No Reservations is back for a new season, only this one is slated to be a bit more serious than those past.
Bourdain is profiled in the upcoming issue of Time, as is the greater subject of culinary tourism. While in the past his show has focused on consuming foods to wretched excess, this year Bourdain visits Haiti; Cambodia (next Monday’s episode), which incites a discussion about the Khmer Rouge’s ethnic killings after eating a dish of pepper crab; and Nicaragua, where Bourdain does a segment on churequeros, families who scavenge garbage dumps. (In America, we have them, too — freegans. Just kidding.)
It’s a refreshing departure for the show, particularly in light of other reality gigs like Man vs. Food, which focuses on consuming foods to excess in a time when both undernourishment and obesity are distressing problems within American society. Yes, No Reservations still is a form of escapism and promotes a lifestyle attainable only with a certain amount of affluence, but it’s refreshing to see Bourdain explore not only what people are eating, but why.