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‘Inclusion and diversity’: Celebrity chef explores culinary cultures of America in ‘No Passport Required’

Twenty years ago, Marcus Samuelsson came to the United States as an immigrant.

In that time, he’s been able to see America through a different lens.

As an award-winning chef, Samuelsson has built a great career for himself.

As if he weren’t busy enough with that job, he’s taken on the duties as host of the new six-part series “No Passport Required.”

The series premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, on New Mexico PBS, Channel 5.1.

The series takes viewers on an inspiring journey across the U.S. to explore and celebrate the wide-ranging diversity of immigrant traditions and cuisines woven into American food and culture.

Each week, Samuelsson visits a new city to discover the dynamic and creative ways a particular immigrant community has made its mark.

A vibrant portrait of America today, the series features musicians, poets, chefs, business owners, artists, community leaders and home cooks who have enhanced the nation’s culture and cuisine.

Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden and is now a celebrated chef, restaurateur, author and resident of Harlem. His personal story brings a particular resonance to his observations as he travels across the country.

“I absolutely believe in the American dream,” he says. “It’s inspired people from all over the world to come here. And what would America be without all the immigrants? Not as delicious! Not as tasty!”

He says the series is about family and culture.

“It’s about inclusion and diversity,” he says. “When we visited Detroit, we meet a Syrian family that literally got to the U.S. six months ago. It’s a lot about hope and family, starting a new life in a new country and contributing to it.”

Though the season is only six episodes, Samuelsson is hoping for multiple seasons.

“As we dove into it, we always wanted to do more and more cities,” he says. “I want to tell the diverse story. Being able to present the diversity that makes up America is important, especially right now. We often hear stories about cultural identity and fitting in. In this moment, these are all brought to the forefront of the discussion.”

When more episodes come, Samuelsson is looking forward to visiting New Mexico.

“We have to tell the Native American story,” he says. “This is a big part of the country’s history.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email film@ABQjournal.com. Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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