Anthony Bourdain showed that food wasn't just about pretty pictures on social media, but about nourishment and community, including during a visit to New Zealand, top New Zealand chef Al Brown says.

The Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar owner spent four days with Bourdain, who committed suicide in France overnight aged 61, during filming of Bourdain's No Reservations New Zealand episode in 2005.

Bourdain also discovered the Edmonds Cookery Book and ate at a hangi on a marae during his visit.

"We shared a moment of his life that I'll never forget ... [his death] is devastating," Brown said.

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Their time together began in dramatic fashion when Bourdain escaped serious injury when he rolled a quad motorbike as the group travelled to a remote, off-the-grid Far North bach for a seafood feast.

Footage included in the episode shows the motorbike roll once over Bourdain, before he scampered to safety as the machine tumbled away.

Brown and others rushed to make the New Yorker was okay.

"I was following him and it's one of those moments that sticks with you ... he just dusted himself off and reached for his ciggies. The pro that he was, he just carried on."

The experience obviously had an effect though, because Bourdain was "very reflective" later, Brown said.

In a voiceover for the episode, Bourdain praised Brown's "great food and great company" for taking his mind off what could've happened.

"It's moments like that make me want to burn my passport and never leave," Bourdain said.

Gutted! 'RIP' Anthony!

A post shared by Al Brown (@albrownchef) on

The superstar chef was exhausted and still couldn't believe the speed of his rise to stardom, which was only a few years old when he came to New Zealand, Brown said.

"He didn't know how long the train would run. Little did he know the legend he was turning into."

He would remember Bourdain as someone who always "kept it real".

Not for him pretty pictures posted to social media.

"He cut through all the carry-on and fashion around food ... it's just so important to have people like him in the world to block all the b*****t out there."

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