Anthony Bourdain had, arguably, the best job in the world. Traveling across the world to try new foods and, more importantly, learn about local culture and politics for his show Parts Unknown afforded the former chef turned bestselling author a certain worldview that left an indelible mark on his legacy. The first of the final episodes of his travel series will premiere Sept. 23 on CNN.
The season 12 premiere, screened at the Tribeca TV Festival, focuses on Bourdain’s travels to Kenya with guest W. Kamau Bell (of United Shades of America). Over local dishes like fried whole tilapia and goat’s head soup, Bell and Bourdain learn about some of the issues plaguing Kenya, like the dominance of secondhand clothes from the U.S. absolutely decimating the Kenyan textile industry, and the delicate balance local wildlife conservatories must maintain between indigenous tribes and international efforts.
While some—most notably the president—continue to view the African continent as a primitive “shithole” devoid of real culture, Bell, himself of African descent, said during a panel after the screening that Bourdain’s approach toward filming the Kenya episode couldn’t have been more different. “He did not see it as one big country. He saw it as lots of different places,” Bell said. “And he was really read into all the issues in ways that most people who do shows like this just aren’t.”
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