Celebrity chef and New York Times Bestselling author Anthony Bourdain finished in first place in the Blue Belt Masters 5 Middleweight Division at the IBJJF New York Spring International Open Championship. Bourdain, the host of CNN’s Parts Unknown and Team Renzo Gracie member, defeated Alexey Iskhakov of the Mike Moses’ Competition Team in the finals of his first BJJ competition. Bourdain received a bye to the finals when John Pantle of SAS didn’t appear for their match.
The 59-year old chef, who first rose to fame with his bestseller Kitchen Confidential, started training in BJJ at the Renzo Gracie Academy after encouragement from his wife Ottavia, who is currently a purple belt and member of The Danaher Death Squad. Despite never being interested in physical fitness and having a history of smoking cigarettes and abusing drugs, Bourdain quickly became obsessed with the gentle art while training under Igor Gracie and other coaches under the Renzo Gracie family. His interest in BJJ helped him give up smoking and drop 30 lbs.
While he is on the road shooting Parts Unknown, Bourdain would frequently pop into both famous gyms for privates with top coaches including Romulo Barral and Cyborg Abreu as well as small town gyms just to get a roll in. His hard work and dedication paid off when he was awarded his blue belt from Igor Gracie in August 2015. Bourdain’s obsession with BJJ carried over into the San Francisco episode of Parts Unknown, where he was seen training and dining with Kurt Osiander of Ralph Gracie San Francisco.
Congratulations to Anthony Bourdain for this huge and inspirational win. On a side note, if you have a friend or family member who believes he or she is too busy, old, out of shape, short, tall, or weak for BJJ, then show this person the photos below. Bourdain was never an athlete, had high cholesterol, smoked and drank and was able to improve life and physical and mental health through Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Bourdain’s tweet after his big win in New York!
— Anthony Bourdain (@Bourdain) April 9, 2016
— Ottavia Bourdain (@OttaviaBourdain) April 9, 2016