How Anthony Bourdain Decides Where to Travel to Next for Parts Unknown

Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival
Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival

Is there anywhere Anthony Bourdain hasn’t been? Apparently, there are still a few corners of the globe left unexplored by the colorful celebrity chef and TV host, and he recently revealed exactly how he picks the destinations featured in his CNN series Parts Unknown, which is now in its 11th season.

In an interview with Travel + Leisure, Bourdain said he and his team of producers choose from a list of places he has always wanted to go, or places that he wants to revisit and explore in a completely new light.

Aside from that, though, the chosen destinations need to be places that are worth exploring for some reason beyond their culinary merit. In one episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain dined with President Barack Obama during his historic state visit to Hanoi, Vietnam, in 2016. (It doesn't hurt, though, that Vietnamese food also happens to be one of Bourdain’s favorite cuisines.)

He also finds inspiration in movies, newspaper articles, and chance encounters with people he later decides to collaborate with, according to an interview he did last year with Eater. An example of this was when he decided to do an episode on Seattle based on his conversations with former Screaming Trees lead singer Mark Lanegan, who lives there.

Once Bourdain has some idea of where he wants to go, he holds a brainstorming session with directors to decide how to best present the episode.

“That’s honestly the fun part, when we are sitting around talking about what we want this show to look like and sound like,” Bourdain told Travel + Leisure. “Often I’ll have an idea ahead of time, a general stylistic jumping off point—that always comes from me—but other times I don’t know yet.”

In a moment of spontaneity, Bourdain let cinematographer Christopher Doyle (who is best known for his collaborations with director Wong Kar-wai, including Chungking Express and In the Mood for Love) film most of an upcoming episode about Hong Kong, set to air on June 3, 2018. Bourdain reportedly said he considers the episode a highlight of his career.

Season 11 of Parts Unknown kicked off on Sunday, April 29 with an episode about West Virginia and Appalachian cuisine. Other episodes this season will take viewers to Uruguay, Newfoundland, Armenia, Berlin, Louisiana, and Bhutan.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

Save Up to 93 Percent on 8 Gaming Accessories and Enter to Win a Free Nintendo Switch Bundle

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Stackcommerce

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San Pedro, California Is Home to the Country’s Only Volunteer-Run Post Office

A vintage postcard of San Pedro, California.
A vintage postcard of San Pedro, California.
Boston Public Library Tichnor Brothers, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

There are more than 30,000 post offices in the United States, but only one of them is staffed entirely by volunteers. As Fast Company reports, the nonprofit-run Assistance League Post Office has been serving customers in San Pedro, California, since 1964.

The Assistance League Post Office is one of many contract postal units around the country. Contract postal units are run privately instead of publicly, usually by a business. The post office in San Pedro is unique in that it's operated by a nonprofit organization.

More than 50 years ago, the San Pedro chapter of the Assistance League opened the post office to service its growing community, which includes the Port of Los Angeles. The location only sold stamps for decades, then expanded into a full-service post office in 1990. In addition to running the local postal service, the Assistance League of San Pedro provides low-income residents with orthodontia care, glasses, sexual assault survivor kits, and new school clothes—all resources that revenue from the post office helps pay for.

To make its charitable mission possible, the post office relies on volunteers. Post office chairman Gayle Merrick runs a staff of 17 volunteers—all retired women between the ages of 65 and 87. Their backgrounds range from medicine to education, and they commit to giving three to four days of their time to the post office each month. Many people who volunteer at the Assistance League Post Office stick around for a while; the longest-serving volunteer worked there for a quarter of a century.

The San Pedro post office closed to the public in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its customers and volunteers are still waiting for it to return. Merrick tells Fast Company that she hopes to reopen by October 1, in time to help process local mail-in ballots for the 2020 election.

[h/t Fast Company]