Travel Channel has set a debut date for its new series “Breaking Borders,” and the show’s location lineup, as well.
“Breaking Borders,” hosted by journalist Mariana van Zeller and “Top Chef” Season 6 winner Michael Voltaggio, will premiere on Sunday, March 15 at 9 p.m., the channel told TheWrap exclusively. The company also shared with us exclusively the global locations that the ambitious project is booked for.
In the series, Van Zeller and Voltaggio will travel to conflict zones around the globe for 13 one-hour episodes, gathering people from all sides of a long-standing geographic-based battle to share a feast and talk about the issues that divide them.
The duo aims to “uncover their culinary cultures, likes and dislikes and learn how each respective cuisine helps define who they are,” the channel stated, adding: “As van Zeller digs deeper into the issues, Voltaggio goes on a culinary adventure, collecting ideas and ingredients to create an unbelievable meal inspired by the people he has encountered along the way.”
“It’s amazing how people talk more freely around a dinner table. Food always unites, even where war divides,” said van Zeller. “What we found at the center of each of these conflicts are people with their own truths to tell. The series is a wild ride – rich with stories of war, food, tears, laughter, fear, bravery and survival.”
Added Voltaggio, “For each location, I arrived with just my bag of knives and a vague idea of some of the most traditional foods from the region. I started from scratch buying every ingredient on the ground and constructing my interpretation of the local cuisine. I put 100 percent of myself into cooking every meal. It was an honor to sit at the table and hear the stories.”
On the premiere episode, van Zeller and Voltaggio travel to Israel and Palestine to invite the following guests to dinner: Yaakov and Naama Berg, Jewish settlers; Yoram Cohen and his family, Jewish settlers; Munther Fhami, a Palestinian book store owner; Sameer, their Palestinian “fixer/guide;” and Israeli Yariv Oppenheimer, General Director of “Peace Now,” a pro two-state solution organization.
Later on the season, the two will head to Belfast to understand what happened during the 30-year war in Northern Ireland between Catholic Republicans and Protestant Nationalists; travel to Cairo to explore the chaotic reality of the country post-Arab Spring; investigate the island and capital city of Cyprus divided by age-old enemies; crisscross Beirut and Tripoli to explore a country in paradox; and journey to Sarajevo to grasp how three distinct ethnic groups — Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks — co-exist in one city after civil war and ethnic cleansing, the Travel Channel told TheWrap.
Additional locations featured in the series include Arizona/Mexico, Cambodia, Cuba, Kashmir, Myanmar/Burma, Rwanda and Sri Lanka.
“Breaking Borders” is produced by MY Tupelo Entertainment for Travel Channel.
Executive producers are Gry Winther, Joe Townley, Michael Yudin, Yon Motskin, and Brian Leonard.