Carlton McCoy hosts CNN travel show Nomad, premiering May 1

This Sunday at 10 p.m., CNN will premiere the new travel documentary series Nomad with Carlton McCoy. Produced by Christopher Collins and Lydia Tenaglia, the team behind the much-loved network Anthony Bourdain: parts unknownthe new six-episode culinary travel show follows McCoy, president and CEO of Heitz Cellar and famous pioneer in the world of wine, through the suburbs from Paris, the South Korean countryside, Washington, DC, Ghana, Toronto and the Mississippi Delta on a journey of discovery connecting the dots between art, music, food and culture.

One of the youngest and only the second African-American to achieve Master Sommelier status in 2013 at age 28, McCoy, who is also a classically trained chef, is the first black CEO of a Napa winery. Valley.

fast company met McCoy recently in New York ahead of a fundraising charity auction for The Roots Fund, a nonprofit he co-founded that is dedicated to providing resources to “black and brown scholars interested in ‘wine industry’ through financial support and mentorship. We talked about traveling and filming during the pandemic, personal growth, and how McCoy finds the time to do it all.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What was it like filming a travel show during the pandemic?

I love to travel, and not being able to travel for more than two years was like working old muscles – it was familiar, but it was also a bit strange being in different places and around foreign languages. the [production] the team made it very easy, but with protocols changing daily, each country had their own thing so we were very careful. We were optimistic that once this thing actually aired, we would be in a much better place in the world.

Given the deep legacy of previous CNN travel shows as well as the incredible production team behind Nomadicwhile filming your first season, what were your own intentions and expectations?

An old man in Athens taught me early on that disappointment is directly related to expectations, so I always try to manage that part. I definitely walked in with intention, but very little expectation. I used to think that was a hard way to live, but in fact, you are delighted by a lot more things than you are disappointed.

I wanted to make sure that I was never scripted or trying to act – I wanted to be myself whether it sounded better or not. I would say that I am very optimistic. And we intentionally went to places where there was controversy and turmoil – and we were able to address those things without, I think, driving people apart. We were able to celebrate culture there while simultaneously discussing [history]. Sometimes under the veil there are still a lot of political issues, but does that mean you can’t celebrate the cultural outcome of a dark time?

I think the ability to interact in a civil way with people who have different opinions has been lost – and on the show we intentionally interact with people who politically probably don’t fit certain values. Hopefully we can be civil about these things and learn to interact, and also celebrate people who aren’t often celebrated.

Your first episode is shot in the suburbs from Paris.

I said to myself: Listen, I would like to go to Paris, but I don’t want to do business. So we dove deep, deeper than I ever did. We wanted to celebrate the real Paris of today versus the idea [of Paris] on a poster. The French lady hanging around, like, smoking cigarettes isn’t the only thing there. Places are defined by the people who occupy them.

Even our crew was incredibly diverse, that was important to us. Many of the directors and producers were people of color and women. It was all really intentional.

What were some of your greatest takeaways from the experience?

All of these places are amazing. The people are awesome and I needed a reminder to commit. [During the pandemic] I got caught up in this whole social media thing – and you forget we’re all human. Everyone is capable of taking the wrong path, of being convinced of something, of taking sides. [Media] is a business, they have to keep looking, I get it, that’s how the world is, people don’t want to watch the news if it only shows positives. But most people are pretty good and the world is rich and awesome.

Running Heitz Cellar and hosting a CNN travel show at the same time, can you tell us about your approach to time management?

I’ve been clinically diagnosed with ADHD, and it’s a real thing, but I think it’s actually, like, power. What it allows me to do is harness it and move from one thing to the next very simply – stop, let go and move on completely and with extreme intensity. It’s what helps me move from one meeting to the next and be very present and able to focus on the next call and then back out. It is really extremely useful.

I also think very quickly, although there’s a downside to that — my therapist says, “You interrupt people because you already know where they’re going. But out of respect, you should let them finish. I still do.

I think in this job, in what I’m doing now, that’s the first time I’ve been pushed to that level of intensity. I have worked hard all my life. I don’t waste time. I really believe in efficiency, but more than efficiency, I like to optimize my time.

James C. Tibbs