Lifting the curtain on some of the season's most exciting new releases.
The first episode of Restaurants at the End of the World, a new reality series hosted by Top Chef Season 10 winner Kristen Kish, opens with her behind the wheel of an open-air Jeep. Pompadour tossed back by the wind, she's gushing—"I'm beyond excited"—when the stick shift suddenly stalls. On this narrow road in Panama, destined (as the show's title might suggest) for the middle of nowhere, Kish is stuck. But only momentarily. Unflappable, she declares, “Well, if we didn't stall one time, we wouldn't be in a stick shift,” and the wheels are rolling again. Kish is very cool.
Over the course of four episodes, the Austin-based chef visits remote restaurant after remote restaurant—not once, she notes, is she able to take a direct flight, or even a single mode of transportation, to get to her next meal. She spends a week in each place—Panama, then Norway and Maine, before finishing the season aboard the floating Sem Pressa in Brazil's rainforest—learning from her hosts and serving meals alongside them. “The food is inevitable,” she says, “but it's the people that are really special.” Below, Kish takes us through each of the restaurants and gives us her best travel tips.
What pulled you towards making this highly adventurous food show?
There's so much to say here. Each episode is highly focused on the food and the people that make the food. But I think the beauty of what the show is—what I gravitate towards, what my expertise is, beyond the adventurous stuff and the cooking obviously—is a deeper human connection. I spent a lot of time with these people, off camera as well as on. And we're very, very fortunate that we were surrounded by good people in every location that we went to. You genuinely want to hang out with them and have conversations not just for the camera, which is really what I read heavily into, because with food it’s like—we'll get there. I don't need to push the food story, but what I do need to prompt and be good at is making sure I'm the vehicle for someone else to tell their story, and feel comfortable enough to do that.
Can you tell me one thing you remember about each of your guests?