FoodFood serves two new shows to tingle your taste buds

MUMBAI: There is good news for foodies; FoodFood is all set to bring exquisite cuisines to your platter. The lifestyle channel is all set to add new flavours with two new specialties.

Get ready to see Chef Sanjeev Kapoor travel around the globe exploring different cuisines and eating habits of the locals. The Out of the World Series…Africa, which will shoot across 105 countries, starts its journey from East Africa. In the first season, which begins from today, the chef along with his six member crew travels to Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. "The show is a marriage of food and travel," says producer Runjiv Kapur.

In the show Sanjeev will recount his tale of scary encounters, unusual spices and rendezvous with tribal chieftain and much more! "When we started shooting for the show, nothing was planned. We shot for 15 days for 12-13 hours a day. And shooting at every stop," he adds.

So why start with East Africa? Answers Sanjeev, "Two reasons: One, because it is a creator of mankind and two because the producer is based in Tanzania." The host of the series also believes that it is a concept which is different and would be a trend setter for channels.

Talking about how the concept came about, producer Kapur who is writing a series of books onGreat Bazaars of the World says, "When I met Sanjeev a few years back I pitched the idea of going to the bazaars of the world and shooting not in the kitchen but on location. We did shoot a pilot for the same then but could not take it ahead because Sanjeev had to devote 15 days for the shoot, which did not work out." It was last year that the duo got together again and took it forward by starting the shoot in East Africa.

The unique thing about the programme is that it has been shot in natural habitats which will see even animals roaming around freely. "We are cooking the local cuisines with local chefs. So Sanjeev is watching the chef create the dish and he then explains it to the audience," informs Kapur.

According to the two, the show is not scripted. "Because it is not scripted, we shot hours of footage for a 22 minute episode. We were literally shooting on the fly. And when you do that, the show takes shape on the editing table. Though there was a structure initially, it later became more spontaneous," adds Kapur.

Not confirming the next destination, Kapur says that they are looking at places which are unexplored. "It is no mall shopping show. We are looking at places with rich culture, history and not much explored. We are here on a discovery." The duo has already started working on the next season and believes that the feedback they get from the first season will add value to the next.

So, does shooting a show of this magnitude require big budget? "For channel like us, we learn to do things in an efficient way. Even for world class quality you may not need to spend too much, yes you have to put more efforts, like we shot gorilla style, but at the end we have come out with a great product," informs Sanjeev.

Another show which went on air on 13 August hopes to connect with the audience by bringing out the essence of tea time. The focus of the show Hi Tea, hosted by Chef Ajay Chopra, is on the Indian family for whom tea time gives another reason to get together. "The idea is to promote the concept of Chal Chai Peete Hai," says Chopra who was earlier seen in the first season of MasterChef India on Star Plus.

The show will concentrate on the tea drinking habits of people around the globe. "Tea has become a reason for people to meet. Also what makes it special is the snacks along with the Tea. And through this show, I am telling people not only of different ways of drinking tea, but the add on snacks along with their special tea," adds Chopra.So how did it all start? Chopra (smiles) and says, "I met Sanjeev Kapoor during MasterChef. It was then that we started thinking of doing something in FoodFood. Though nothing materialised then, it was four months back that we again started talking about the show." Ask how it is different from the rest of the shows, he informs, "See there are two ways to connect to people: Either reach out to them through their favourite cuisine or through presenting new cuisines. In this show we are reaching their heart with new cuisines. Through this show, we want to make teatime, the best experience of the day."

While Hi Tea occupies the 4 pm slot, Out of the World Series…Africa will be on at 9 pm. Explaining the time slot, Sanjeev says, "Well, the show in the 4 pm slot is for pure learning. In this slot we are targeting people who want to learn and replicate the dish. So the core audience for Hi Tea is someone who wants to learn to cook while the secondary audience is the family. For, Out of the World Series…Africa, our core TG is the family which comes together to watch a series like this."

Both the shows have completed the shoot for the first season. The first season of Hi Tea will have 26 episodes and is looking at a larger chunk of 100 episodes. While Out of the World Series…Africa has shot 15 episodes for its first season. Chopra for the first season has set up his kitchen in Filmistan located in Goregaon in Mumbai. "Well, we have started with shooting in my kitchen, which has been especially created for this show, but I am also looking at shooting in hotels first in India and then abroad," informs Chopra.

The channel is using all mediums: television, print, outdoor to market the two shows. "We do spend on marketing, but we do smart spending," comments Sanjeev. The channel is only buying the hoardings in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and couple of sites in Pune for promotions. They have also shot around 10 promos for Out of the World Series…Africa for television promotions and a one-minute long promo for Hi Tea, which will now be broken to various versions.

Ask the planners and they say that though this is not a unique concept as in the past various other chefs have tried their hands on travel and food genre. "What we have to see is how well it is accepted by the Indian pallet," says a Delhi based media planner.

Is the channel trying an Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Chinn twist with the addition of these two shows? It is up to the food and travel lovers to give their verdict, which we will surely keep a track of once the television ratings are declared!

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