Yul Kwon is back on TV (and literally jumping out of planes) with a new PBS series that explores the elaborate systems that make America hum.
by Helin Jung
After having spent three decades nursing fears of heights, tight spaces and flying, Yul Kwon found himself in late 2010 walking onto a plane, watching with dread as it steadily rose thousands of miles over the corn fields of Kansas, and waiting for the moment when he would have to rock back and forth at the edge of the aircraft’s doorway in preparation for a jump that, for him, could only be described as terrifying.
The scream he let out during the forward throw, that moment when his body was thrust out of the plane and into the wind, was real. So were the subsequent hollers he let out on the way down, and you can hear them all in the upcoming four-part PBS series America Revealed, premiering in April.
Since winning Survivor: Cook Islands in 2006, the 37-year-old Kwon, who resides in Virginia with wife Sophie and year-and-a-half-old daughter Genevie, has reappeared on television only in spurts, instead focusing on other aspects of his varied career, which has spanned politics, law, business, media and technology. He will be making a big return to the small screen as host of America Revealed, which explores the elaborate networks and systems—agriculture, transportation, energy and manufacturing—that keep this country humming and asks: How does it all work? Modeled after the acclaimed BBC series Britain From Above, America Revealed is the nation taken in by forest, with frequent swoops down to the trees. Continue Reading »
Adoptee Marja Vongerichten, wife of famed chef Jean-Georges, explores the national dish of Korea in a new PBS series that merges culinary adventures with a personal tale.
by David Yi
Photos courtesy of Frappé Inc.
Though she left South Korea at age of 4 with her newly adoptive parents, Marja Vongerichten was no stranger to kimchi. The memories of that cool crunch, the tanginess, that spicy satisfaction bundled up into a single bite made for warm yet fragile memories of the country she left behind.
Yet as a new American, she grew up eating Western food and forgot about the flavors of her birth country. That is, until she was 12, when her parents took her to a Korean restaurant in their neighborhood of McLean, Va. Suddenly, visceral memories of Korean fare were ignited, allowing her to reunite with her past—well, at least the taste of it.
“There were these noodles with black bean sauce , jajangmyeon, and kimchi,” recalls the New Yorker.“And it was amazing because I was like, ‘Mom, I had this before.’ Like, my taste buds had memory.”
So continued her love affair with the pickled dish, which has since been documented in a 13-part PBS-produced series, The Kimchi Chronicles, which debuts this summer. The show came into fruition after Eric Rhee of Frappé Inc., an independent production company that produces programming for PBS, heard of Vongerichten. Having been a longtime friend of Vongerichten’s husband, the head chef of his eponymous 3-Michelin-starred French restaurant, Jean-Georges, Rhee was intrigued and delightfully surprised when he discovered the 34-year-old adoptee’s story. He immediately signed her up as the show’s host.
Part documentary, part culinary adventure, this multi-episode journey takes viewers on a toothsome tour of South Korea—from Seoul to Busan to Jeju Island—with Vongerichten exploring the cuisine of the peninsula known for its spicy kick. Think Anthony Bourdain meets the Travel Channel, but with a curvier guide hosting.