Why are there no women on the food-travel shows?
A few days have passed after the sad Anthony Bourdain’s anniversary death, reminding us how important his legacy was and still. The person who not just completely changed the way to eat and travel for so many people, opening the windows to a brand new list of wonderful destinations to visit, by being a fearless descriptive storyteller showing the real scenarios where people lived, bringing discussions of open wounds at the table, that hurt a little bit less sharing a delicious plate of food while talking vividly with a local interlocutor who became a new friend.
I know it’s impossible to fill thus far the emptiness left by Anthony Bourdain’s wild and free spirit. But why not give us a try, not to fill his emptiness but keep telling stories discovering those lost parts of the world have already changed.
I keep wondering who is going to be. Why not give us women a chance? When are we going to put a girl eating and traveling on the screen? Who isn’t ready for it?
Why do my favorite food and travel shows have a male protagonist? Why aren’t there any women Anthony Bourdain’s, Dave Chang’s, Phil Rosenthal’s, Eric Ripert’s or even Guy Fieri’s or Hairy Bikers on the screen? Why is Samin Nosrat the only one I saw traveling and eating happily around the world? – Even then that a docu-series based on her best-selling book, on a limited 4 episodes run—that was it. Oh, also 2/8s of the Mind of a Chef show episodes were hosted by female chefs as well; I totally forgot about that 25%.
Why the new Netflix food show release is “The Chef” also hosted by two bros? Why not a similar show but hosted by Nancy Silverton and Ruth Reichl sharing a bottle of wine and thousands of funny stories worth to be tell? Or what about Lisa Donovan and Kelly Fields baking goodness and showing the world how well done is everything made in the South? Or a spicy foodie show hosted by the hilarious Ali Wong? Why are we so happy and eager to watch ‘Ugly Delicious’ and ‘Somebody Feed Phil’ second seasons without a second thought about a following season or a new show hosted by our beloved Samin?
Why are the solo female travelers I admire and I would like to watch always limited to expressing themselves on paper? Why aren’t any shows based on Jada Yuan’s story, who traveled for an entire year by herself, touring 52 destinations in 52 weeks? Or anyone capturing Helen Rosner’s all over the place steps looking for a great story behind the food industry to tell, or any other unknown girl who would be eager to literally eat the world and show it?
The real travelers telling the not-always-easy stories behind all those incredible places all over the world at least I am interested in. I would like to know how the dishes and the streets smell, the story behind the people surrounding the places I would walk or eat in, from the awarded chef to the old lady still recollecting rice in the fields. I would like to see the family owner of a gift shop selling daily special offers to the tourist, marking the prices in American dollars in a little town in Taiwan, sharing how they live and what they eat on their daily basis when the store seems to always be open.
I’m bored of seeing Instagram influencers just posting beautiful pictures always on the same shared places under the perfect lightning and an admirable work editing behind a #beautiful #sunset or #yummy description, or an always smiling, good looking and immaculate dressed Giada DeLaurentiis on her fancy vacation destinations.
I want to see a free, honest, fearless and independent woman, recounting deep and real stories. And I’m sure I’m not the only girl who needs it.
I don’t know about you, but I would love to see a girl traveling alone as I do, feeling the freedom I do, finishing a whole pizza pie by herself, because she doesn’t have anyone to share with and she doesn’t want to waste food (NO REGRET), sitting at the stairs on Piazza Santo Spirito in Florence, or clinking her beer with the locals in one of those community tables in those black alleys in any Bangkok night market. I’m looking for something to watch that helps me escape from my stifling routine, to feel relaxed and accompanied when I grab a cold leftover filled cardboard box from the fridge in my pajamas on a Friday night basis.
I would like to see a girl eating happily all the cute tiny sweets she could find on her way in Japan smiling at the camera saying she is on a sweet mood because she has her period, making fun of changing her menstrual cup in a bathroom without any other equipment besides a hole in the ground in a lost tiny island in Malaysia; or flirting with the bartender who is making a fancy cocktail in one of the Chicago’s luxury rooftops. Just a girl with no care about saying ‘go fuck yourselves’ before lewd or sexually gestures, and explains how to take care of herself, not just about security but how to keep a healthy balance between enjoying a long trip eating out all the time and still feeling good.
I would like to see a girl carrying her backpack all over the world and eating the best dreamed up food, who feels the same confidence hiking a volcano in Lombok in her shorts and hiking boots, as when opening the door at some of the fanciest restaurants in Paris, stunning in her long dress and high heels wearing make up after a while. One that has no problem to explore a strip club in Portland or Japan, take shots of homemade liquor with the fisherman crew on a boat after four days navigating without even taking a shower, eating tofu and rice from the communal pot with her hands sitting at the non-stop shaking floor. One comfortable enjoying the Jazz brunch at Commanders Palace in New Orleans or a fancy tea party in a charming London mansion.
So why are not cheering and celebrating that brave girl yet?
Who isn’t ready to put a woman on a food/travel show? Are women not ready to host one, are the people not ready to watch it, or are the producers too concerned to invest in an independent female traveler?
What are the requirements for a woman to be on a show? What does her personality have to be, and what adversities does has she have to be comfortable with?
Or the real questions are what would she up to show and WHAT DOES SHE LOOK LIKE?
I know you probably don’t have the answer to any of these sorts of questions for me, but the most important one is: are you ready for it?
I can’t stop asking me all those questions over and over again and what the f**k?!
Why not me?
Because I’m going to travel and discover the world through food anyway; party of one booking or on the ground siting, fancy awarded or hole in a wall restaurants with no allergy or dietary restrictions, with just a backpack as my partner.
So that’s my story: I committed to following the passion for food and travel always bubbling inside my belly, touring or living in as many places I can. To just start out for a solo road trip for a month enjoying the soul food in US, feeling the warm hug of what Southern hospitality means, spending the nights on the couches of complete strangers as I’ve done before (AD-HOC (Yountville)) in order to afford the places I’m eager to try in US with an Au Pair Salary, in light of leaving this country because of an annoying visa deadline.
My second planned step (depending on my savings and how long it would take me to stay in New Orleans enjoying the life), is dropping off my basic economy rental car at Nashville’s airport and fly to New York to spend a few days just eating and crossing as many restaurants I can on my NYC dream list, as my solo US farewell, before I flight to Southeast Asia traveling, learning and eating all over the place there as well.
Until the day I run out my savings arrive and I have to move to Australia, working in any kitchen that would welcome me as dishwasher, letting me watch the chefs play, learning about how to cook, how develop new techniques or flavors and how everything works behind the culinary world I love; saving money to put me on the road again making my way to South America someday.
Or at least, fingers crossed, that’s my ambitious life plan so far.
I’m not asking for money, I don’t want money. The best lesson I’ve learned in the US is I can work really hard anywhere, not having any problem easily surpassing 60 hours a week or changing sheets and cleaning toilets as the only way to get extra money, to follow my passion. -Because at least for me, it’s totally worth it.
So that’s the story I want to tell. How a Spanish Au pair could afford dinners at Alinea or Saison with a $195, 75 weekly salary, making her way to Gaa in Bangkok, sleeping in a $3 hostel nearby the same night and moving from hostel to hostel, changing her cheap food vendors every day, promoting an ethical and sustainable tourism, not sleeping and eating more than two times in the same place. Discovering, tasting and knowing cities and countries all over the world through food, from the fancy good dining places, to the hole in a wall where I would eat by myself in the middle of nowhere, talking and sharing thoughts and stories with amazing strangers. (my Indonesian adventure ) (ALI)
I would like to inspire people knowing they can do it as well and that ANY GIRL can travel alone and conquer the world if she wants it.
And I’m not talking about having my own show on Netflix or pretend to be the female version of Anthony Bourdain—I know there will never be a replacement for such a magical human being, and I don’t have any interest in being on screen (I’m not that kind of confident woman who likes to take selfies all the time either).
I just would like to tell the story I own, to have a platform or magazine to share my personal story discovering the world through eating without any fair of any kind of food I could find out around and telling the stories behind those dishes. Being a storyteller describing the stories behind the faces would cook or serve the plates I would be eating.
Eat and travel will always be my passion so I’ll do it anyway.