Friday, Oct. 15 & 22 at 8 p.m.
The James Beard Award-winning and Emmy-nominated, Mexican American chef Pati Jinich makes her PBS primetime debut as the host of the new culinary travel special.
“La Frontera with Pati Jinich” highlights the fascinating, yet misunderstood, U.S.-Mexico border region, where countries and cultures come together to create a place all its own. In this new two-part special, audiences will follow host and executive producer Pati Jinich as she meets with artists, musicians, athletes and local legends, whose work reflects the blending of Mexican, American and other cultures, as well as the chefs and home cooks who bring all these people together around the table. Along the journey, Pati, who received a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University, draws on her experience as a former political analyst at a policy research center and the current resident chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. to conduct in-depth interviews.
“As a Mexican who now lives in the U.S., I have spent decades treading between these two countries I call home, and so the borderlands hold a special and personal meaning to me,” Jinich said. “While the U.S.-Mexico border has been narrowly labeled for so long, what I found when people opened their homes and lives to me was not a place where two countries clash, but a fascinating, rich and diverse universe with possibilities that cannot exist anywhere else. It’s a true honor to work with PBS to share their stories, and I hope viewers will become as inspired by the region as I have been.”
Using food as a vehicle for exploration, “La Frontera with Pati Jinich” takes audiences into the border cities of El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, Laredo, Nuevo Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville, savoring the rich, diverse and unique cultures in each place.
“We take great pride at PBS in offering programs that connect communities and bring light to new perspectives,” Bill Gardner, vice president, general audience programming at PBS, said. “Pati is a fantastic and fun guide to this unique place, and will give audiences both a heartwarming and mouthwatering experience they won’t soon forget.”
Oct. 15: “Miles From Nowhere”
Pati travels from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez to Big Bend National Park, where she learns how closely America and Mexico are connected through the cattle industry and visits the site where thousands of cattle cross the border every day. She cruises through downtown El Paso with low-riders, talks to muralists, and watches an all-female Mariachi band play their long-awaited comeback concert. Pati discovers their extraordinary food, from burritos known as “Juarez’s gift to the world” to Menudo, BBQ in Marfa, Texas, and even Syrian-Lebanese food. Pati follows the age-old tradition of using El Paso and Juarez as a jumping-off point for exploring the region and witnesses the natural beauty of Big Bend National Park.
Oct. 22: “From Dos Laredos to Mars”
Pati travels from Laredo and Nuevo Laredo to Brownsville, Texas. She gets an up-close look at the major industries of the region—trucking, trade and ranching—and tastes a bit of the American Dream, spending time with the owners of Taco Palenque, a family-run, regional favorite that has grown to a fast-casual empire throughout South Texas. Pati spends the afternoon with Sister Norma Pimentel to understand the motivational force behind migration and takes in a Tecos baseball game—the only bi-national baseball team in the world. She journeys all the way to the Gulf of Mexico to see how the border is grounds for yet another new frontier, as the launching pad for the SpaceX program to explore Mars.