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Is "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" fake?

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You never see the chef who "picked" the dish actually at the restaurant and rarely with the actual dish.  My suspicious side thinks this is all booked by restaurant publicists and the tele-chefs are just reading a script that was handed to them. 

 

Anybody know?

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I don't know, but I suspect we are watching a half hour commercial.  

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If it is a “local” (NYC area) restaurant, the chef is shown eating there. Usually the NYC locations, have seen Phila...otherwise a disconcerting close up of someone taking a bite.

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This seems like a newish twist on the offers I used to receive (back in my corporate days) for our company to "sponsor" a video production based on our company. They would write the script, interview a few people, and handle the editing. They would also promise that the video would appear on TV (though they were coy about when and on which channel). All we had to do was cough up a few bucks. In the early 90s, the fee was about $10k; by the early 00s, it was up to about $40K, and the promise to get it on air had disappeared. (In the early days, cable channels were starved for content; fast forward a decade, and someone had invented ad-revenue sharing, flooding broadcast schedules with all kinds of already-produced material with at-least marginally profitable results and practically no risk.)

 

Back then, I assumed that the production company pored over a business directory to find leads worth developing, based on the industry and company size/history/perceived budget. The twist here, I suspect, is that:

  1. Leads are developed after a chef mentions a restaurant on a show (one of the episodes I saw showed Alton Brown waxing rhapsodic over the fried chicken at some hole-in-the-wall place in maybe Alabama or Arkansas that probably got a previous highlight in his show Feasting on Asphalt) and a Cooking Channel producer follows up;
  2. In addition to some sort of remuneration for reading a script, chefs are paid a finder's fee if they provide a successful lead to the Cooking Channel;
  3. Cold-calling has been enriched with a "pick your chef-representative" option, and maybe a choice of upgrades, including an in-restaurant appearance. This would explain why most, but not all, of the on-site material comes from NYC restaurants -- it's cheaper to get Alex Guarnaschelli across town for an afternoon than to send Ted Allen on a two-day trip to San Francisco.
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Interesting. Thank you for the historical perspective. I don't watch shows like that but many do. The back story is always interesting to flesh out the presented picture.

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Thanks, Heidi. I'm just guessing about how it's put together, mind you.

 

The show is what it is, and I don't really care that its genesis might be less than forthright. I learned a couple of things (but then I usually learn a couple of things from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, if it happens to be on when I'm in the room). I don't feel like the time I spent watching the show was wasted, though it's not a show I would normally choose. 

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Ha I have  dear friend who adored DD & D.  She is a local independent business owner proponent so it inspired her to seek out such places, You never know what inspires. An example: Dales when we go to one of most significant swap meets in the US.  https://www.longbeachantiquemarket.com/   http://dalesdiner.com/


Edited by heidih (log)

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