I'd tracked down Fornal a few months earlier, determined to find out more about the creator of my favorite food program. What interested me the most wasn't his showbiz antics, in fact, but his sincere curiosity about food—he manages to weave an education into the drama, using maps and cheesy video graphics to trace the provenance of, say, a Garifuna root tonic back to Nigeria. I also admired his love for the Bronx, a largely working-class enclave where one in three residents is foreign-born. Fornal, I realized, is not so much a self-promoter as he is a civic booster, perhaps the most spectacular ambassador the borough has ever had, aside from the Yankees. He wants you to know that the Guyanese, Dominican, Albanian, Haitian, and other kinds of restaurants on his show are the city's purest expressions of immigrant cuisine. "These restaurants have to be the genuine article," Fornal told me when I met him, "because these are not people saying, 'Let's do Thai tonight.' "