Photo from Hulu
Food series Taste the Nation, executive produced by and starring Padma Lakshmi, was renewed after a critically acclaimed freshman season, according to Entertainment Tonight.
In every episode, the Top Chef host and bestselling cookbook author travels across America to taste foods from different ethnic communities, “revealing stories that challenge notions of identity, belonging, and what it means to be American,” Hulu states.
“I also wanted to travel the country. I wanted to see on the ground, what does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide that? What is American food actually?” Lakshmi told Entertainment Tonight. “It seemed to me, we were willing to embrace immigrant food and make it our own, but yet we were still unwilling to embrace the people that made that food. And that to me seems super hypocritical.”
“Because I was convinced that if I could just make the bigger American TV public aware of what it was like on the ground for these people in their daily life, that it would show them that their humanity was no lesser than [anybody else’s],” Lakshmi added.
In fact, the food show is a sort of a “Trojan horse,” as Lakshmi told Variety before the show’s first season premiered. ‘Taste the Nation’ was a “direct result” of her work with the American Civil Liberties Union on immigrants, according to her June 22 interview with Eater, in which she said she realized food was the pervasive way to demystify immigrant communities.
Lakshmi said she wanted to capture a paradox in which immigrant foods are embraced but its makers are systematically and brutally shunned by a nation constructed from their sacrifices.
“Lakshmi’s flirtatious manner, her unquenchable glamour, allow her to Trojan-horse Taste the Nation’s true intentions for viewers who might be expecting a vaguely patriotic travelogue through America’s most iconic meals,” The Atlantic writes.
Throughout the show’s first season, Lakshmi travelled to El Paso, Texas, San Francisco’s Chinatown, New York and other cities characterized by immigrant foods coast-to-coast.
Hulu will authorize 10 more episodes of Lakshmi’s culinary endeavors across the nation.
“I wanted to go where the interesting immigrant stories are and use food as the Trojan horse to embed myself there and find out what life was like for them on a daily basis, and what their experiences were in order to demystify some of the very insular communities for the larger American public,” Lakshmi told Variety.
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