Watch the Gullah Geechee Episode of Padma’s New Show for Free Right Now
Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi gained fame in America for the stone-cold fashion in which she delivers bad news to competitors that need to pack their knives and go, but the cookbook author and ACLU ambassador’s new show focuses on welcoming more people into the kitchen, rather than kicking them out.
The show, Taste the Nation, premiered on June 18 on subscription service Hulu, with 10 30-minute episodes featuring immigrant and Indigenous communities around the country and the cuisines that came out of them — burritos on the border, chop suey in San Francisco’s Chinatown (guided by comedian Ali Wong), and Persian food in Los Angeles. But in advance of the Juneteenth holiday, the fourth episode of the show, titled “The Gullah Way,” was made available for free for anyone to watch on YouTube, “so that everyone can learn about it whether they have a subscription or not,” Padma said on Twitter.
In the episode, Padma speaks with members of the Gullah Geechee community, cooks red rice with historian and James Beard Award-winning author Michael Twitty, catches her own crabs, and then chats with chef BJ Denis as she cooks the crabs and learns how to crack them. But throughout the show, as she learns about the culinary traditions, she covers the larger issues the community faces, including climate change, loss of their land, and the disappearance of the Gullah Geechee language.
The episode is emblematic of the way her new show covers the parts of American cuisine that have seen less of a spotlight in mainstream food television in the past, even highlighting her own Indian-American immigrant experience in one episode, which features her own mother and daughter. While Top Chef lets little of Padma’s personality shine through her host role, this show brings that straight to the front, introducing her to those who have not read her memoir or followed her on Twitter.
Watch now: The Gullah Way on YouTube