In more than 10 years traveling the world, followed by a television crew, to explore culinary culture off the beaten path, Jerusalem may be the most fraught place Anthony Bourdain has visited yet.
“By the end of this hour, I’ll be seen by many as a terrorist sympathizer, a Zionist tool, a self-hating Jew, an apologist for American Imperialism, an Orientalist, socialist, fascist, CIA agent and worse… so here goes nothing,” the celebrity chef-cum-professional tourist explains in the premiere of Season to of "Parts Unknown," debuting Sunday on CNN.
Bourdain has hardly avoided areas of conflict: in the first season of "Parts Unknown" he visited the long-closed country Myanmar, post-Ghaddafi Libya and war-torn Congo. But in Jerusalem, Bourdain is hyperaware of the complicated politics of the place.
It's easily the most contentious piece of real estate in the world," he says. "And there's no hope, none, of ever talking about it without pissing somebody, if not everybody, off. Maybe that's why it's taken me so long to come here."
Throughout the hour, he visits the West Bank home of a Jewish settler, past the barbed wired of Gaza, and into the home of an Arab husband and Jewish wife.
As may be increasingly the case on this show, unlike the hedonistic "No Reservations" on the Travel Channel, Bourdain's journey is less about the food, and more about taking his audience into corners of the world they may never otherwise see.