The purpose of Fame Day is to, as the page states, “to give credit [and praise] where it is due.” While Gordon has used it to draw attention to significant contributors to our present day world a few times, I have in turn pointed readers towards YouTube to check out a series I deem to be of high quality. This is another of those times.
I was directed towards a show hosted on the YouTube channel of Vice magazine, and was captured instantly. As an avid lover of food shows [which you’d know if you’ve been keeping up with E>], Munchies was exactly the sort of show I didn’t know I was looking for, a window into the lives of chefs that didn’t include their motives for supporting various charities [I’m looking at you, Top Chef Masters].
The following is the first episode I saw, featuring Filipino-American chef David Talde:
It sums up what I love about the show.
- It features young, upcoming chefs who haven’t necessarily been through years of culinary school.
- It follows them as they enjoy good food and a fair amount of alcohol.
- It has them return to their own restaurant so that they can cook, typically while drunk.
Now not every episode revolves around a young chef [heck, one is all about Anthony Bourdain], but the many that do are exploring this idea that the world of restaurants and restauranteurs is changing. Boundaries are being broken in terms of where the best high-class restaurants can be found, and how long the chefs have trained at what schools. On top of that there’s the added bonus of humility.
These chefs know where they came from, just as Dale Talde admits that he started out at Outback Steakhouse and did a terrible job. On top of that we have the chef and owner of Momofuku Milk Bar, Christina Tosi, who joins her friends to hit up a Dairy Queen in her episode. Dairy Queen. Not exactly high-class dining. What’s most important, though, is that in spite of their eating low quality stuff and getting smashed while operating a wok, they love food. They are passionate about cooking and you can tell how important it is to them.
Most programs that you find on Food Network nowadays let you see into the lives of chefs, but this is normally via competition shows so we know who to root for. Munchies shows you people when they are at their most vulnerable and sincere: when they’re drunk. I’m not advocating that alcohol is what we need to get to know people better, but it provides a very honest picture of these men and women who are enthusiastic about food, who are more than Michelin stars and TV show contracts.
Munchies is a fantastic show, and while I do not deny that the Mario Batalis of this world are just as human as the rest of us, it adds a layer of warmth and transparency that all the soundtracks and top-down shots couldn’t. Vice cites it as their “wide-eyed answer to the glut of sleepy TV food shows,” and that’s about as an accurate a description as they could give.
I end with another of my favourite episodes, featuring the owner/chef of Rye, Cal Elliott: