This article was translated by John R. Bopp
American chef, writer, and presenter Anthony Bourdain is the director of the CNN show “Parts Unknown“, which travels the world experiencing cuisine. He’s been direting it since 2013, and has won 5 Grammys and been nominated for 11.
In the second episode of the sixth season, which airs today on CNN, the chef and his team visit San Sebastian to show their audience what they can find in this Basque city. Actually, they’re going to offer a gastronomic visit (among other things) using San Sebastian as a hub to travel from Bilbao to the Northern Basque Country, and therefore see quite a good bit of the Land of the Basques.
On the show’s website, we can now enjoy an important compilation of the text and video that Bourdain shows about our country, our food, some of our traditions, and San Sebastian, Bilbao, and the Northern Basque Country.
Among the things we liked were things we really liked. First and foremost, the way he presents our country as a whole, ignoring the border lines that artificially divide our country.
But if there were something especially meaningful, it’s how he speaks frankly about a problem we consider serious, regarding the criticism and reproach that journalists, writers, or simple visitors get from certain circles in Spain when they show their sympathy and fondness for the Basques. The reason for this attitude is clear: they don’t like it that the Basques have friends.
The anecdote he tells of how two chefs at a restaurant in Madrid dared to tell him that his book focused so much on Basque cuisine that it made them think he was “too close to the Basques” simply can’t be missed. If anyone dares to tell that to such a well-renown person as Anthony Bourdain, it can mean only two things. The first is that the feeling that the Basques shouldn’t have friends is widespread and socially acceptable, and the second is that this tells us that it seems that they think it’s such a bad thing that he speak well of the Basques that they break the rules of good manners in order to offer some “advice”.
Our protagonist’s reply is also unbeatable, worthy of a “friend of the Basques”:
My love for the Basque, for Basque culture, for my Basque friends, is absolute. I hope I will be forgiven for this. But if not, I can live with it.
We must thank Mr. Bourdain, and encourage him to visit us again, and share with the world the inland part of our country: the Alavan Rioja region, the Ribera, etc. There’s a whole world to explore in this tiny corner of Europe.
We’ll leave you with the link to the section of the website dedicated to San Sebastian, and info about the episode that was just published on the Eater website by Greg Morabito.
Explore Parts Unknown – 7/5/2017 – USA
Basque Country, San Sebastián in particular, is a place I make television as much as possible. Possibly, my reasons are selfish: San Sebastián and the surrounding region has more outrageously good restaurants per square mile than just about anywhere in Europe. Even the bad restaurants are good.
Eater -5/5/2017 – USA
Anthony Bourdain Eats His Way Through San Sebastián This Sunday on ‘Parts Unknown’
For his follow up to the Los Angeles episode of Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain and the Zero Point Zero crew head to the San Sebastián, Spain to get to know the keepers of the Basque culinary flame. In his field notes, Bourdain writes: “San Sebastián and the surrounding region has more outrageously good restaurants per square mile than just about anywhere in Europe. Even the bad restaurants are good.”