The 60-year-old chef, author and travel host has been the consummate industry personality for over a decade, filling the void between our own trips with shows like “The Layover” and “Parts Unknown” as well as books such as “Kitchen Confidential” and “A Cook’s Tour.”
He is adding yet another accolade to a prolific career, launching a mobile-first site called Explore Parts Unknown.
It’s an extension of his CNN show “Parts Unknown” that, Fast Company reminds, has already garnered five Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award in its eight-season run.
This latest venture, outlined in full at the network’s press room, represents a collaboration between CNN and the outlet Roads & Kingdoms. Essentially, travelers are promised another level to the Bourdain experience. The shows whet the travel appetite while the books unveil the wonder of the world, but this mobile product offers some tools of the trade to bring along with you.
You can access the above website with a desktop connection, but it works wonderfully on mobile devices.
A cursory glance at the website highlights what you can expect in the future with recipes from famed chefs and blog posts on how to best conquer a city. At its launch, our favorite of myriad content is Nigella Lawson’s colorful recipe for Eggs in Purgatory and Alexa van Sickle’s “Perfect Day in London.”
Both echo what we have come to expect from the Bourdain empire: insightful, entertaining and, most of all, engaging content for the travel enthusiast.
As noted, the site will give mobile users a wealth of items to devour on the go, such as recipes and “perfect day” blogs as mentioned above. But there will also be field notes, quick posts offered in the first person; hotel bar diaries, described as personal dispatches from hotel watering holes; and fact sheets to arm travelers with the kind of info that will take any trip to another echelon.
Most intriguing is the video content: The first is “Catalunya: The Return,” which is described as a seven-part series that looks closer at the host’s recent trip across Spain.
Bourdain explains on the endeavor, via Fast Company: “We only cover so much in my show–it’s a very first-person, very personal essay in a place that often only covers one aspect of a location. Wouldn’t it be great to have Roads & Kingdoms writers fleshing out or providing links, additional content and related stories?”
Bourdain continues, explaining that his show, as immersive as it is to viewers, can be a bit myopic in its telling. The new site adds another dimension to each destination and offers travelers a more well-rounded education on its culture and inherent value as a possible location.
He states, via Fast Company: “I recognize that there are a lot of other really good storytellers out there with different perspectives and experiences than my own and that are a perfect companion to my work. I’m a guy who wants more. If I’m curious about a subject, I want to know as much as I can about it, and I can’t and don’t do that in my show.
“It’s a big world, and I see [Explore Parts Unknown] as an opportunity. I stood in front of a griddle or stove for 30 years of my adult life–a lot of that time working for people I didn’t particularly like, making food that didn’t particularly interest me, and serving it to people I didn’t care much about. To have a satisfied mind to create things, it makes me feel good.”
We live in a special age when it’s easy to dive into a location’s history and culture well before boarding the plane. You get a sense of the flavor and smells before ever walking its streets.
Bourdain is adding more voices to the story, which is a win for travelers that want a better picture of all the places they dream of visiting.