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The New TV Travel Hosts Trying To Pick Up Where Anthony Bourdain Left Off


Uproxx

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

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.

Kellee Edwards — Mysterious Islands

Kellee Edwards is on the path toward greatness. Edwards took the bull by the horns and became both a professional diver and pilot to set her apart from the travel influencer pack. This landed her a gig hosting Mysterious Islands over at Travel Channel.

Edwards has the thirst for adventure that a great travel host needs. Her show dares to go places few have heard of, which mirrors Bourdain’s desire to go, literally, to parts unknown.

David Chang — Ugly Delicious

David Chang has already been leaning into food and travel TV for a while now. Last year, Chang and Netflix dropped the intelligent and engaging Ugly Delicious on the world and the only thing missing was Bourdain himself.

Chang has an enthusiasm for all things food that’s infectious. He also has something Bourdain shared: Access. There are few people out there who can get to the best of the best in the cooking world while also reveling in the simple things in life and food.

Chrissy Teigen — A Legendary Christmas with John and Chrissy

It’s mind-blowing that TV networks aren’t throwing all the money at Chrissy Teigen to host her own travel and food show. Teigen dominates on Instagram and Twitter when it comes to relatable yet still elevated food and travel content.

Plus, her Christmas special, with husband John Legend, highlighted her ability to kill it when it comes to marrying food with comedy (and fun). It was reminiscent of Bourdain’s old sketches from his No Reservation Christmas specials where fun, food, drop-in celebrity guests, and great music always intersected around the holiday.

Action Bronson — Fuck, That’s Delicious

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This is another easy choice to make. Action Bronson is a multi-hyphenate who has access to the music, art, and food world in a way that only Bourdain could have rivaled. Bronson also brings a rawness to his travels that feels fresh while staying engaging.

Bronson feels like his on a path towards something bigger with shows like Fuck, That’s Delicious, where convention is thrown out the window in favor of experience. That combined with a deep love and understanding of food is what will make Action Bronson become an icon of the food and travel scene should he want to go that route.

Oneika Raymond — Big City, Little Budget and One Bag and You’re Out

Travel influencer Oneika Raymond has made the leap from social media to video as a digital host for Travel Channel online. Following in the footsteps of Kellee Edwards, Raymond is bringing a refreshing non-white, non-male voice to a very white male-dominated landscape.

Seeing the world through Raymond’s eyes via her Instagram page is seeing the world anew and her shows will offer that same lens, giving us a whole new take on travel. These shows are only the beginning of Raymond’s future in the travel TV game.

Kinga Philipps — The Wild Side With Kinga Phillips and Real

Coming from a journalistic background, Kinga Philipps knows how to tell a story. She has a deep roster of shows on Travel Channel, Syfy, and National Geographic. Philipps is an intensely charming personality, always eager to risk big on adventure travel.

There’s a real sense of commitment and connectivity to Philipps’ presenting abilities that draw you into each location she visits. There’s also a fearlessness that echoes that of Bourdain.

Prediction: We’re going to see a lot more of Kinga Philipps in the coming years from all over the world.

Karl Watson — Karl Watson: Travel Documentaries

There’s an honesty to Karl Watson’s self-made travel documentaries that’s addicting. Watson is having fun, connecting with people, and seeing the world in a way that doesn’t just feel accessible, it is accessible.

Right now, Watson is filming, editing, and posting free travel guides on YouTube to destinations all over the world that are visually exciting and deeply informative. One day, he’ll be doing that for Netflix.

Karla Cavalli — Planet Primetime

There’s an energy to Karla Cavalli’s Planet Primetime that’s enthralling. Cavalli’s honesty, up-for-anything vibe, and un-faked enthusiasm are addicting, as she takes you behind the scenes of TV, fashion, and pop culture around the world. Though the show was canceled after one season, it was criminally underrated if you ask us.

Cavalli’s strong suit is that she wants to experience the entire world through a lens of positivity without ever getting saccharine. That’s a hard thing to do for any travel host to pull off and what makes her one of the best out there right now.

Samin Nosrat — Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat over at Netflix was, ostensibly, a show about food. It was also 100 percent a travel show that highlighted amazing chefs, people, and cultures in four iconic locations around the world that felt like an evolution of the Bourdain style.

But, here’s the rub, there were only four episodes. We want more! Nosrat could spend the rest of her days traveling the world, talking to chefs, and making food for us to watch on Netflix and we’d be fine with it. Just … can we have more than four episodes at a time?

Phil Calvert — Phil Good Travel

Phil Calvert, a.k.a. Philwaukee, is a rising influencer who’s making the jump to TV over at the Matador Network. Calvert’s new show, Phil Good Travel, finds the social media influencer taking on the world of travel through the eyes of a positivity-centric black American man.

In the first episode, fear is faced head-on as Calvert conquers his own fears around the world. We’ll be watching closely to see where Philwaukee goes next on his TV travel journey.

Rich Francis — Red Chef Revival

Rich Francis is changing the game when it comes to what almost everyone thinks “American” food is. The Indigenous chef made it to the finals of Top Chef Canada a few years back and has used that momentum to help start the Indigenous food movement. Francis is hosting an upcoming show up in Canada, Red Chef Revival, wherein he travels around Canada, talking and cooking with Indigenous chefs and culinary stars.

The feel of the show is straight up Bourdain-ian with a keen eye on highlighting the unknown, the misunderstood, and the misrepresented. For us, this feels like the perfect alchemy of what Bourdain stood for and gave to the world, taken to the next level by highlighting people who rarely have a voice in modern culture much less North American society.

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