TV Host Anthony Bourdain Reveals His Jewish Roots During Visit to Jerusalem (VIDEO)
Superstar food personality and all-around heathen Anthony Bourdain is part Jewish, he revealed in the first episode of the new season of his CNN show Parts Unknown, in which he visited Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. Bourdain, who has made no secret of his French heritage throughout his more than ten years hosting travel shows, said that one of his parents was Jewish while the other was Catholic, “I think.”
Bourdain, despite having traveled the world, had never been to Israel, noting that he was unsure of what to think of it and that perhaps he had hesitated because of the country’s complicated political climate. He added, however, that though raised without religion, and having never been to synagogue, he didn’t think that made him any less Jewish.
During the show, Bourdain goes on a tour of Jerusalem’s Old City with Yotam Ottolenghi, the London-based Israeli-born chef, and co-author of cookbook Jerusalem, visits settlers in the West Bank, and a refugee camp. He also takes a detour from the traditional tourist attractions, meeting Palestinian female race-car drivers and spending time with an interfaith couple who run a restaurant in the Judean Hills. He heads to Gaza and joins a married couple willing to defy conventions—by cooking dinner together.
Bourdain is no stranger to the region’s conflicts. During filming in Beirut for a show in 2006, he was caught in the middle of the Second Lebanon War. The ordeal was the basis for the show and Bourdain and his crew eventually had to be evacuated from the country, as Israeli planes struck targets in the city.
The episode maintains a safe distance from deep exploration of the issues that wrack the region, but Bourdain, visibly hesitant throughout much of the show, settles on one fact, telling his companions at one point: “It’s beautiful here. I don’t know why I didn’t expect that.”
Watch a video clip of the show, below: