It seems as if
"Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations"
has been on TV forever, so it's a little amazing to consider the Travel Channel mainstay has just entered Season 8 -- when it feels more like 18. But after all the places the show has been over the years, instead of running out of locations to visit, the great food and adventures just keep coming.
"A lot of surprises this time out," the show's host
of the new season. "By that I mean surprising to me. Mozambique was a bit of a surprise -- a very poor country with shockingly good food. Croatia: knew it was going to be good, but wow!"
One of the biggest surprises for the travel essayist was Baja, Mexico.
"That's a developing wonderland that could well be the next big thing," Bourdain says. "Americans aren't going [there]. They were scared away by the drug wars. And even though the murders have drastically declined since 2009, they really aren't returning or haven't returned in any number.
"So a lot of the kids -- the younger chefs -- have really taken it upon themselves to just say, 'The hell with it -- we're going to start cooking modern Mexican food for Mexicans.' "
The episode airing Monday, April 16, has the show in Kansas City, Mo., one of several domestic locales the series visits this season, along with Portugal, Finland, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and elsewhere.
You sometimes have musical guests on. Any this season you can mention?
The Black Keys will be in one episode, I can tell you that. We're in Austin now, and we're here during SXSW, and there will be a lot of bands during that episode."
What are some of your most memorable episodes from the past seven seasons?
"I remain very, very proud of the Rome episode. First of all, it's always a great experience shooting in Rome. But as a creative enterprise, I'm particularly proud of it because it's just such a suicidally stupid thing to shoot an entire episode of a food and travel show in a beautiful city like Rome in black and white. We worked very, very hard on that."
You've said that where "No Reservations" goes is influenced by what you read. What are you reading now?
Jack Gilbert collected poems and thinking about Greece. Thinking about the Greek islands where he spent a lot of time."
You're up to Season 8; how long do you think you can keep this going?
"As long as it's interesting and fun for me and for the people I work with. As long as we find ourselves, as we continually do, sitting in the hotel lobby somewhere, saying, 'How can we do this? What can we try that we haven't done before?' As long as there are answers to those questions, as long as it's interesting, then I'll keep doing it. The minute it becomes a job, I will stop."