Tony Bourdain in Saudi Arabia
Danya Alhamrani runs Saudi Arabia's first female-owned production company
Anthony Bourdain's newest No Reservations was on last night, in which he tours Saudi Arabia with Danya Alhamrani, a Saudi woman. (Danya won a contest in which viewers competed to play tour guide for Tony.) Every time No Reservations threatens to get old, or AB himself flirts with overexposure, they do something amazing like this. To me, this is the best kind of food television.
Danya takes Tony on a tour of Saudi food, featuring both restaurants (A fried chicken fast food place that's a local favorite) and home cooking (Camel hump! It looks like a giant hunk of quivering fat). While Tony and Danya eat, they're also having having genuine, sometimes awkward, sometimes funny conversations about why, for instance, Saudi restaurants segregate women away from non-related males. And why a smart, successful, funny woman might actually think that's a good idea.
You can read Tony's account of the whole shebang here, and the No Reservations producer's blog here, on what it was like to be a female producer in Saudi Arabia. Find out more about Danya Alhamrani here.