and-forth of details of places he was and places he wanted to go,” she said. “And then talking to people — I have good relationships with a lot of the people that worked on his television shows, so they were a huge help.”

The end result is another piece in a fascinating bibliography about food and travel — and someone who helped countless people rethink the way they look at food.


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