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Hungry Nation Aims to Make Next New Audiences Salivate

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[show=hungrynation size=large]Next New Networks today launched Hungry Nation, a move that will see it take on another niche audience, albeit one slightly less niche than those of Indy Mogul or Fast Lane Daily. After all, everyone’s gotta eat. And the series comprising the new online channel — Working Class Foodies and recent acquisition Vendr TV, with Lush Life co-production 12 Second Cocktails to come in October — are out to provide a down-to-earth take on the culinary experience.

As repackaged for Hungry Nation, Vendr TV has gotten an upgrade in its overall production, but otherwise remains largely the same as its previous independent incarnation, a fun and educational look at the world of street eateries. One big difference, though, is that host Daniel Delaney has finally gotten closer to fulfilling his promise of world travel; the first few episodes are derived from his recent West Coast tour, featuring food vendors from Seattle to Los Angeles. And there are also some pretty exciting cameos from the web video world, including Veronica Belmont and Gary Vaynerchuk.

Working Class Foodies has a strong premise: A brother and sister team up to create cheap, delicious-tasting meals using local ingredients. Overall, the documentary-style cinematography is fantastic, and hosts Max and Rebecca manage to perfect the balance between casual and engaging — the looser and funnier they are with each other, the better. Most importantly, the food they prepare looks flat-out delicious and attainable by us mere mortals, fitting perfectly with Hungry Nation’s tagline of “real people, real food.”

But it’s not perfect. For one thing, since when are an NYU-educated screenwriter and her unemployed poet brother considered to be working class? There also ought to be a direct link between the pages of individual episodes and the official blog, where entries include recipes for the featured dishes.

And don’t look too carefully at the background of the scenes in which Max and Rebecca sit “outside” and chat about the food they made, because it’s pretty clear as they look like they were actually shot inside against a greenscreen (complete with a poorly inserted “picnic table” foreground), making for an unfortunate blend of inauthentic and poorly produced. Given the show’s otherwise verité nature, those segments are jarring and really need to go. Update: A NNN source says these segments are not shot on a greenscreen, but rather in an actual backyard. The cinematography is still distracting, however.

Screen shot 2009-09-24 at 10.57.21 AM

But aside from these issues, it’s a promising launch with some interesting new talent and some incredibly yummy-looking eats. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have GOT to go get some lunch.

9 Responses to “Hungry Nation Aims to Make Next New Audiences Salivate”

  1. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for your response and for appending the bit about the backyard. I want to apologize for the tone in mine. Reading back, I was ridiculously petty. Chalk it up to stress, sleep deprivation, and nerves. I really did enjoy your article and, by the way, where you said the food on our show looks delicious? That is seriously the best compliment I think I’ve ever received. Thank you!

    Anyway, you’re completely right, “working class” is a lot broader than economic status – and that’s exactly what we’re getting at.

    “Working Class Foodies” aims to prove that local and seasonal food isn’t just for the wealthy, the elite, and the snobs; we want to show everyone how accessible food can be, from finding a guy who makes the best pickles you’ve ever had in his basement, to the farmer 100 miles away who personally drives each of his pigs to the slaughterhouse and then down to your farmer’s market on Sunday morning. Most of all, we want to show people how AFFORDABLE good food – food that’s well-produced – can be.

    I’ll definitely take you up on the offer of a beer summit, but I get to buy the 2nd round. You can email me at foodieATworkingclassfoodiesDOTcom.


  2. Hi, Rebecca, thanks for your comment! In regards to your first point — that was my mistake, and we’ve updated the review accordingly (as you can see above).

    In regards to the second point — it’s not that I doubt your economic status at all (I very much understand how little writing pays the bills :-). I just think that using the moniker of “working class” has implications broader than one’s annual salary. However, I definitely did not mean to cause offense, and would hope to resolve the issue with an Obama-esque beer summit, should we both ever occupy the same geographic region in the near future. I’ll buy. :)


  3. Hi,

    My name is Rebecca and I am the writer/producer and co-host of WORKING CLASS FOODIES.

    First, thank you for your review of our show, we’re really psyched for it and glad you enjoyed it.

    But, I wanted to address a few mistakes in your post.

    First and foremost, WE ARE NOT GREENSCREENED IN THE BACKYARD. It was dusk and we were using a light. And the picnic table is very real. We shoot the show on a Canon 5DMkII, which has excellent depth of field, which is why we are so perfectly in focus but the table and background are soft.
    If you don’t believe me, I invite you to come to the location where we shot to see the table and backyard for yourself.

    Second, just because I went to NYU and just because my brother and I both majored in the arts doesn’t mean we’re not working class. He is unemployed (and I don’t see how being a poet has anything to do with that, he graduated college this May, it’s not like he sits around ruminating about flowers and trees and what his beard would look like if it were an inch longer). I make under $25k a year. I graduated in 2005 and still owe NYU over $100k in student loans. We both worked our way through college so we could afford to eat. Would you like to see my Sallie Mae statements? So I find it really insulting, and, frankly, silly, that you’d assume that just because we have college educations and arts degrees means that we’re somehow the bourgeoisie.

    Thank you for appending these corrections, as I’m sure you’ll do in a timely manner, and thank you again for reviewing our show. We’re really happy to have this show and we LOVED your review.

    -Rebecca Lando