The loss of TV personality, author, and chef Anthony Bourdain last year left a pretty big hole in the world. It’s not hyperbole to say that he changed the game when it came to how we consumed food and travel TV. That said, Bourdain’s style feels like the relic of another time. At the end of the day, his shows were about a hip white dude with great connections, traveling around the world and eating food while highlighting the people or dishes he loved.
It was one man’s gaze and it was a joy to behold. Bourdain taught us how to live.
The thing everyone likes to ask after a great creator dies is “who’s going be the next (insert name here)?” We’re not so sure about this conceit. In fact, we have to ask, does the world even need another Bourdain? We’ve had the one and he was a true original. Now it’s time for someone else to change the way we view food and travel TV (and the world) through their unique lens.
With that in mind, we thought we’d look at a few of the best new travel TV hosts who get us excited about the future of food and travel television. These are the emerging voices who’ve already started breaking down barriers and changing the game. Some of our picks are already on a path, with their own shows on major networks. Some of them are just starting to break through. All of them have a point-of-view the world deserves to see more of.
W. Kamau Bell — United Shades Of America
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Tonight is gonna be hard. But join me as I watch the premiere of the final season of #PartsUnknown at 9pm ET on @cnn. Me & Tony went to Kenya. We spent time in Nairobi & on safari at Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Watch with me as I livetweet on Twitter. Let's celebrate him & his amazing life's work. Photos by @nextadventurer. #UnitedShades #UnitedShadesofAmerica #ripanthonybourdain
This is probably the most obvious choice to carry on the mantle of Bourdain. W. Kamau Bell already has a show on CNN, United Shades of America, and appeared with Bourdain during the final season of Parts Unknown in the Kenya episode.
There’s a desire to listen, learn, and adapt in Bell’s work that rises above. Add in that Bell is hilarious, kind, and conscientious of the world and you have the perfect ingredients for a great travel and food show.