Marcus Samuelsson showcases kitchens of America's immigrants in "No Passport Required"

Last Updated Jul 6, 2018 4:21 PM EDT

Award-winning chef Marcus Samuelsson says he's living the American dream. He immigrated to the United States from Sweden and opened Red Rooster, a successful restaurant in Harlem, New York. He now hosts a new show on PBS called "No Passport Required," in partnership with Eater, which showcases the kitchens of America's immigrants.

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Marcus Samuelsson  

CBS News

"Being an immigrant, I felt like, first of all, there's a big false narrative out there right now that immigrants are not contributing to this country. Nothing could be further from the truth," Samuelsson said Friday on "CBS This Morning." "This show is really focusing on real America, what it looks like in cities like Detroit where the Arab-American community, such a vital part to businesses, but also being neighbors. This is a way to show a human side about this heated conversation we're having now. This is not about numbers. It's about real people, our neighbors, our fellow Americans." 

The Ethiopian-born chef said food has always brought people together and has opened his world. Now he wants to move the conversation forward.

"If you're going to say to someone, 'I want you to change your religion' or 'my vote is more important than yours,' you're not going to get anywhere. But if you say, 'Hey, come over and have dinner, let me talk about how we eat as Mexican Americans in Chicago or as Vietnamese Americans in New Orleans,' through 'No Passport Required,' we give people the opportunity to humanize this conversation," Samuelsson said.

The chef pointed to the show's focus on diversity.

"We show ourselves why people love America is because of its diversity, is because of how we tackle very challenging situations. We've done it with civil rights, we're done it with gay rights, we've done with women's movement, we've been able to tackle it. Not perfect. But we've also been able to evolve. And this is an opportunity to do that," Samuelsson said.

His first episode focuses on Arab immigrants in Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit. "No Passport Required" premieres Tuesday, July 10, 2018 on PBS.