MUMBAI: Move over fusion and fad foods, good-old grandma’s recipes are making a comeback. And putting them back in focus is travel channel, Travelxp HD, with its new show Quest slated to air every Saturday at 8.30 pm, starting 1 February.
Much to the delight of foodies, this extravagant gastronomical journey will scoop out long forgotten recipes from across geographies like Banitza, the Bulgarian cheese turnover; Pampushki, the Russian/Ukranian stuffed potato dumplings; Mamaliga, Romanian stuffed polenta balls; Kajmak, Serbian cheese spread; Bialy Barszcz, Polish white Borscht; Bandwesh of Rewa, a type of Indian gosht; Sarma, Serbian stuffed cabbage; Dusene Zeli, Czech braised cabbage; and Lecso, Hungarian tomato pepper stew among others.
So why did a travel channel start a food show? Travelxp HD director Nisha Chothani replies: “When we were sitting on to decide our fresh line-up of programming, we realised that there are a lot of programs across the world and specially in India where people have been watching recipes which have been there since quite a few years but over time have either been adapted in a different format or got lost. So we thought of providing a platform for people who are used to observing the recipes with a different tadka.”
The channel’s research team realised that traditional food has taste and is the key to nutrition and health. After extensive research and discussions with food researchers and chefs, the channel came to the conclusion that demand for traditional food is now outgrowing demand for the latest recipes and audiences are now turning back to their roots.
Quest will be hosted by Alex, herself a food enthusiast who won the National Award for her cooking skills in a program called Herb Heroes judged by John Torode of MasterChef fame. She will not only dig for little known or remembered recipes from across the globe, she will also unravel the story behind each such dish and what makes it unique.
Speaking about her experience working with the show and the channel, she said: “Working on Quest was enjoyable but challenging. To be able to see so many great places and meet so many people - we did a lot of travelling by all means of transport. I tried so many foods that the general public doesn’t get to try like recipes from Maharajas, politicians, Princes and teachers plus many more.”
With so much competition from food-based programs across channels, how will this show stand out? “This is the show about recipes which are not actually covered. If you notice, today, all the food shows across channels, it is more about fusion and fast food. This is about making food which used to be made earlier. Through this show, we are kind of presenting it again to the viewers that have been lost over the years. When presented again, I am sure it is going to interest a lot of people,” says Chothani.
With 25+ women as target audience, the channel feels the Saturday primetime slot is the right choice, given that TV is decorated with reality shows in that time band. “There is a certain audience for reality and there is a certain audience for non-reality. Not everybody would want to sit down on a Saturday evening and watch a singing or dancing show. There is an audience for everything. We believe there will be audience for this, who will be interested in watching this,” says Chothani.
On the marketing side, the channel will promote the show across all its network channels and more so in print. At present, the channel’s official Facebook page boasts around more than 17 thousand likes and around 828 followers on Twitter (at the time of penning this article).
While media planners feel that, the show is not going to live up to the channel’s expectations. “Look at the amount of food shows in television today. On a weekend what grabs more eyeballs is content that is entertaining and stress buster for an individual after a stress full week. Who would want to sit infront of their TV sets and check out food recipes,” informs media planner.