Wednesday, February 1, 2012

ChatChow TV... Behind the Scenes

Giovanny & Lauren

If you are a die hard food lover, are in the industry or just a roaming tech-ie, you have probably heard of or seen ChatChow TV; the online TV series dedicated to show the food world from the Back Of House view. Debuted less than a year ago, Chat Chow has already had some big name South Florida industry folk including Michael Schwartz, Jonathan Lazar and Jeff McInnis, not to mention a nationally recognized Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian on their 6-8 minute clips. The power team behind this rapidly growing series is none other than Lauren Bernat & Giovanny Gutierrez. While she gets in front of the camera he watches behind it producing this great little snippet into South Florida's blossoming culinary industry. After meeting Gio and Lauren (who are both great BTW) I wanted to really get to know them and I’m sure you would like to get to know them too, so here's the deal. I gave them the same questions, told them to sit as far apart from each other as possible and answer away and then we would compare/contrast. This is what I got...

1. Favorite Genre of Food (Mexican, Italian, etc…):
LB: Italian
GG: I know this is a lame answer but I don't really prefer one over another. Although I will tell you that I always stop at La Carreta on my way home after flying from wherever for some rice and beans. I always crave that the minute I land in Miami.

2. Favorite Protein to Eat:
LB: Fish
GG: Definitely seafood. Love a fresh caught, well seasoned filet of mahi, grouper or black cod.

3. Most loathed ingredient (ingredient you can’t stand):
LB: Anise
GG: Nothing's worse than something fried in dirty, old oil. 

4. Favorite Restaurants (Miami and World)
LB: Tudor House / Yardbird / Pubbelly and French Laundry (just for the orchestrated experience)
GG: So hard to pick a favorite but I still reminisce on our French Laundry dinner ever so often. Just a truly unique experience.

5. Favorite Interview (of Chat Chow and why)
LB: Geoffrey Zakarian (we brought him lotions from Sephora per an inside tip)
GG: That's a tough one... Jouvens Jean had amazing chemistry with Lauren, the flirting was quite funny, very sharp and quite charming. Albert Cabrera of The Local was great off camera because he was so nervous, it was so early in the day and we just kept drinking beer after beer – a lot of silly laughing indeed.  And of course, surprising Geoffrey Zakarian with a lotion kit was a highlight. 

6. Gio: Which interview made you flat out just shake your head…
Lauren was interviewing Bond (with the 10 inch hairdo) of 2B Asian Bistro and she's just trashed from taking Sake Bombs. So Lauren is outside doing the intro for the episode and all these tourists in Little Havana think she's famous and she's so tipsy she rolls with it and ends up on a Double Decker Bus. Ha!

7. Foodie activity you want to get into (cooking classes, secret society dinners etc…)
LB: Secret Society Dinners
GG: We did social dinners and we've done cooking classes in the past but my personal favorite is hosting live foodie events which we've been doing. Just hanging out with people that enjoy food, glossy eyes smiling back at ya, interacting with chefs and doing live Chat Chow with people asking questionnaires is a great way to bringing our show to a live audience. 

8. How did you come to ChatChow TV?
LB: All started with a love of food and an initial idea Gio had. The team just fit perfectly.
GG: I attended a Michael Schwartz Q&A at Books and Books and the room was packed with people listening to what he had to say. From recipe techniques to where to get some local produce and I'm sitting there the whole time thinking "Why can't this be online.... with different personalities... like a series". And just like that, Chat Chow TV was born.

9. Something mainstream people don’t know about you:
LB: I get really silly sometimes. Really, really silly. I'll sing a response to a question, speak with accents...Oh, and I just had LASIK, but I guess that's now been written as my Facebook status and doesn't count. LOL. Maybe the biggest secret of all was that up until not too long ago I didn't eat meat ;) ChatChow clearly changed that.
GG: I've been a vegetarian since 1995 and now I pretty much eat everything and anything.  
10. Single/Taken/Married:
LB: Engaged
GG: Lauren and I are actually engaged :P

11. If you could travel anywhere where would it be and what would you do?
LB: Right now, I'd love to take a month or two to travel Asia. Hong Kong, Japan, China, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam)…I could go on and on. Of course this is just a dream. A girl has to make a living.
GG: I would go back in time and visit El Bulli. I feel like I missed out on a lifetime experience. 

12. What are you looking forward to right now?
LB: Making ChatChow bigger and better.
GG: I can't disclose that yet but we are doing something new and interesting this year for Chat Chow TV which I'm sure fans are going to love. And it doesn't involve a camera... hint hint. 

13. What is one thing you want people to know about ChatChow TV?
LB: That it's made with love and focuses on the perspective of the industry people; a side most people don't get to hear. In this day and age (with the YELP's and Urbanspoon's) most of the information we receive is from the perspective of the consumer. It's refreshing to hear the industry's take on things.
GG: We really appreciate all the feedback we're getting from both foodies and industry people. Means a lot to us and validates what we do so keep spreading the love!

14. Where will you be in 5 years?
LB: Hopefully just enjoying life ;)
GG: Would love to see Chat Chow TV go national! We launched a few months ago with a great team in the West Coast so we'll see

15. Who would you love to interview? 
LB: The only local person we've been trying to get since day one has been Michelle Bernstein. We haven't been able to coordinate an episode because she's such a busy bee.
GG: I would love to have a couple of cocktails and talk shit with Anthony Bourdain. Just love his raw attitude.