April 9th, 2012
05:16 PM ET
Now eight seasons in to "No Reservations," you might think host (as well as author/chef) Anthony Bourdain would be growing weary of his televised travel-and-eat lifestyle. (Particularly when you take into account that he has another food-focused Travel Channel show, "The Layover," which is more service-oriented than "No Reservations.")
But prepping for the eighth season of "No Reservations," which debuts tonight at 9 p.m. ET on the network, Bourdain said in a recent press call that he's not struggling to find fresh material.
"The guiding principle with the show," he says, involves a few essential questions, with the first being, "'where can I go that will be interesting to me?'"
Each season, the idea is to seek places that "I'm genuinely curious about, where I'm excited to go, where I either have something to say already or know nothing about, but am intensely curious about. Where will be interesting for me and the people who I have embarked on this creative enterprise with?'"
The key being satisfying his sense of curiosity, and heading off on sojourns where he can discover and be "forced to learn things about myself. I see those as essential to making interesting television. If this is a job for me, if traveling around the world and being the guest of people all around the world [is a job], then I don't see any reason why it would be interesting and fun to anybody else. That's the only principle. Am I having fun, am I finding this exciting and interesting, is this still a creative enterprise. And I think we've very much managed to keep it one."
This season will hit 15 different locales, including Croatia, Kansas City and Mozambique, which is the subject of Monday's episode.
"The food was a hell of a lot better than I expected, the food was amazing," Bourdain said of the premiere's destination. "It was one of the shows where I came out feeling hopeful about the world."
On the process of taking their travels and turning it into an hour-long TV program, Bourdain said he starts by entering every location chosen "with an open mind, and we shoot a lot - whatever happens."
There will be certain stops and cuisines that the team's researched and will generally try to capture more of, he said, "but any story, any voice-over, any narration, I write that after. That's almost the last thing, as part of the shaping and editing of the show."
"In the best case scenario, the place reveals itself to us, and I'm forced to think about what I've experienced and write from there," he said. "[In] the best case scenario, I go in blind and come out maybe a tiny bit smarter."
And sometimes, along the way, he finds himself departing a destination with a new frame of mind.
"I think anytime you go to a place where they've had very, very little, and where they have very, very little...and yet still manage to take joy in the simple act of cooking and eating and do that with real pride," he said, "it's hard to come away from an experience like that, if you're lucky enough to experience it, it's hard to come out of that unchanged."
As far as having the best gig going, Bourdain said he's fully aware. "There's no question about it," the host said. "Me and my crew, we know we're lucky. And I have the freedom to decide where we're going, what we're going to do when we go there and how we're going to tell the story. I'm well aware of how fortunate I am."
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