One of Anthony Bourdain's last "Parts Unknown" shows filmed at Lost Creek Farm

By Connect Clarksburg Staff | July 06, 2018

By Mike Costello.  

When Bourdain visited Lost Creek Farm, I knew who he was. It took his tragic death for me to understand why he truly mattered.

Last Friday morning started out well within the realm of the ordinary. Just before 7 a.m., I walked downstairs, put the coffee on and headed to my desk to make a to-do list for the day ahead. As I looked out the window of my home office and watched the fog rise from our bottom meadow, I drifted back to a conversation from the previous night. It was one I had with several friends about the time Anthony Bourdain visited last September, filming a scene for Parts Unknown

That retrospective exchange also seemed routine by then. Ever since the West Virginia episode aired in late-April, I’ve found myself immersed in endless chatter about Bourdain’s CNN show, in its 11th season. Everyone in the state seems to have opinions about the outcome, and almost everyone has questions about the experience. “What was it like,” they ask, “you know, to have been on his show? What was it like to have had his film crew at the farm? What was it like to have met Anthony Bourdain?”  

“It was surreal; It was stressful; He was cool, actually pretty down-to-earth.”

I’ve offered up some combination of those answers dozens of times by now, often just before pivoting away from Bourdain himself, to the fair and honest way I thought Parts Unknown represented the Mountain State, or how I hoped our segment might play a small role in celebrating Appalachian food, something my earliest culinary mentors thought belonged in the garbage, not on television. I never minded talking about Bourdain, but my responses seldom matched the enthusiasm of those who’d ask with the widest of grins and a gaze of the over-enamored.

When I got the call about Parts Unknown last summer, I knew enough about Bourdain to respect him, but I never embraced the fanaticism he seemed to attract. I hadn’t read his books, and having lived without a cable subscription for the past 15 years, I’d only seen a handful of his shows. While I appreciated Bourdain’s knack for telling underdog stories and digging beneath the surface in his travel destinations, my own limited exposure gave me few reasons to be enthralled by a celebrity with whom many seemed to have a wildly unhealthy obsession.

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