Niagara Falls woman reflects on meeting Anthony Bourdain and what he meant to her

June 8, 2018

Written By

Mary Friona Celani

Barb Aceti, seen on the left in this photo with legendary chef, Anthony Bourdain, is reflecting on the time she met the award-winning chef, author, brilliant storyteller, humanitarian, and jet-setter.

It was a meeting Barb will never forget. She was a fan and follower of Bourdain’s career – going back more than a decade, “I was 19, naïve, unsure and disheartened. I packed my bags and moved to St. Thomas USVI on a whim and a prayer,” Barb told me, “I spent the next two years of my life exploring and embracing the island life and culture. That is where I first read Anthony Bourdain’s book, Kitchen Confidential. One of Bourdain’s many writings, this book was raw, engaging and inspiring. Life is hard and the struggle is real, but there was a light at the end of that book. It jump started my love of life, food, travel and following Anthony Bourdain through his career.”

She continued to follow his journey, continued to travel and try to experience life to the fullest, “Anthony was more than a celebrity, he was an advocate. He brought to light the marginalized and disenfranchised from all over the world. He helped the tourist, become the traveler.”

Then, in 2016, she was fortunate to see Bourdain in an intmate setting in Denver, Colorado, “I was two rows from the stage. I remember thinking to myself, he looks a lot older than what I imagined. He was thinner, and the lines on his face were deep. He was tan, taunt, had an infectious smile, and of course a gorgeous head of salt and pepper hair. He talked of his love of travel, food, family and the human race. He was a  humanitarian, his passion and advocacy for every person of the human race was evident. After he spoke of his experiences and how we could all be better, he took the time to answer questions from the audience. You could tell his answers were thoughtful and genuine, as he spoke with a slight pause and a smirk and laugh that dragged you into his life experiences. He was kind, sincere and humble. I had the opportunity to meet him afterward and although our interaction was brief, he made sure to look me in the eyes and thank me. What had always struck me, was Anthony Bourdain’s openness and honesty about his struggles in life. He was raw, vulgar at times, but he made others including myself feel like you were not alone.”

Now, as word comes of his death by apparent suicide, Barb can’t help but wonder, “Looking back, I wonder was this man I was watching and engaging with always afflicted with the depressive thoughts that caused him to take his life? Suicide is becoming an epidemic, rates are rising across America. Mental health awareness and treatment is crucial. You don’t have to be an expert. Ask, listen, encourage, follow-up. Let us be kind, let us be better to ourselves, and everyone around us.”

Wonderful advice. Thank you for sharing your story, Barb.

A reminder – there is help out there.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1.800.273.8255

Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741.741

Veterans Crisis Line: 1.800.273.8255, press “1” text 838255




About Me



Welcome to Totally Buffalo! A local lifestyle website.

My name is Mary Friona-Celani and I am the creator of this site! I’m a wife, a mom, a grandma, a Buffalo booster, an entrepreneur and a small business owner. I’m so glad you stopped by.  After 20 years in the buffalo media, I went out on my own to tell stories about the people, places, events and all-around fabulousness of this wonderful place we call home. Buffalo is different and so is this site. We are here to share stories, encourage kindness, and help make this a better place to live.

We’ll help those in need when we can through our charity arm, Totally Buffalo Cares.

We help local small businesses, artisans and vendors though our events and our Totally Buffalo Stores.

We’ll do all of this with a little help from friends in our community.






  1. Avatar

    I loved him and really, really liked him a lot. I am really sad about this and wish to know why he was so depressed. Wish he just didn’t do this – my hearts broken for him and his loved ones……

  2. Avatar

    I loved him and really, really liked him a lot. I am really sad about this and wish to know why he was so depressed. Wish he just didn’t do this – my hearts broken for him and his loved ones……

Submit a Comment