We Can’t Separate Food From Politics

One of our most persistent fictions of climate change is that the food industry, whose waste and emissions must be brought under immediate control if we are to survive the Anthropocene, can live without immigrants, whose existence puts the lie to nations and nationalism. Enter The Migrant Kitchen, a moving examination of the gift of immigration, and cuisine, which have made us stronger, not weaker. My latest for Civil Eats:

‘Migrant Kitchen’ Aims to Show We Cannot Separate Food From Politics

For all of its soft focus and harsh critique, most cuisine television is biased toward the diner’s endpoint, when a high-end plate of stunning food reaches the table and judgment begins. But that’s not the case for the second season of the moving documentary series, “The Migrant Kitchen,” which premieres tonight on KCET and LinkTV.

As cinematographically precise as the Emmy-winning series is, “The Migrant Kitchen” is also an intersectional exploration of biography, geography, anthropology, and more. It culminates in an accessible chronicle of immigrants from Mexico, Korea, Central America, Vietnam, and many other places, all making their way to America to change the face and space of Earth’s coolest cuisine. The show also focuses less on that plated-end result and more on process and progress—which need more exposure than ever.

“’The Migrant Kitchen’ is just one example of how we can live together and celebrate diversity, while providing context for the beauty of what it means to come from different backgrounds,” executive producer Antonio Diaz explains.


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