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“I wanted to stay connected to my own roots, but I also wanted to open a window so that Americans, or whomever would watch [La Frontera] would understand the Mexico that I missed, that I loved, and that nurtured me and my family so much.” – Pati Jinich
Today’s Finding Brave guest has dedicated her career to building a shared understanding between her two home countries, Mexico and the United States, through the lens of food, culture and community. In this episode, she not only reveals how she is furthering this mission through two new and exciting projects, including a PBS Primetime special, but also shares about the many twists and turns on her beautiful journey that have helped her arrive at where she is today, inspiring, entertaining and educating thousands around the world.
Pati Jinich is the James Beard Award-winning Mexican chef whose long running PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table has brought Mexican flavors, colors and textures into American homes and kitchens, as viewers have watched Pati thoughtfully and enthusiastically guide them through the various diverse geographic regions of the country.
Named one of the “100 Greatest Cooks of All-Time,” Pati has won a Gracie Award for her television work, is the resident chef of the Mexican Cultural Institute, has been named one of the “Top 5 Border Ambassadors” by The Council of Americas, and has authored two cookbooks highlighting Mexican cuisine.
Her third cookbook, Treasures of the Mexican Table, releases this November and is the culmination of over a decade of travel across her birth country, as she showcases the diversity of Mexican cuisine and sheds light on some lesser known dishes and recipes.
Earlier this month, Pati made her PBS Primetime debut as the host of the new culinary travel special, La Frontera, which highlights the fascinating, yet misunderstood, US-Mexico border region where countries and cultures collide.
In following Pati’s journey since 2014 when I first featured her work in my Forbes column, she has inspired me and so many around the world, with her brilliance, light, creativity and insight. Today on the show, I ask Pati not only about her professional journey but her personal one, and what she believes are keys to achieving the impact and reach she has.
Pati’s messages inform and inspire us to follow the recommendations she offers: to find work and endeavors that make you proud, to build a solid foundation from which to grow, to continue to hone your skills and knowledge, and most importantly, to commit to doing what feels good and right to you, that is true reflection of all that you are and wish to be.
Highlights from this Episode:
- A look at Pati’s beginnings and how her passions morphed into the brand she has built today [6:23]
- Why she is so excited to step away from the kitchen to host her new TV show and further connect with people in a new way [8:43]
- A big realization that Pati has to come to understand about the significance of the Mexico/United States border, and the people who live there [9:23]
- The misconceptions she is tackling head on about the Mexican community, and why Pati says filming the new show has been a humbling experience for her [17:03]
- What happens when we approach people with curiosity, respect and wanting to learn from them [22:54]
- A surprise that Pati got while filming, and the lessons she learned about humanity from this experience [24:22]
- The biggest takeaway that she would like viewers to get from La Frontera [33:45]
- Pati’s best advice for younger generations who have big dreams for their lives [35:54]
For More Information:
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Other resources mentioned:
Pati’s PBS Primetime Special, La Frontera
Her TV Show, Pati’s Mexican Table
All of Her Cookbooks
Kathy’s 2014 Forbes Blog with Pati, From Political Analyst To Mexican Chef On PBS — How Embracing What You Love Builds A Fabulous Career
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QUOTES FROM TODAY’S SHOW:
“I realized that rather than being political, it was by way of the kitchen, cooking and food that made it easier to make sense of who we are.” [7:53]
“All those things that are so difficult to talk about outside of the kitchen, when you put a bowl of food in the middle of people, walls come down and veils are taken off. People are so much more willing to share, connect, and find those common denominators.” [8:10]
“The more that I am on TV, radio and contributing to newspapers and magazines, the more that I feel a bigger responsibility to let people talk and share who they are, and I believe that media is meant to do that. [9:08]
“The [Mexico/United States] border is this place where there is a continuous treading between worlds internally, in a population that reaches not one country but two.” [9:50]
“I’m hoping that with La Frontera, you’re coming to Mexico with me and experiencing it, unscripted. I think we were able to accomplish that.” [11:08]
“I’m just bringing my audience along to learn with me, and to experience with me. It builds this bond of companionship, because I’m not talking to them, but they’re living what I’m experiencing.” [18:41]
“I love the unscripted side of the show, because you’re really going where the people are letting you go, and the more comfortable they are, the more they will go to the unexplored and fascinating places.” [20:05]
“I would love for people to come into the show with open minds and open hearts, and just watch the show without an agenda.” [34:07]
“If you stick to your guns about who you are, those are the things that you are going to be recognized for, and in my case it was my heritage.” [37:13]
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