Padma Lakshmi is serving up another season of her Hulu series Taste the Nation, premiering Friday. It looks at food and immigration issues in various communities all around the United States, but she tells ABC Audio, “We don’t just go into an immigrant community or an indigenous community, find out about them and then rinse and repeat.”
“We’re looking at the whole big issue of immigration in this country, which is so central to the foundation of our republic and so integral to the continued evolution of America,” Lakshmi explains. “We would not be a superpower if it wasn’t for all of the generations of Americans who have come here and given us the best of their cultures and stayed and helped to build this country.”
That diversity, says Lakshmi, is also one of the reasons the food is so great in the U.S.
“American high-end chefs, you know, Michelin star chefs and the like, have been influenced by all the different brown and Black folk that work in their kitchen,” she shares. “You open the door to any five-star restaurant in New York and you look at who is in the kitchen staff, it’s all immigrants.”
So what’s on tap for season 2?
“In Puerto Rico, we’re looking at sovereignty and food sovereignty specifically, but also just whether they should be a state, whether they should continue as a territory. With the Cambodian episode in Lowell, Massachusetts, Cambodians came there as refugees with nothing but the shirts on their backs. And within a generation they have revitalized Lowell so much so that they one in four Lowellians is Cambodian,” she says. “In the Nigerian episode in Houston, we talk to Nigerian Americans, but we also tackle a very sensitive topic about Blackness in America.”
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