Mondays at 9 p.m., beginning Jan. 20, 2020.
Season 2 of NO PASSPORT REQUIRED with Marcus Samuelsson Explores the Food and Culture of America’s Immigrant Communities
NO PASSPORT REQUIRED returns for a second season with renowned chef and executive producer Marcus Samuelsson visiting six new cities to explore the rich diversity of immigrant traditions and cuisines woven into American food and culture. NO PASSPORT REQUIREDSeason 2 premieres with new episodes Mondays, January 20-February 17, 2020. The series travels to Los Angeles (January 20), where the largest Armenian community outside of the homeland resides; Houston (January 27), home to one of the highest numbers of West African expatriates of any U.S. city; and Philadelphia (February 3), where Italian Americans have thrived for generations. Other episodes focus on the Chinese American community in Las Vegas (February 10), which has grown tremendously over the last 20 years, and Boston (February 17), where Marcus explores Portuguese-speaking cultures and cuisines from three different locales: Brazil, Cape Verde and Portugal. In each city, he’ll visit local restaurants, markets and family homes, learning about each community’s cuisine and heritage. NO PASSPORT REQUIRED is part of special programming focused on America’s history, food and culture premiering January-March 2020 on PBS.
An immigrant himself — born in Ethiopia, raised in Sweden, now a celebrated chef, restaurateur, author and resident of Harlem — Marcus Samuelsson is passionate about sharing and celebrating the food of America’s vibrant communities. Each episode shows how important food can be in bringing Americans — old and new — together around the table. “I’m so happy to present this second season of NO PASSPORT REQUIRED,” said Samuelsson. “We have only begun to scratch the surface of the amazing range of immigrant cultures and cuisines found in the U.S. It’s exciting to go on this journey once again and bring attention to these diverse communities that contribute so much to our nation.”
“Los Angeles” – Monday, January 20, 9:00 p.m. - Season 2 Premiere
Marcus visits Los Angeles, where the largest Armenian community outside of the homeland thrives in the foothills north of downtown L.A. Resilient and entrepreneurial, Armenians are scattered across the world, and Marcus meets Armenians from Russia, Lebanon, Syria, Ethiopia and Egypt. From lule kabob — the dish that holds the diaspora together — to Ghapama, pumpkin stuffed with apricots, rice, Aleppo peppers and other trimmings, Marcus learns what sets this diverse cuisine apart. Thousands of years old and full of tradition, food is a source of pride and cultural identity that has helped Armenians survive. Passed down from one generation to the next, traditional recipes are now being reinvented by young chefs, while a new generation is being introduced to the history and foodways of their grandparents.
“Houston” – Monday, January 27, 9:00 p.m.
Marcus goes to Houston, America’s most diverse city, to explore West African food. While many may be unfamiliar with Nigerian, Senegalese or Liberian cooking, West African foodways were brought to this country through slavery, and dishes like jollof rice and yams are the foundation for soul food. From pepper soup to the iconic Nigerian suya — grilled meat skewers with peanut and other spices — Marcus learns about the big, bold tastes of this unique cuisine and meets innovative chefs who are pushing hard to bring the taste of West African food to mainstream America.
“Philadelphia” – Monday, February 3, 9:00 p.m.
Marcus is embraced by the Italian American community in Philadelphia, where strolling down its famous 9th Street feels like walking back in time. Cooking with chefs and restaurant owners, he discovers that Italian food is deeply rooted in traditional craftsmanship and methods passed down for generations. Proud of their heritage and culture, chefs tell stories of their ancestors, who overcame adversity and founded family businesses that have lasted for decades, even centuries. Baked into the lasagna, Neapolitan pizza, veal parmesan and pasta dishes is the concept of “la famiglia,” where everyone comes together around a table to enjoy food and share experiences. New chefs find a way to honor the past but gently push the boundaries by focusing on regional cuisine, exciting American palates to the possibilities of what Italian food can be.
“Las Vegas” – Monday, February 10,9:00 p.m.
From the city’s famed Strip, with its neon-lit casinos, to modest shopping malls, Marcus explores the deep-rooted Chinese community in Las Vegas and samples their surprising diverse food traditions. With the help of chefs from many of the various regions of China, he learns how to make hand-pulled noodles and Peking duck, tastes regional favorites like Toothpick Lamb and Mongolian hotpot, and enjoys a Taiwanese breakfast feast of xiao long bao, beef noodle soup and oyster pancakes. Marcus also investigates the traditions of herbal medicine and teas, watches local musicians play traditional instruments, and meets with the newest wave of young Chinese American chefs who are transforming their parents’ cuisine into something fresh and uniquely their own.
“Boston” – Monday, February 17,9:00 p.m.
Marcus visits the greater Boston area to learn more about the Portuguese, Brazilian, and Cape Verdean diasporas that have made this bustling port city their home. These three distinct Portuguese-speaking communities — comprised of over a million people in Massachusetts — reflect the reach of a once-mighty empire, stretching from islands in the mid-Atlantic and off the coast of West Africa to South America. While learning about this often painful history, Marcus tastes the food of the chefs who are continuing and transforming these traditions – sampling Portuguese chowder with halibut on a fishing boat, visiting a Portuguese marketplace where he tastes the dried cod known as bacalhau, learning the history of the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira over açaí bowls, tasting Cape Verdean specialties like cachupa and jagacida, and, of course, heading to a churrascaria for lots and lots of meat.
NO PASSPORT REQUIRED is executive produced by Marty Moe, Chad Mumm, Amanda Kludt, Jim Bankoff, Joanna Forscher and Marcus Samuelsson for Vox Media Studios. Sonia Chopra, Maureen Giannone Fitzgerald, and Max Heckman are co-executive producers for Eater and Vox Media Studios. Pamela A. Aguilar is the executive in charge for PBS. Funding for NO PASSPORT REQUIREDis provided by the Anne Ray Foundation, a Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropy.