Published Feb 25th, 2013

You Gotta Eat Here! Looks to Avenue

You Gotta Eat Here! host John Catucci, right, helps make skewers at Louisiana Purchase.
You Gotta Eat Here! host John Catucci, right, helps make skewers at Louisiana Purchase.

Four more Edmonton restaurants will be featured in the new season of the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here!

Host John Catucci and the camera crew recently visited the kitchens at the Highlevel Diner, Louisiana Purchase, Sofra and The Dish Bistro. The second season of the show, which celebrates Canada’s best spots for comfort food, begins this Friday.

But, if you associate the show — or the very idea of comfort food — with burgers, grilled-cheese sandwiches and chili, you’ll no doubt be wondering how a place like Sofra, which offers Middle Eastern cuisine, fits in.

“Canada is such a multicultural place, so ‘comfort food’ doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone,” says Rachel Horvath, the show’s producer. “If you are a Turkish-Canadian or a Jewish-Canadian then the term ‘comfort food’ will mean different things to you.”

The show’s executives are based in Toronto. And it’s impossible for them to try every restaurant in Canada. So, when they get out of the 416/905 area codes, how do they identify what are the places that have the best dishes?

Research. When Horvath and her crew needed to pick their Edmonton restaurants, they went to the experts — Edmontonians themselves.

“We certainly use a lot of viewer feedback, through comments on our Facebook page to our gmail form. But we also have a research team here that goes through the food blogs, other sources, magazines, reviews.”

And Horvath says Avenue’s annual 25 Best Things to Eat feature helped them hone in on three of the restaurants featured in season two.

The process of filming the show takes Catucci and the crew from Newfoundland to British Columbia, trying plate after plate of food — often fried, often laden with cheese and/or carbs. When the show isn’t being filmed, the crew tries its best to work off the calories. The people who work on the show understand they may have the most fattening jobs in Canada.

Says Horvath: “The crew does try to keep up with gym regimes when they are on the road filming, and they try to order salad as much as possible when they aren’t filming!”





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