On the First Episode of ‘No Passport Required,’ Marcus Samuelsson Explores Middle Eastern Food Traditions

The chef gets a closer look at food culture in one of America’s largest Middle Eastern communities.

On the premiere of No Passport Required, chef Marcus Samuelsson heads to Michigan to meet with chefs, restaurateurs, business owners, and others from the large Middle Eastern community in Detroit and Dearborn. He eats falafel and Iraqi samoon; shares a meal of maqluba, dolmas, and other Syrian and Turkish dishes with a family who sought refuge in Detroit after leaving Syria; cooks meat pies with Lebanese-American pastry chef Lena Sareini and her family; and ends the episode at a 700-person wedding.

Between meals, he visits rapper Mona Haydar in her recording studio, stops by Middle Eastern grocery store Hashem’s, and heads to The Bottom Line, a coffee shop and community space. Throughout the episode, Samuelsson learns about how immigrants from the Middle East have overcome common misconceptions, found community, and built a home in the Detroit area.

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