NEW ORLEANS/ARLINGTON, Va (press release) – PBS Digital Studios is launching a new food-focused YouTube channel, PBS Zest, with GOOD GUMBO, an original series on the cultural roots of the most popular dishes in Louisiana and the Deep South. Both PBS Zest and Good Gumbo launch Thursday, January 16, 2020, and will highlight America’s most vibrant cultures, communities and history by way of mouth-watering food. GOOD GUMBO is produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting and stars acclaimed Louisiana chef Philip Lopez. The channel is also dishing out new episodes of web seriesSERVING UP SCIENCE, hosted by history buff, science writer and foodie Sheril Kirshenbaum, offering science-backed tips to make your favorite foods even better. PBS Zest and GOOD GUMBO” will reside at youtube.com/pbszest.
The new seven-part web series GOOD GUMBO reveals how the international cultures that inspired well-known southern dishes influenced much more than just regional cuisine, bringing their music, language, traditions and even architecture to the south’s melting pot of influences. Louisiana, the Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf South are a fertile place for such an examination given this region’s rich food heritage, especially with its diverse cultural gumbo of immigrant populations. Inspired by the PBS series NO PASSPORT REQUIRED and featuring interviews with major figures in the world of Southern food culture, the series explores how history, tradition and downhome ingenuity shape what we eat.
“Food universally connects people from all walks of life and we’re excited to present stories on PBS Digital Studios that strength en those connections,” said Brandon Arolfo, Head of PBS Digital Studios. “By delivering a slate of food-related content that is educational, entertaining and informative, PBS Zest will satisfy viewers’ hunger for cultural experiences with its unique look at food, history, travel and tradition.
PBS Zest is part of PBS Digital Studios’ new themed channel strategy, bringing together curated content from member stations across the country to fulfill viewers’ curious minds. Each program included in PBS Zest will use a documentary-style approach to explore the country’s culture and identity through the lens of food. The January launch of the digital channel will also complement PBS’ on-air first quarter Food & Culture themed programming initiative.
An overview of GOOD GUMBO’s first three episodes is as follows. Each episode runs between 8-12 minutes.
Episode 1: Bánh mì: New Orleans’ “Other” Po Boy
Series Premiere: Thursday, Jan. 16
Description: In New Orleans, the Po-Boy is a world-famous sandwich, but other diverse cultural traditions transplanted in this city have their own version of this favorite food. For the Vietnamese community, it’s the “Bánh mì,” dahlin’! Join Chef Phillip Lopez and Chef Cynthia VuTran as they explore what goes into making the city’s best bánh mì.
Episode 2: Gumbo: The Story Behind New Orleans’ Iconic Dish
Premiere: Thursday, Jan. 23
Description: Find out why gumbo, arguably New Orleans’ most famous dish, is one of the best examples of the city’s melting pot of food traditions, blending French, German and African influences into a meal packed with soul and history.
Episode 3: The Surprising History Behind Bananas Foster
Premiere: Thursday, Jan. 30
Description: New Orleans is home to the largest Honduran community in America. Explore the cuisine and the cultural links between America’s favorite fruit, the term “Banana Republic,” and the world-famous New Orleans dessert, “Bananas Foster.”