June 8, 2018

Central Mass. companies remember Anthony Bourdain's 2017 visit

Courtesy | Brian Treitman
B.T.'s Smokehouse owner Brian Treitman poses for a photo with Anthony Bourdain during his visit to Southbridge last year.

Last summer, Anthony Bourdain visited Southbridge, Mass., of all places.

The celebrity chef, traveler, author and television host who reportedly took his own life Friday morning at the age of 61, visited Southbridge drum maker SJC Drums last July.

While there for his show Raw Craft, which aired last November, Bourdain watched as owner Mike Cirpari and his team hand crafted a snare drum - using wood from whiskey barrels - for Green Day drummer Tre Cool.

Once finished, Bourdain and the SJC crew enjoyed a glass of Balvenie whiskey - which gave the wood its unique aroma.

"We are deeply saddened by the news of Anthony Bourdain passing," Ciprari said in a statement to WBJ, extending condolences from himself and the company to Bourdain's family, friends and colleagues. "We are honored to have been able to work with such a talented human in so many aspects. Rest in peace Anthony."

When not filming, Bourdain and others were served catering from Sturbridge BBQ joint B.T.'s Smokehouse.

The restaurant on July 19 posted to Facebook a photo of Bourdain and his customary unbuttoned shirt enjoying a meal.

"When Anthony Bourdain comes to town, you feed him BBQ," the restaurant wrote.

Owner Brian Treitman said it was an honor to feed Bourdain, who he credited as being his inspiration to enter culinary school.

The two chatted while Bourdain dined on brisket, ribs, chicken and a medley of sides. Treitman said Bourdain told him the food was among the best BBQ he's ever had.

Treitman said he and dozens of other classmates viewed Bourdain as their culinary role model. Many were inspired by his book "Kitchen Confidential," which came out as Treitman entered culinary school at the Culinary Institute of America.

"That was a huge reason why a bunch of people went [to culinary school]," he said.

According to Treitman, the culinary industry can breed the kind of addiction that Bourdain is said to have struggled with.

On Sunday, the restaurant is donating 10 percent of its proceeds to the Central Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Coalition.

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