Los Angeles is synonymous with glitz, glamour and the American dream. But, just a few miles east of the Hollywood sign lives America’s largest concentration of Mexican immigrants. Jamie isn’t in LA living it up; he’s living the LA lifestyle for real. East LA is notorious for gangs, drugs and violence, but alongside these problems Jamie discovers a community proud of its food, committed to family and striving to make the American dream a reality.
The ultimate boy’s trip! Jamie wants to see if the clichés of Hollywood westerns are all they’re cracked up to be. He’s always wondered what life as a cowboy is like cowboy and in Wyoming, he finally gets to find out. His trip begins in Sheridan, where Annie Proulx conceived the idea for her novel, Brokeback Mountain. Jamie visits a rodeo before heading into the wilds upstate to see if he can cut it living and working on a real American ranch, and cooking for proper cowboys.
Jamie finds himself in unknown territory during the harsh Arizona Winter. He leaves the tourist trail to spend time with the Navajo Indians on the largest reservation in America. Staying with Mayor Elect Roy Kady, Jamie witnesses Navajo traditions up close: from butchery, to overnighting in a hogan, and cooking with elders. He also gets a crash course in Navajo spirituality. It doesn’t take long before Jamie realizes that, Native American’s are in danger of losing their food culture completely.
As the global recession gains momentum, Jamie goes in search of the best cheap food in America. He starts his journey in Georgia, one of the country’s poorest states and birthplace of the civil rights movement. Despite the recession, Jamie finds a hopeful nation following the election of President Obama, and a people determined to make the best food possible with limited finances and ingredients. Edging down the Georgia coast, Jamie hears about a huge barbeque competition in Florida.
Jamie touches down in Louisiana just weeks after Hurricane Gustav has wreaked havoc in New Orleans and the surrounding area. On a quest to understand why people continue to live in a place that keeps getting battered by hurricanes, Jamie finds a state full of people who use food as a way to celebrate life and keep the party going through adversity. In New Orleans he meets ‘gumbo queen’, Leah Chase, whose Creole restaurant is finally back on its feet after Hurricane Katrina.
Even though Jamie has been visiting New York for over 10 years, he has never ventured out of Manhattan. This trip takes him away from high-end restaurants and 5-star hotels and drops him in the middle of the world’s most ethnically diverse area: Queens. On his forays into the city Jamie uncovers things he’s never imagined: a restaurant run in a family’s living room and another making home-cooked Colombian food for illegal immigrants. He also stumbles across an ‘anti-restaurant’ scene, where people open their homes to strangers; provide them with restaurant quality food for wallet-friendly prices and send them away happy. These are known as supper clubs. After exploring the Egyptian, Peruvian and Szechuan communities in Queens Jamie decides to host his own supper club, with a menu that pays homage to New York’s eclectic mish-mash of food cultures.