Food is King

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Food is an ever-growing source of content on television and streamers.  Between Gordon Ramsay, Pasquale Sciarappa, Guy Fieri, the late-Anthony Bourdain, Emeril Lagasse, Martha Stewart, Rachael Ray, Padma Lakshmi, and Giada De Laurentiis, there is an increasing number of cooking talent.  The creative mind of cooking it seems is a natural for the silver and streaming screen. 

Food essentially has three plot forms: teach, taste and travel, and competition.  Over the past decade and half to two, the eating and cooking travel shows like Bourdain’s became very popular for as much of the food as the sites and views.  Even car shows like Top Gear (BBC) and The Grand Tour (Amazon Prime) showcased food, sites, and of course high performance vehicles.  However, over the past decade competition cooking shows have really taken a step forward as nearly every major network and streamer has one or two stars and food shows. 

The funny thing about breaking bread is that it like entertainment and sports has a true unifying factor.  It can bring people and cultures together over excitement, conversation, and competition.  If one is adventurous, food has no bounds or limitations and it never ceases to amaze.  Food is also where Hollywood can continue to satisfy the consumers hunger and thirst for content

As diverse as an individual’s palate, so are the types of ingredients, preparations, locations, cultures, and chef talent that can fulfill the role on screen.  The market is also overflowing with streaming platforms and opportunities to develop, produce, and distribute content.  Furthermore, where restaurants were some of the hardest hit businesses during 2020-2021, specifically of the “mom and pop” variety, there is now an opportunity to bring in chefs of all types to the screen to showcase their talent, food, community, and brand for monetization opportunities.    

It is also true that during 2020-2021 restaurants and the food industry in general grew significantly in delivery and exploration opportunities.  People get bored and tired of eating and cooking so delivery of food from restaurants that could shift the business model from in-person to delivery and takeout survived and possibly thrived.  It is also likely that people began to explore different foods as opposed to eating or preparing the same thing. 

Where does the proverbial food market go from here?  Food and culture are so intertwined that it is the experience that becomes just as important as the taste and texture.  Food is life because it sustains us, yet we spend so little time investing time into learning what we place in our bodies, how we prepare food, and where food comes from before we eat.  There is a terrific opportunity in Hollywood to expand its food content to reach more consumers, gain subscribers, and of course teach people about food, travel, competition, and culture. 

Fieri’s 75 million viewers on the Food Network is proof of food and personality popularity.  Bourdain’s No Reservations, The Layover, and Parts Unknown are all must-watch television despite the last episode airing in 2018.  For good measure, Bourdain also made a guest appearance in the feature film The Big Short starring Brad Pitt, Steve Carell, Christian Bale, and Ryan Gosling.  Whether Hollywood studios and networks take the proverbial food content bait is another story.        

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