City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Anthony Bourdain “Under the Volcano”


Anthony Bourdain won a 2014 James Beard journalism award for “The Mind of a Chef” — the David Chang-spawned PBS show he hosts that combines travel, cooking, history and science and has featured the likes of Sean Brock and April Bloomfield.

But this week, Bourdain created another kind of buzz with another one of his TV shows, the excellent “Parts Unknown” on CNN, which could be described as a food travelogue with a whole lot of soul and attitude.

The “Mexico” episode that aired on Sunday night coincided with Cinco de Mayo celebrations around the U.S., a fact that wasn’t lost on many who appreciated Bourdain’s POV, also expressed in a Tumbler post titled “Under the Volcano”:

Americans love Mexican food. We consume nachos, tacos, burritos, tortas, enchiladas, tamales and anything resembling Mexican in enormous quantities. We love Mexican beverages, happily knocking back huge amounts of tequila, mezcal and Mexican beer every year. We love Mexican people—as we sure employ a lot of them. Despite our ridiculously hypocritical attitudes towards immigration, we demand that Mexicans cook a large percentage of the food we eat, grow the ingredients we need to make that food, clean our houses, mow our lawns, wash our dishes, look after our children. As any chef will tell you, our entire service economy—the restaurant business as we know it—in most American cities, would collapse overnight without Mexican workers.

And that was just the intro. Bourdain went on to delve into Mexican drugs, crime, and America’s uneasy relationship with “our brother from another mother” on our southern border.

But in this particularly close to home episode you’ll also find a great warmhearted celebration of Mexican cuisine and the heroes who against all odds have elevated it to new heights in their native land.

Food for thought, for sure.

— Bob Townsend, AJC Food and More blog.

3 comments Add your comment


May 7th, 2014
5:25 pm

I’ve been a big fan of Bourdain for years dating back to his first book, “Kitchen Confidential” and his first TV show, “A Cook’s Tour”. While his work has gotten slightly more “politically preachy”, he always manages to keep the food and those that prepare it, at the center of his work. I love his irreverence and way with words. Sunday’s show on Mexico was very good.

Ned Ludd

May 7th, 2014
6:02 pm

Ditto Art—Like his ‘food is people first, business second’ attitude. Great show where he went back to Mexico with one of his chefs who had worked his way up from dishwasher to chef to visit his family for the first time in quite a few years. Have seen him at his boyhood home in France and with his brother in South America tracing their roots. Definitely a fan of good food done right rather than what’s hip today! (and will be forgotten tomorrow)


May 8th, 2014
7:37 am

@ART @NED……love AB also. Not your typical food show and his guests on the show always seem to add some insight and laughs. Art, I don’t see him as more preachy than normal. Went to one of his lectures at a major university and he was entertaining and very funny.