Breaking Borders

Watch Breaking Borders

  • 2015
  • 1 Season
  • 8.5  (58)

Breaking Borders is a captivating travel show that premiered on the Travel Channel in 2015, starring Michael Voltaggio, Mariana van Zeller and Mike Gassaway. The show's aim is to break down cultural barriers and stereotypes by bringing people from opposing sides of conflicts, whether political, economic or cultural, to sit and share a meal together.

Each episode of Breaking Borders features a different conflict from a different part of the world, highlighting how these conflicts affect the daily lives of people on either side of the border. The show chooses local culinary specialists to prepare a meal that is indigenous to the area, showcasing the unique flavors, ingredients and ideas of that region's cuisine. Through the shared experience of food, the guests are able to build a connection and gain a deeper understanding of each other's cultures.

Host Mariana van Zeller exudes a sense of empathy and open-mindedness as she leads the conversations between the guests. Her calm and respectful demeanor allows for a space where people feel comfortable enough to share their thoughts and experiences, regardless of their differences. Chef Michael Voltaggio brings his culinary experience and knowledge to each episode by offering insights into the ingredients and techniques used to create the dishes. Meanwhile, Mike Gassaway is responsible for exploring the location, bringing depth to contextualizing the conflict.

The show's format balances a combination of cultural and political discussions through the lens of the meal that the guests are sharing together. It's an unconventional approach, but one that proves to be effective in bridging the gap between opposing views. Breaking Borders also does a fantastic job of highlighting the beauty and diversity of each location, utilizing stunning visuals and camera work.

One particular episode, filmed in Jerusalem, depicts the personal trauma of the ongoing conflict between Palestinian and Israeli residents. The conversation between the guests is intense, as they delve into the day-to-day realities of living in the region. Through the meal and discussion, they are able to gain a newfound respect and understanding of each other's opinions and struggles. It's a powerful message: that no matter how complex or deep the divisions, everyone has something in common through food.

Another episode that stands out is the one filmed on the US/Mexico border, where the guests are a group of immigrants who have crossed over into the United States as well as a local border patrol officer. Through a meal of tamales and tequila, they share their life experiences and open up about their beliefs on immigration policies. Although the conversation is difficult at times, it's clear that through the communal act of eating and sharing, the guests come away from the experience with a better sense of each other's humanity.

Breaking Borders is an inspiring show that goes beyond traditional travel programs, by tackling real-world issues and using food as a catalyst for change. The show doesn't shy away from tough discussions or difficult conversations, which results in illuminating and deeply humanizing viewing experiences. It's a refreshing and insightful look into the minds and lives of those affected by conflict, proving that breaking down barriers can truly begin with a meal shared among strangers.

Breaking Borders is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (13 episodes). The series first aired on March 15, 2015.

Breaking Borders
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Birth of Democracy in Myanmar
13. Birth of Democracy in Myanmar
July 26, 2015
After 50 years of silence, Myanmar has declared itself a democracy. With an election coming, Mariana & Michael visit to see how the changes are affecting the citizens. They speak with monks, guerrilla leaders & try pig eyeballs.
Young Tigers in Sri Lanka
12. Young Tigers in Sri Lanka
July 26, 2015
Mariana & Michael fly to Sri Lanka, a country whose bloody civil war lasted from 1983-2009, killing close to 100,000 Buddhists and Hindus. They visit a Tamil orphanage, discuss the need for brutality and spear fish for dinner.
Suffocating in Lebanon
11. Suffocating in Lebanon
May 24, 2015
Mariana and Michael head to Lebanon, a country surrounded by turmoil.
Cyprus: Trouble in Paradise
10. Cyprus: Trouble in Paradise
May 17, 2015
Mariana & Michael go to Cyprus, an island nation where religious violence split a city in two, creating tension & the need for UN protection. They explore an abandoned airport, fish near a ghost town, and dine in the buffer zone.
Fields and Dreams in Cambodia
9. Fields and Dreams in Cambodia
May 10, 2015
After Pol Pots reign of terror, Mariana van Zeller and Michael Voltaggio visit a rebuilding Cambodia.
Gorillas and Growth in Rwanda
8. Gorillas and Growth in Rwanda
May 3, 2015
Mariana van Zeller and Michael Voltaggio travel to Rwanda, which experienced unprecedented genocide in 1994.
Vintage Cars, Cigars & New Freedom in Cuba
7. Vintage Cars, Cigars & New Freedom in Cuba
April 26, 2015
The last TV crew to enter Cuba before the announcement of the 50-year embargo being lifted, Mariana van Zeller and Michael Voltaggio go to the communist island to talk about the state of the nation, what has changed, and the future expectations and hopes.
Torture in Kashmir
6. Torture in Kashmir
April 19, 2015
Journalist Mariana van Zeller and chef Michael Voltaggio visit Kashmir to learn about the conflict that threatens its existence: to be part of India, part of Pakistan or its own independent state. Mariana and Michael walk through heavily guarded streets and visit a floating market.
Dying for the American Dream
5. Dying for the American Dream
April 12, 2015
Mariana and Michael travel to the US-Mexico Border.
Tears and Tunnel of Hope in Sarajevo
4. Tears and Tunnel of Hope in Sarajevo
April 5, 2015
Journalist Mariana van Zeller and chef Michael Voltaggio visit Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Detained in Egypt
3. Detained in Egypt
March 29, 2015
Mariana van Zeller and Michael Voltaggio visit Egypt and are confronted by the police, have their passports confiscated and ride camels near the pyramids.
Bloody Saturday in Ireland
2. Bloody Saturday in Ireland
March 22, 2015
Mariana van Zeller and Michael Voltaggio travel to Northern Ireland to bring Catholics and Protestants together for a meal and conversation. They witness heated clashes during marching season, sip on Guinness and dine in the Crumlin Road Jail.
Mother of All Conflicts
1. Mother of All Conflicts
March 15, 2015
Mariana van Zeller and Michael Voltaggio travel to Israel and Palestine to bring both sides together for a meal and conversation. They get caught in the streets of Hebron among locals, soldiers and settlers as they explore the holiest sites on Earth.
Where to Watch Breaking Borders
Breaking Borders is available for streaming on the travel CHANNEL website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Breaking Borders on demand at Amazon, Vudu, Google Play and Apple TV.
  • Premiere Date
    March 15, 2015
  • IMDB Rating
    8.5  (58)