Anthony Bourdain and Curt Fukuda at Minato in 2015.
SAN JOSE — The owner of the oldest restaurant in San Jose’s Japantown is mourning the death of chef and television personality Anthony Bourdain, NBC Bay Area reports.
Three years ago, for an episode of his hit CNN show “Parts Unknown,” Bourdain visited Minato and ordered curry, sashimi and tempura.
“We didn’t know what to expect, but he turns out to be a real good guy. Exactly how he is on TV,” said Gene Yoneda. “He could eat anywhere in the world and chooses 20 or 30 restaurants a year, so it’s quite an honor …
“His social conscience, the way he writes stories and gets into the culture, besides the food, politics even … He was 61, which is pretty young, but you never know what’s going on inside someone’s head.”
In a Facebook post in October 2015, Minato said, “Great to see some of our customers made it on TV and most importantly that they highlighted San Jose’s Japantown. Thanks, Curt Fukuda, for bringing him in. His purpose was not to review our restaurant, but he finished his katsu curry and tempura, so we guess he liked it!”
Fukuda, co-author of “San Jose Japantown: A Journey,” told Bourdain about the history of the neighborhood, including the fact that it was San Jose’s Chinatown before the first Japanese residents started to arrive in 1890. He also discussed the wartime incarceration of Japanese Americans.
CNN said on June 8 that Bourdain was found dead from an apparent suicide in his hotel room in France, where he was working on an upcoming segment of his show.