Eight seasons of NO RESERVATIONS. Who would have guessed? I sure as Hell wouldn’t have. How long could we get away with it? Not very long was the prevailing wisdom. And yet here we are. Nearly 700,000 air miles later, about two thirds of the way through shooting—and it’s looking pretty good. Mozambique—airing tonight—looks SO good, in fact, that our Emmy Award winning cinematographer Zach Zamboni says it’s the finest work he’s ever done. (Personally, I think the upcoming Penang episode is a close contender).
In following weeks, we attempt to take the much photographed world of Kansas City Barbecue waaay past 11 on the food porn dial, investigate the Croatian Coast, visit Lisbon, Baja, Penang, Burgundy, Austin, Finland—and take you deep inside the mysterious cult of the annual gathering of Cook It Raw (this year in Japan), where some of the world’s best chefs challenge each other to seek, forage—and then cook far, far out of the box. Soon to be shot are shows in Emilia Romagna, the Dominican Republic, Rio and Israel.
“Where have you not been that you’d like to—but haven’t been able to?” is a question I’m asked frequently these days. And the answer is Libya, the Congo, Iran, Myanmar. Difficult places all. Myanmar has been loosening up a lot lately so I’m hopeful that’s in our future. We’ve been trying to do a Libya show since the beginnings of the uprising there—but security concerns seem to foil us at the last minute every time we get close. It’s a major frustration. The Congo is another place I’d love to do a show. Its history has been a long personal obsession. Year after year, any hopes of shooting there have also been foiled. The people—and the food— of Iran have come highly recommended, year after year, by travelers who have been there. It’s actually a very young country demographically. But their government is way too loathsome and unpredictable at this point to reliably plan a shoot there—and there’s talk, of course of imminent airstrikes on their nuclear facilities. So, probably not this season.
“Is it still fun?” is another question I’m asked often.
Answer: “Hell, yeah.”