Roy Choi Explains How Anthony Bourdain Inspired Broken Bread

Celebrity chef Roy Choi, who is credited for starting the "food truck revolution" in 2008 with his Korean-Mexican fusion food truck Kogi (via Thrillist), has his sights set on a different kind of revolution with his show "Broken Bread." In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Choi described the show as a "solution-based social justice show disguised as a food show." He went on to explain, "We use food as a bridge to get people to come in." Season 1 of the show premiered in 2019 and Season 2 premiered on January 25, 2022, with the first episode delving into such matters as "worker exploitation, high food prices, and unsustainable financial models" (via a press release published by PR Newswire). 

So far the show has covered such weighty topics as "gentrification, cultural erasure, and the corporate takeover of food and farming," via Bossip. As Choi describes it in the preview for Season 2, "Broken Bread" is his "interview show," not a "cooking show," per PBS. So he visits the neighborhoods and talks to the people most affected by these issues facing the food industry today in a way that may seem similar to how Anthony Bourdain traveled the world to tell the stories of communities that were rarely highlighted on television.

Choi adds an activist flavor to a Bourdain-like idea

When a new show comes out, people often describe it in reference to another show. When you're talking about telling the stories of communities through food, the late Anthony Bourdain might come to mind. Bourdain took us to places many of us will never see in our lifetimes while highlighting the social issues that may be surrounding the "hidden gems" he found along the way. One episode that Bourdain addressed in an interview with the Television Academy Foundation (via YouTube) when he visited Haiti and thought if he bought enough food to feed the starving community, he could have a positive effect. When the good-natured offering turned into locals fighting over food, it was clear that there were bigger issues at play that could not be fixed by one free meal.

Roy Choi explained to Bossip that, similar to  the way "Anthony Bourdain helped the world see the world through travel," "Broken Bread" will showcase communities that are not often featured on television, but "through the lens of activism." The show aims to not only zero in on the social justice issues facing the food industry but to highlight the people within the affected communities who are trying to enact positive change. "We wanted it also to be a show of positivity, hope, inspiration but we don't want to shy around any of the problems," Choi said.