No Reservations: Remembering Anthony Bourdain

“Tony saw music and food as inseparable,” Joel Beckerman says, remembering Anthony Bourdain. “A synesthesia of expression. I’ve never worked with anyone more knowledgeable or with better taste in music (pun intended).”

A storyteller, a music lover, a wanderer with the drive of curiosity and an appreciation for good food, Anthony Bourdain was a multi-hyphenate inspiration to many. Made Music Studio had the great pleasure of working with the chef, author, travel host, and certified punk on the theme for his globetrotting Travel Channel show, ‘No Reservations.’

Tony proceeded to cook for us, and talk about his vision. The night was an out-of-body experience.

The creative collaboration kicked off — appropriately — with a meal. Beckerman remembered the occasion: “Tony started the project by inviting us to New York restaurant Les Halles, where he was the Executive Chef, and proceeded to cook for us, and talk about his vision for the music. The night of course was an out-of-body experience.”

Our approach in creating ‘No Reservations’ theme would bring together Made Music, the post-punk sensibility of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and of course Bourdain. It was a perfect marriage of musical stylings and host. In scoring the opening of each episode, Bourdain always insisted that each episode be a different “movie main-title.” He wanted each opener to be unique, with a musical score that complemented his poetic introductions (usually self-written) for each location he visited. “No small feat but we worked really hard to get it right. Disappointing him was not an option,” Beckerman shared.

The music had to capture the energy and persona of Bourdain as a host, his distinctly punk rock approach to the world, and his love of the people, cultures, and food he encountered. Our goal was to bring the Bourdain we have all come to know and love to life through music. The final theme signifies a damn-it-all dive into the unknown:



Food and conversation are at the core of any episode of ‘No Reservations.’ Add a host with uncommon insights, a writer’s pen, and a friendly dash of censorship bleeps, and you have an episode of television that endures. Even larger than any television show hosted, book written, or musical theme created, it’s Anthony Bourdain’s curiosity, creativity, and openness in spirit that so many remember of the show.

He was kind, generous, and spirited. An uncommon combination.

Joel Beckerman, over 15 years after collaborating with him for some pieces of music, recalls something similar:

“I remember when he visited the studio to review an episode opener and we scoured New York City for the perfect Cuban sandwich and brought them in. He took one look at them and politely declined. Probably the most idiotic thing I’ve done in my career. But as always, he was kind, generous, and spirited. An uncommon combination. I deeply miss him.”


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