What It was Like Hosting Anthony Bourdain in Gyumri
Everything starts with a call from someone of the coordinating staff and you start jumping of joy and excitement. This is real and Anthony with his Parts Unknown show is in Armenia and will travel to Gyumri. Food, culture, people, history, architecture… everything pops up to your mind and you do not know where to start telling and where to stop. You still do not know how much time you will have to talk to the famous travel TV host and if he will ask the “right” questions for you to open your story to the world.
Poloz Mukuch is the chosen venue for the Gyumri episode. It is a very unique local restaurant right in front of the Gyumri Beer Factory located in the historical downtown district of Gyumri. The place is famous for serving Gyumri beer and traditional dishes like panrkhash, tatar borani, khash, aveluk and many more. The show staff consulting the locals invited to the talk picks qyalla, chanakh and tjvjik, the last being very famous due to the old Armenian movie of the same name, “Tjvjik”. When joining the group at Poloz Mukuch, I met the other 2 interviewees, Amalya and Anush. So Gyumri story will be told through the eyes of the young local ladies with different professions and backgrounds. Well, yes, Gyumri women are really strong and the true driving force of the town, having most men working outside far from the families.
Poloz Mukuch bears the name of the most famous Gyumretsi humourist, whose stories and jokes have become a real subject of pride and joy for Gyumri inhabitants. He was a trader moving his cart all around the city and selling fruits. At the same time he would pepper his humble trade with endless sweet jokes and local tales. This is the person whose name is on the venue chosen by Parts Unknown show staff to showcase the cuisine and culture of Gyumri town. A really good choice and true authentic atmosphere starting from cuisine up to the location and the background story of the place.
Everything is already set up, the crew is around to start filming and there comes Anthony Bourdain, the famous traveller, Chef and TV Producer. We have always read on the internet “travel like Bourdain”, “eat like Bourdain”, but there are few people that get to “meet Bourdain”. So I was lucky to meet and chat with him, a very simple guy and a great interviewer that can make you open up your story through the nicely picked questions about history, people, culture and cuisine. It was a super nice talk flavored with past memories, present doings and future perspectives. Somewhere after a few minutes you forget you are being filmed by CNN, and you just start talking to the nice guy sitting in front of you and eating like in a home kitchen. Did you get to tell all of the things you wanted to be aired on CNN about your home town? Of course, no! You are asked to be authentic and just chat and tell a basic human story of yourself. And that is how they manage to create such beautiful episodes that have “natural” as the first descriptive word for them. Yes, it is natural and it is open. It opens the parts unknown to the world making them known in the most authentic way possible through people and through their emotions.
Full episode to watch below here: