Along with millions of other people – those who knew Anthony personally and those who rightfully felt like they knew him after joining him on televised journeys around the world – we were shocked and saddened to learn of his passing. We were fortunate to count him as a friend, supporter, and inspiration over the past 13 years, and he will be profoundly missed by the DC Central Kitchen family.
Anthony joined our family in 2005, when our dear friend and long-time champion José Andrés recruited him to co-host our fledgling fundraiser, the Capital Food Fight. The two of them created an on-stage supernova of culinary talent, boundless energy, and playful yet incisive commentary that enraptured fans while generously creating ample space for DC Central Kitchen to ride their coattails.
That would have been more than enough to earn our lasting gratitude, but Anthony went even further. When filming for his previous show, No Reservations, he had his choice of any locale in the world, and any eatery in any city would have done most anything for him to come by with a camera and his cutting sense of humor. With all those glamorous options at his disposal, he chose to come to DC Central Kitchen, interview our founder and culinary graduates, and showcase the transformational, redemptive power of food in our humble basement headquarters. Again, that would have been more than enough – but just weeks ago, we learned there was more to that story.
Years later, when that same episode featuring DC Central Kitchen was in re-runs, it played on a small television screen in a nearby hospital where a lady named Cora was receiving chemotherapy. Anthony’s effortless exchanges with Bo, a graduate of our culinary program who had landed a full-time job with us struck a chord with Cora – who saw in Bo some of the same struggles, hopes, and promise that she shared. Though she would beat the cancer, her battle was a costly one and she soon found herself in a DC homeless shelter. From there, she remembered that No Reservations episode and sought out DC Central Kitchen. She enrolled in our Culinary Job Training program, graduated, and now earns a living wage as a DC Central Kitchen employee preparing nutritious meals that her granddaughter receives at a DC Public School. Cora shared her story when testifying before the DC Council – and we decided we simply had to tell Anthony about the life-changing – and perhaps life-saving – power of his re-run.
We never got the chance. Few people had busier schedules than he did as CNN’s primetime star, and we thought we’d catch him later this year as preparations for Capital Food Fight came together.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please don’t wait. Reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or 1-800-273-8255. At DC Central Kitchen, we know that every life matters and everyone has value. We will miss our friend Tony, and hope the shock and pain that so many are feeling in this moment can help save others.