Watch Anthony Bourdain’s First Food-and-Travel Series A Cook’s Tour Free Online (2002–03)

At the time of his death in 2018, Antho­ny Bour­dain was quite pos­si­bly the most famous cook in the world. With­out ques­tion he held the title of the most famous cook-trav­el­er, a sta­tus rest­ing pri­mar­i­ly on No Reser­va­tions and Parts Unknown, the tele­vi­sion shows he host­ed on the Trav­el Chanel and CNN, respec­tive­ly. But it all began with A Cook’s Tour, which the Food Net­work orig­i­nal­ly broad­cast in 2002 and 2003. That series, Bour­dain’s very first, took him from Japan to Moroc­co to Mex­i­co to Aus­tralia to Thai­land — and through many points in between — in search of the world’s most stim­u­lat­ing eat­ing expe­ri­ences.

Now A Cook’s Tour has come avail­able free to watch on Youtube, thanks to the stream­ing chan­nel GoTrav­el­er (who also offer the show through their own ser­vice).

A Por­tuguese slaugh­ter­ing-and-roast­ing par­ty; vod­ka-fueled ice fish­ing in St. Peters­burg; an explo­ration of the Amer­i­can “Bar­be­cue Tri­an­gle” con­sti­tut­ed by Kansas City, Hous­ton, and North Car­oli­na; and a best-faith effort to lose him­self in Chi­ang Mai: if you caught these or oth­er of Bour­dain’s ear­ly inter­na­tion­al culi­nary adven­tures those near­ly twen­ty years ago, you can relive them, and if you missed out, you can enjoy them for the first time.

Dur­ing the launch phase of his rise to fame (after decades of restau­rant work and years of writ­ing, an effort that first pro­duced a cou­ple of food-themed mur­der-mys­tery nov­els), Bour­dain man­aged to tap into a new wave of gas­tro­nom­ic inter­est then ris­ing in Amer­i­ca. He did so with a street-smart sense of humor that appealed even to view­ers with no par­tic­u­lar invest­ment in the world of cook­ing and din­ing, as long as they had an inter­est in the world itself. With A Cook’s Tour, he took food tele­vi­sion out of the kitchen — way out of the kitchen — and over the eigh­teen years since its con­clu­sion, the series’ influ­ence has become so per­va­sive as almost to be invis­i­ble. Antho­ny Bour­dain may be gone, but parts of his per­son­al­i­ty live on in every high-pro­file trav­el­er out there cook­ing, eat­ing, and get­ting lost today.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Antho­ny Bourdain’s Free Show Raw Craft, Where He Vis­its Crafts­men Mak­ing Gui­tars, Tat­toos, Motor­cy­cles & More (RIP)

Antho­ny Bour­dain Talks About the Big Break That Changed His Life — at Age 44

Life Lessons from Antho­ny Bour­dain: How He Devel­oped His Iron Pro­fes­sion­al­ism, Achieved Cre­ative Free­dom & Learned from Fail­ure

Al Jazeera Trav­el Show Explores World Cities Through Their Street Food

Watch 26 Free Episodes of Jacques Pépin’s TV Show, More Fast Food My Way

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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