Fast Foods Gone Global! Airs this Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

travel food nicaragua
Travel Channel Producer Patrick Weiland, restaurant owner Carlos Vega, and cameraman Mike Simon

There is an art and a skill to filming food. You have to keep it bright, shiny, and juicy and you have to surround it with people who are passionate about food. You can paint that hamburger with soy sauce to make it pop, but you also need people to eat it, praise it, savor it, and make it come to life. That’s one of the things I’ve learned anyway, working as a production fixer and location specialist on four food shows for the Travel Channel.

food_2-1.jpgLast spring, I assisted in the production of two new food shows for the Travel Channel. In the picture above, Carlos Vega, owner of Ceviche Express, a popular local chain of tiny snack booths in parking lots across Managua, walks us through the menu: octopus, conch, fish, shrimp, or “mixed.” That’s it, and that’s enough.

Ceviche Express is one Nicaraguan business featured in the premiere episode “Fast Foods Gone Global”, coming out this Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, in the United States at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 8 p.m. Central. I traveled with the film crew as a location specialist, or fixer.

I assisted with on-the-ground logistics (vehicles, lodging, security, translating, etc.) and also got a few seconds of screen time during the ceviche-eating scene in the Latin America episode (not to be confused with my 2009 appearance on the Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern,” where I eat raw bull testicle ceviche with the big man himself — hope I’m not getting typecast).

“Fast Foods Gone Global” will feature five one-hour episodes, highlighting local food chains, but also showing how Latin America, Asia, Europe, and Pacific Rim countries have adopted the West’s fast-food giants (McDonald’s, Subway and KFC) in different ways.We spent a week filming in Nicaragua, gathering footage for “Fast Foods,” and also for a Latin America episode of “Street Eats”, which features Nicaraguan chef Hazel Cuadra sampling some of Nicaragua’s yummiest dishes: quesillo, nacatamales, buñuelos, baho, vigorón. If you’ve ever traveled to Nicaragua, your mouth is already watering — if you haven’t  you better tune in soon. The “Street Eats” Nicaragua episode will air on January 23, 2012.

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