When you work on a project for over two years, the timeliness of its release is always left up to chance. But given the recent 4th of July holiday, where many of us ponder how we feel about this country, combined with the conversations around immigration (and mass global migration) in the news cycle, it seems fitting that Eater’s long in the works TV show with PBS and chef Marcus Samuelsson will air on Tuesday.
Inspired loosely by our long-running web series Cooking in America, this new show No Passport Required explores immigrant culture and communities through food traditions. In each episode, Samuelsson focuses on one immigrant community in a different American city (e.g., Haitians in Miami, Mexicans in Chicago, Ethiopians in D.C.). And we, as an audience, get to spend an hour each week learning about how this community grew and formed in this place, how members of the second and third generation grapple with a sense of home, and how food traditions persist and change. Because a culture is made up of so much more than meals and recipes, we also visit artists, business owners, musicians, and historians. (And maybe throw in a wedding or two.)
I’ve been so impressed watching my colleagues put this show together, taking care with the stories to build compelling narratives without exoticizing or stereotyping the subjects. And I’ve been incredibly impressed (if not surprised) at how well Samuelsson engages and empathizes with the people he meets in the show, relating to them as an immigrant himself — but recognizing that the parallels between their lives only reach so far.
Because this is PBS, this is not, on the surface, a political show. And while the conversations are sometimes difficult, the episodes are overwhelmingly uplifting (I witnessed real, live happy tears at a recent screening). I just hope Americans across the country who watch it and who may not know people from these communities come away with a sense of appreciation and respect for the food traditions and the stories that are told.
Who is behind it?: Bonnie Morales, the chef behind Portland, Oregon’s beloved and essential Russian restaurant Kachka.
What is it?: It’s the more casual counterpart to Kachka that’s replacing the original in the same space. Kachka, meanwhile, will reopen in a larger space later this summer. As Eater PDX puts it, the overall vibe is “Kachka’s popular happy hour all night long.”
Where is it?: Portland, Oregon.
When did it open?: It opened last night.
Why should I care?: This move means the wonderful food of Kachka but at lower prices AND an opportunity to see how Morales expands upon her original concept at a new, larger space. Kachkina is exciting, but is the mere prelude to the main event.
- Intel: Famed New York City bar Dead Rabbit was damaged in a two-alarm fire; chef and restaurateur Preeti Mistry closed her latest restaurant Navi Kitchen; Taco Bell expanded the size of its Vegas wedding venue; Chicago fine dining destination Grace will be replaced with a Japanese-French restaurant run by chef Mari Katsumura; chef Josiah Citrin of Melisse will take over Roy Choi’s former restaurant spaces at the Line Hotel in LA; Bushwick phenom Roberta’s may open in a giant development on the Brooklyn waterfront; London chef Yotam Ottolenghi opened his seventh restaurant (and only the second not to bear his name); the octogenarian CEO of LaCroix was accused of sexually assaulting co-pilots on his corporate jet; Dave Chang will open two Fuku stands in D.C.’s Capital One arena; a big-name Fort Worth chef lost his slot in an upcoming food hall after his arrest this week on charges of domestic violence; Prince Charles appeared on MaterChefAustralia but didn’t eat anything; Nashville hot chicken chain Hattie B’s expanded to Atlanta; Portland is getting a delivery-only restaurant that … only serves panzanella; and god bless us all the poke trend finally made it to Nashville.
- Ryan Sutton contemplates a developer’s decision to award a new public park’s concession stand to restaurateur Danny Meyer instead of a Brooklyn local
- What to tip at your local trendy SF restaurant when you’re providing half the service yourself
- How IKEA and its meatballs, whether a sign of depression or hope, can be a constant when life is unpredictable
- How book stores and cookbook publishers are responding to the allegations against Mario Batali
- A shout out to this math teacher (who teaches a kid I kind of know) for calling out (now former) EPA chief Scott Pruitt in a restaurant
- Food porn: the gorgeous plates from London’s Ikoyi, a restaurant inspired by West African ingredients
On the Upsell
This week on the Eater Upsell, Dan and I discussed the biggest food stories of June, including Gabrielle Hamilton and Ashley Merriman partnering with Ken Friedman, an activated charcoal ban, Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s visit to an inhospitable restaurant in Virginia, Madame Tussaud’s new Hangover-themed bar, the complications around covering the World’s 50 Best list, and oh so much more.
- How we treat the greatness of male and female chefs so remarkably differently. [Taste]
- Now that Serena Williams is married, she is called “Mrs. Williams” at Wimbledon, which drives me nuts. FWIW Federer has, is, and forever shall be known as Federer. [NYT]
- Can Alon Shaya escape controversy by putting employees first? [Times-Pic]
- When I get $2 million together, I’m moving to this house in Costa Rica. [Curbed]
- Vox’s immigration expert Dara Lind explains the short and controversial history of ICE (and reminds us of Obama’s sticky legacy of Deporter-in-Chief). [Today Explained]
- I’m laughing so I won’t cry: 17 real-life would-you-rathers for women. [McSweeny’s]
- A new NYC art exhibit features ephemera from the restaurant Windows on the World on top of the World Trade Center. [The New Yorker]
- What full employment looks like. [The Atlantic]