Anthony Bourdain begins the seventh season of his hit travel show Parts Unknown on Sunday. But before the TV vet put his mug back on the screen, he sat down with Skift and talked about what turns him off to food television, who he's riding with, and why he makes his show in the first place (to please himself).
From the jump, Bourdain goes in on TV food hosts, while simultaneously giving shout-outs to two of our favorites:
"You’ll notice at the end of every segment they always sum up what we just saw, then they tease out what we’re about to see after the commercial. Television in general is an environment where most of people who work in television live in a state of perpetual terror that they’re going to wake up and not be on television anymore. ... I think what Eddie Huang and Action Bronson [on Viceland] are doing is really refreshing for exactly that reason. They talk like they do in real life instead of 'When we come back it’s not just burger … it’s a burger with bacon!'"
It's no wonder that Bourdain is down with Bronson and the Huang; they both have experience in real kitchens and have taken cues from the Bourdainian "bad boy" mode of travelogue. Bourdain made it alright to be yourself, and to ostensibly not give a fuck while also caring deeply about food.
As for Bourdain's own show, his main concern is making something that he'd like:
"I make television the way I do to please myself and the people I work with. We push each other to be creatively satisfied and have a good time and be different than what we did last week. ... What audiences want is barbecue shows. I don’t want to do barbecue shows. Maybe one every five years."
The rest of the interview is pretty standard questions about travel, his favorite Asian destinations, and trying not to destroy people with his TV powers. Regular Bourdain things. You can catch all of that and more on Parts Unknown, which returns for its seventh season this Sunday on the Travel Channel.