Anthony Bourdain
Outspoken and provocative chef and television presenter Anthony Bourdain has taken his popular show "No Reservations" to Cuba. Photo Credit: Neeta Lind/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY

Anthony Bourdain, the provocative writer, chef and host of popular travel show “No Reservations” has taped an episode in a place Americans are encouraged to steer clear of. An upcoming episode of “No Reservations” was filmed in Cuba, due to travel restrictions gradually being lifted.

New travel rules allow entrance to Cuba

Anthony Bourdain is the author of the gritty and controversial tell-all book, “Kitchen Confidentia,l” and host of the popular travel Travel Channel show “No Reservations.” For the upcoming season, he decided to take the food-centered travel show to a place that would have been nearly unthinkable to travel to a decade ago. Bourdain’s “No Reservations” has gone to Cuba to tape an episode for “No Reservations” season eight, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of Havana, according to MSNBC. More people are starting to take trips to Cuba because new travel rules allow travel to Cuba for purposes of “cultural exchange,” and Bourdain’s show certainly qualifies.

Foul-mouthed television host fulfills Cuban travel ambition

Bourdain stated in an interview on AOL that going to Cuba had been an ambition “for some time.” He noted that many Americans consider it controversial to go there, but that he is driven by an insatiable curiosity about the rest of the world. One of the real highlights of being in Cuba were the old buildings and old-fashioned cars, which an aesthetic appeal all their own, devoid of any modern trappings. He also said he would “hate to see” Havana come to resemble Miami in any way. He was quick to point out that life for the Cuban elites and tourists is vastly different than life for the average Cuban. Meat, as he puts it, “is a luxury” and “sleeping beans,” a slow-cooked dish of black beans and spices, is a dish common to all classes.

Travel to Cuba gradually opening

Though a travel ban to Cuba has been in effect since the Cuban embargo was enacted by the Kennedy administration, the restrictions on going to Cuba have been gradually lessening. Earlier this year, the Obama administration created a new license for people to travel for journalistic or academic purposes as well as for purposes of cultural exchange. The Clinton administration instituted a law in 1999 allowing for more travel to Cuba, but the Bush administration kept such travel to a minimum. One has to obtain a special license for travel to Cuba, according to the State Department, and there are a growing number of travel agencies that have licenses to conduct tours in Cuba. However, a leisure trip to Cuba to sip Mojitos at the Hotel Nacionale and smoke Cohibas at the Hemingway Marina is not on list of the State department’s approved reasons for going.


MSNBC on Bourdain:


MSNBC on Cuba travel:

State Department:

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