Saturday’s season premiere of travel/cooking show Avec Eric promises, above all else, further proof of the boons gleaned from adventure. The Season 3 teaser is a delightful whiplash, wherein kangaroos, cephalopod tentacles, and long, open roads blink on the screen just long enough for its host, master chef Eric Ripert, to spin an enlightened, French-accented phrase.
It promises food: the sourcing, preparing, and eating of it. It also promises near-anthropologic storytelling, panoramic vistas, and a few shakes of mortal peril. It promises philosophizing and, perhaps more than anything, immersive, active television.
This season, the three-Michelin-star chef notes, “is much more vibrant and energetic,” a fact perhaps explained by the show’s move from PBS to the flashier Food Network offshoot. The locations are also more dramatic: A Buddhist temple. The Australian outback. The demilitarized zone (DMZ) on the cusp of South and North Korea. “The traveling part is amazing,” Ripert tells T+L. “I go to places I would not have gone if I was on my own, and then I come back here and, with the cooking segments, inspire the viewer.”
The new season airs Saturday, Feb. 28, at 9:30 a.m. on the Cooking Channel, but first: here's a look at how the chef travels. Spoiler: he has pretty strong feelings about "guilty pleasure" snacks.
Window or aisle?: Aisle.
Air, land, or sea?: Air.
Carry on or check: Check.
Book or tablet: Book.
Five-hour or 30-minute layover: 30-minute.
The last movie you watched on a plane: Boyhood.
Guilty-pleasure travel snack: No snacks are guilty! ; )
Trip strategy—planning nothing or planning everything?: Planning everything.
Travel diary or Instagram: Instagram.
The one thing you can’t travel without (aside from your passport): A Buddha.
Best hotel in the world: Depends!
Your perfect vacation in one word: Relaxing.
Your nightmare vacation in one word: Cruise.
Your best room service meal (and which hotel was it): Breakfast at Chateau Marmont.
The spiciest dish you’ve ever had on your travels (and how'd you recover): Chicken at Mission Chinese in NYC.
The weirdest ingredient you’ve found on your travels: Roasted dog.
Your top travel souvenir of all time: Buddhas.
Your favorite travel companion: My wife and son.
The place on the very top of your travel bucket list: Myanmar.
Amy Schellenbaum is the Digital Editor of Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @acsbaum.