Pati Jinich travels the world putting a spotlight on the cuisine of various countries with her PBS show, “Pati’s Mexican Table.”
Despite all her travels, she’s always wanted to showcase the culture and cuisine of the borderland – specifically the Texas-Mexico border.
“It’s a different world there,” she says. “It’s like you enter a third dimension. It’s colorful, flavorful and exquisite in its simplicity.”
Jinich spent a few months in the borderland in April to capture the culture.
The two-part series is called “La Frontera with Pati Jinich.”
The series highlights the fascinating, yet misunderstood, U.S.-Mexico border region, where countries and cultures come together.
Jinich meets with artists, musicians and local legends, whose work reflects the blending of cultures, as well as the chefs and home cooks who bring all these people together.
The first episode is called “Miles from Nowhere” and sees Jinich travel from El Paso to Juárez to Big Bend National Park. In the episode she discovers the people, places and food – from burritos to Middle Eastern cuisine – that make this region unique.
It will air at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15 on New Mexico PBS, channel 5.
“El Paso and Juárez are special places,” Jinich says. “I’ve been working with these projects for years. I’ve been visiting different sister cities. I love how these communities work together to keep themselves connected. They are proud of their roots.”
Jinich wanted to learn more about her home country of Mexico.
“As I started to explore, I found the stories I wanted to tell,” she says. “What we see in the news about the border is only one part of it. The stories that aren’t told are those of community. I wanted to get myself into these communities for a time and showcase how great they are.”
The second part of the series is called “From Dos Laredos to Mars” and will air at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22 on New Mexico PBS.
In the episode, Jinich travels Laredo and Nuevo Laredo to Brownsville, Texas. She learns how tight-knit family bonds are an underlying theme connecting everything in the Laredos and throughout La Frontera.
“I was in the middle of the Rio Grande Valley and found out so much,” she says. “In this small section, there are nature preserves, farms and colorful communities. Traveling here was so humbling because the people are so warm and generous. Having that level of connection is amazing.”
A story that sticks out in her mind is visiting Larry Delgado’s ranch in the Rio Grande Valley. There she met a Japanese American/Mexican family of ranchers.
“These are Japanese immigrants who were put into concentration camps in the United States,” she says. “They moved to Texas and became migrant farmers. They are raising Japanese beef of extraordinary quality. I hope that viewers connect to these stories.”