Watch Breaking Borders
- 1 Season
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.