PBS Digital Studios Serves Up New Original Series, GOOD GUMBO, Showcasing the South’s Rich Food and Heritage
Web Series Premieres January 16, 2020, on PBS Digital Studios’ New YouTube Channel, “PBS ZEST,” Connecting Viewers Through Food and Culture
New Episodes of Fan-Favorite SERVING UP SCIENCE To Also Premiere on “PBS ZEST” in February
ARLINGTON, VA; Jan. 16, 2020 – 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 Phillip Lopez. The channel is also dishing out new episodes of web series SERVING UP SCIENCE, hosted by a 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 strengthen 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, January 16, 2020
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, January 23, 2020
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, January 30, 2020
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.”
About Phillip Lopez, Corporate Executive Chef and Host of GOOD GUMBO
A native of New Orleans, Chef Phillip Lopez was born into a military family, traveling the world in his youth. Spending time in Germany, France, Spain, Austria and parts of Asia, Phillip Lopez's international worldview influenced his palate as a chef. He returned to his New Orleans roots in 2004 and is currently the Corporate Executive Chef of Galatoire’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lopez has also been honored with numerous awards – the 2012 Eater Awards for New Orleans named Chef Phillip "Chef of the Year," StarChefs named him on of its "Rising Star Chefs" in 2012 and most recently OPA named Lopez’s Square Root one of the top 50 Best restaurants in the country in 2016.
About PBS Digital Studios
PBS Digital Studios produces original, digital programming for YouTube and Facebook Watch, designed to engage, enlighten and entertain online audiences. The PBS Digital Studios network has more than 20 million subscribers, generating an average of 50 million views a month and has acquired more than two billion views lifetime views. Currently, the Studio has 18 original series streaming online, including eight series from PBS member stations. Series include the Webby Award-winning It’s Okay to Be Smart, Physics Girl and Crash Course, as well as popular series such as Two Cents and PBS Space Time.
PBS, with more than 330 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and digital content. Each month, PBS reaches over 126 million people through television and 26 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. Decades of research confirms that PBS’ premier children’s media service, PBS KIDS, helps children build critical literacy, math and social-emotional skills, enabling them to find success in school and life. Delivered through member stations, PBS KIDS offers high-quality educational content on TV – including a 24/7 channel, online at pbskids.org, via an array of mobile apps and in communities across America. More information about PBS is available at www.pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile and connected devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.
Brandii M. Toby-Leon, Bullseye Communications
Lisa Dyer, Bullseye Communications
Stephanie Kennard, PBS