Celeb Chef Marco Pierre White Spent Amount Worth HDB Flat To Buy Late Anthony Bourdain’s Knife
The extraordinary knife, carved out of iron from a meteorite, is now on display at Marco’s S’pore restaurant The English House.
In 2018, Anthony Bourdain shocked the world when he hanged himself at a French hotel. The American TV personality, fondly known to his friends as Tony, was found unresponsive in his room by his close pal and fellow celeb chef Eric Ripert. The duo had been in France to film the hit docuseries Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, which Anthony, then 61, had fronted.
1 of 11Anthony's personal belongings went on auction
A year after his death, his family put up some of his collection of curios - his Rolex watch and tchotchkes like paintings and ornaments that Anthony had picked up during his travels - for auction. Proceeds went to a student scholarship fund at The Culinary Institute of America, Anthony’s alma mater.
One of the priciest and most talked-about items sold was his custom knife, which he commissioned famed American bladesmith Bob Kramer to carve out of meteorite iron for US$5,000 (S$6,800). It went for US$231,000 (about S$314,000), the price of a three-room HDB flat, to an unnamed buyer.
2 of 11Marco Pierre White bought some of Anthony’s items
It’s now 2022, and 8days.sg learns that the buyer of the knife was luminary Brit chef Marco Pierre White, 60, who had snapped up many of Anthony’s personal effects in a bid to stop his late friend’s treasured possessions from being scattered. Some of the items include sentimental gifts that Marco had given Anthony, which he bought back at the auction.
3 of 11Items now on display permanently in Singapore
Some of these items are now permanently displayed at Marco’s 150-seat Singapore restaurant The English House at Mohamed Sultan Road, where they are open to diners for viewing. The meteorite knife is also here, which 8days.sg was invited to preview.
There’s a solemn hush in the room as we watch the restaurant’s head chef Gabriel Fratini unsheath the knife. “It has been used, I can tell,” he murmurs. It’s a different kind of feeling seeing the object in person, as opposed to a generic Googled image.
We imagine Anthony, a chef by training who gained international fame for writing the culinary exposé Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, chopping ingredients in a parallel universe with the tool, which Marco will be using to cut duck when he’s back in Singapore this August.
4 of 11Michelin Man sculpture
Another bittersweet item on display is a 22-inch Michelin Man figure, which Marco had given to Anthony. Despite being good friends with many Michelin-starred chefs like Marco Pierre White and Eric Ripert, Anthony was famously unbothered about the accolade, having said: "The only people who really care about Michelin stars in New York are French guys…. We could live without it quite nicely.”
Known for his down-to-earth, offbeat personality and sense of adventure, he was a champion of our local hawker food, having gamely pulled teh tarik for our colleague upon request and nailed his first attempt.
5 of 11Bronze antler and skull sculpture
Marco also gifted Anthony a bronze sculpture of a deer head, which he had personally shot in 2006. It’s now back in his possession at The English House.
6 of 11Pig chef sculpture
The auctioneer for Anthony’s belongings, New York auction house Lark Mason Associates, admitted that some of the items for sale aren’t even intrinsically valuable (unlike the late personality’s trove of Panerai and Patek Philippe watches, for instance).
This includes a quirky sculpture of a pig dressed in chef’s whites. On Anthony’s pork-related association with Marco, the former had once written in his 2001 book A Cook's Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal: “Marco remains a hero to me for two reasons. First, his food was important - defiantly retro (pig trotters, for instance) and unapologetically French (he took the bas***** on at their own game and won).”
7 of 11African carved wood ritual figure
Also on display are several ritual objects which Anthony had collected while filming Parts Unknown in the Congo, like this Congolese nkisi nkondi figurine, a gift from a tribal chef, which was made to protect its community.
8 of 11Paintings
Anthony collected art, and among his collection are macabre paintings by Welsh illustrator Ralph Steadman (who created a grotesque portrait of Anthony for his 2016 cookbook Appetites).
Food-wise, The English House is offering a range of dishes that’s reminiscent of Anthony Bourdain’s diverse palate, including a lunch-only Chinese menu with classic Hong Kong dim sum like Fresh Lobster Dumpling with Hairy Crab Sauce ($18), Beer Battered Wild Cod & Chips ($50) and Anthony’s favourite Roman dish, Cacio e Pepe (available only upon request). The restaurant will be donating 100 per cent of its earnings from Apr 1 to 8 to the Red Cross Singapore to support humanitarian aid efforts in Ukraine.
Check out the dishes below (photos show tasting portions)
9 of 11Cacio e Pepe
10 of 11Lobster Dumpling, $18
11 of 11Beer Battered Wild Cod, $50
The English House is at 28 Mohamed Sultan Rd, S238972. Tel: 6545-4055. Open daily, Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm; 5.30pm-11pm, Sat 11am-3pm, 5.30pm-11pm, Sun 11am-10pm. www.theenglishhouse.com.
Photos: Yip Jieying/ Russel Wong Photo (Anthony Bourdain’s portrait)/ MasterChef Asia (Marco Pierre White's portrait)