Anthony Bourdain may have his acerbic appeal, but it may be BBC America’s “No Kitchen Required” that brings out the best of food’s role in the mixing of cultures.
Tuesday, Sept. 18, the series features chefs Michael Psilakis, Madison Cowan and Kayne Raymond as they visit Koh Lanta, Thailand, where they make the best effort they can to assimilate to the Uraklavoy culture.
At the time of this interview, Psilakis had just finished shooting this episode and was still both moved and blown away by the experience.
“I just came back from — I guess the ‘squid hunt,’ we would call it,” he tells Zap2it. “Then at the same time, I was able to fish with just a line — no rod and reel — just a line in the ocean, and got some fish. Then we went to this unbelievable market — a Thai market that was basically run by Muslim Thais up in the South. We bartered the fish that we caught for the vegetables that we [were] going to use to cook the meal for the village elders.”
And that task in itself entails a degree of culture shock — not for Psilakis and his fellow visitors but for the indigenous people receiving them as their guests.
“Today I asked the guide that I had — and he was over 60 years old — I asked him, ‘Did you ever leave this village to go eat a meal anywhere else?’ and he said, ‘No.’ Think about that for a moment. This is how remote these people are. Tomorrow, I will be able to cook a meal for the first time, for this man, outside of his mother, his wife or the village women. Where do you see that on TV anywhere? It’s really impressive.”