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You Gotta Eat Here! Looks So Good!

Food, we’re obsessed with it; how it tastes, how it’s made, even how it looks. The number of popular television programs about food is overwhelmingly diverse. Chopped, The Rachel Ray Show, Bar Rescue, Unique Eats; there’s something to appeal to literally every appetite. With so many offerings in this genre, finding an appealing and unique voice sets a production apart. Steve Lindsay served as DP for Food Network Canada’s You Gotta Eat Here! during four seasons as the show visited unique and extraordinary restaurants across Canada, the United States, and Europe. In addition to the show’s notoriety for exploration of great eateries, it received the Canadian Screen Award for Best Lifestyle or Talk Program or Series, Best Direction, and Best Lifestyle Program or Series. As the show travelled about exploring food, people, and locations, Lindsay gained acclaim for his ability to inject the personality of each into the episodes. With four seasons that covered an estimated ninety restaurants per season, the work pace was frantic but the cinematographer confirms that it was the most enjoyable whirlwind he’s been a part of.

You Gotta Eat Here! is a reality style food show where the host travels far and wide on a journey to find something we’re all fans of, comfort food. The show featured host and comedian John Catucci on a mission to discover great restaurants across the world. These range from roadside greasy spoons to legendary locations. Catucci also explored the kitchens to reveal their signature recipes. Although the food’s unique greatness is the initial focus, it’s the characters behind them that often prove just as intriguing. With such a disparity of tastes and people, it was Steven’s task as DP to create a cohesive quality and visual style for the show that would bind it all together. Photographing food under the best of conditions can be difficult but add to that doing so in multiple locations per episode and while touring internationally; it was a challenge for any accomplished DP. Lindsay notes, “The food shots were certainly the most demanding. I didn’t have the benefit of a studio or a food stylist. I would set up a space in the restaurant dining room. The food we would shoot for the show was real food made by the chef. Each segment required nine different dishes to have beauty shots. Over the four seasons on YGEH! I shot close to 3000 food beauties. Without boasting I’ll say, I got to be pretty darn good at it.” Some quick math; You Gotta Eat Here! Averaged twenty-six episodes per season with each episode featuring three restaurants, each of which required two days to shoot. That’s one hundred fifty-six days of production with thirty-four travel days. For many years all Steve saw was food.

Amazingly, the show did not appear to be shot by someone overwhelmed by food but rather someone in love with it. The Shine Cafe in Victoria BC is warm and inviting like the family who owns and operates it, serving all day gourmet versions of breakfast classics. All’Antico Vinaio’s sandwiches from Florence, Italy are served by his heir Tommaso Mazzanti. The Favolosa with fennel-spiked Sbriciolona salami and spicy eggplant piled high on schiacciata bread fresh and hot from the oven is proof of the mastery of something as seemingly mundane as a sandwich. There are countless examples of this emotional attachment to food, their presentation on the screen mirrors the pride the proprietors have for these creations. You Gotta Eat Here! Director Jim Morrison praises the DP stating, “I have worked with Steve Lindsay more than any other cinematographer in my twenty years in the business. We worked together on more than one hundred episodes of the hit television series You Gotta Eat Here! His vision and excellence in his craft cemented not only the visual style of the show, but also the tone and organization of our shoot days. The show airs in more than thirty countries, which proves that Steve is able to capture imagery in storytelling that communicates regardless of location or culture. He is exceptionally gifted.”

Written by Kelly King
You Gotta Eat Here! Looks So Good! Reviewed by JaamZIN on 9:32:00 AM Rating: 5
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