Kristen Kish and Her Perfect Hair Jet-Set Around the World in “36 Hours”

You may remember Kristen Kish from Season 10 of Top Chef, where she was eliminated in the Restaurant Wars challenge, then came back by dominating Last Chance Kitchen and ended up winning the whole damn thing! I remember. It was badass. Kish has been busy since then, recently leaving her position as chef de cuisine at Menton Boston to author a cookbook and travel the world as a guest chef. She currently lives in Boston with her partner and fellow foodie Jacque Westbrook.

Kristen Kish via the Travel Channel (Photo Credit: Mercure Photography)

Kristen Kish via the Travel Channel (Photo Credit: Mercure Photography)

Her newest project is co-hosting the original series 36 Hours, a Travel Channel show inspired by The New York Times column of the same name. Kish, her amazingly perfect alternative lifestyle haircut, and her co-host Kyle Martino will be dropped into a new city each week for six weeks, with a packed itinerary and just 36 hours to see it all. Kish and Martino will work against the clock to explore the local flavor, meeting fascinating insiders and change-makers along the way.

Kristen Kish exploring Berlin in 36 Hours

Kristen Kish exploring Berlin in 36 Hours

The first episode of 36 Hours debuted last night, Monday, August 17th, at 8:00 PM ET, in which Kish and Martino traveled to Berlin. The show is part travel guide, part history lesson, part food porn, and a peek into the most underground and unusual experiences in the city.

Kristen meets some bees at the hip urban farm, Princess Garden

Kristen meets some bees at the hip urban farm, Princess Garden

In 36 hours, the pair manage to take a bike tour with a famous cyclist, visit the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall, attend a spectacular Fritz Lang-inspired dance show, create graffiti art at a Berlin artist collective, heartily enjoy weissbier and weisswurst at a biergarten (the “best of the wurst” as Kristen called it), tour and taste an urban garden, play with toys at a self-described queer vegan feminist sex shop, peruse fresh food from around the world at a global indoor market, eat at one of the most exclusive restaurants in the city, belly up to a bar that serves bizarre and interesting science-themed concoctions, and end it all with an invitation to a private supper club (a single table in a young chef’s personal apartment). Phew! It sounds exhausting, but the pace of the show is inviting, not hurried. Over an hour, Kish and Martino meet interesting local guides, learn a lot of Berlin history, goof off a bit, and enjoy a lot of delicious food.

The historic Brandenburg Gate.

The historic Brandenburg Gate.

The best part of the show is watching Kristen gush over the food. Seriously, I will tune in just to hear her talk about food. She talks about food the way many people talk about art or music, with such genuine passion, whether it’s comfort cuisine or a small avant garde bite. I don’t typically feel like food travel shows are for me, but Kish and Martino make it fun and accessible. Kish is the chill and up-for-anything travel pal you can imagine eating your way through a vacation with. You can tell they’re having a great time.

Just some screengrabs of Kish talking about food in Berlin. It gets intense.

Just some screengrabs of Kish talking about food in Berlin. It gets intense.

Tune in Mondays at 8:00 PM ET on the Travel Channel and follow Kristen Kish on twitter!

KaeLyn is a 35-year-old (femme)nist activist, word nerd, and queer mama. You can typically find her binge-watching TV, over-caffeinating herself, standing somewhere with a mic or a sign in her hand, eating carbs, or just generally doing too many things at once. She lives in Rochester, NY with her spouse, a baby T. rex, a xenophobic cat, and a rascally rabbit. You can buy her debut book, Girls Resist! A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution if you want to, if you feel like it, if that's a thing that interests you or whatever.

KaeLyn has written 204 articles for us.

14 Comments

  1. I don’t watch cooking shows and I know nothing about her but I follow Kristen Kish on twitter entirely because she is a beautiful human with perfect hair and sometimes she posts photos of herself in the kitchen.

    Like, really. It’s almost painful to look at her.

    • She really is beautiful and a super smart dresser. I was in awe of her chill, but stylish travel chic outfits throughout the first episode. She lit up around the food. It was great! Maybe I’ve just never watched a queer Korean woman on a food travel show, because I was totally into watching her eat all the things and usually I’m kind of unimpressed by these types of shows (Bizarre Foods, Diners Drive-Ins & Dives, etc).

    • It was kind of super fun! I think the best part was Kish saying really intense and excited and nuanced things about the food. And then Martino would say something like, “This kind of tastes like licorice,” and Kish would look at him sweetly and be like, “Yes, that’s anise.” Like he was not worthy of this food. LOL. On the other hand, that’d be me if I was there, saying dumb shit about really amazing food, so I think it works overall. It felt simultaneously more refined and more accessible than some of their other food travel shows (bizarre foods, for example).

      Maybe I just like watching Korean queer gals do things more than white straight men. That could be it, too.

  2. Oh god and the first episode is in Berlin! I will report back on how good the gf and I think the choice of places was. Private supper club and Princess Garden (that place is so nice!) sound good, but Weißwurst isn’t a local specialty (it’s Currywurst in Berlin, guys! All the way.) so that’s a bit weird.

    • Yes! I want to know all about how “cool” these destinations and people really are from locals! To be fair, one of the locals ordered the Weißwurst, so maybe he didn’t know what he was doing. Ich weiß nicht!

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