Frankie Celenza explains why his Tastemade show is Worth The Hype, interview

Worth the Hype from Tastemade and Frankie Celenza, photo provided by Tastemade
Worth the Hype from Tastemade and Frankie Celenza, photo provided by Tastemade /

In the food and restaurant world, hype can bring people to the table, but the flavors need to deliver what is promised. On the new Tastemade show, Worth The Hype, Chef Frankie Celenza gives chefs, restaurants, and their guests a platform to showcase that those amazing bites are quite memorable.

Frankie Celenza has endeared himself to food television fans. Many people watch and rewatch Struggle Meals for those approachable methods to culinary success. From the person who learned to cook with him to others who found ways to stretch their food budget, each and every episode blended viewer engagement with expert tips.

In his new Tastemade streaming show, Worth The Hype, Celenza steps out of his kitchen and travels across the U.S. to highlight various restaurants, the people behind them, and their stories. Like other programs on the Tastemade streaming service, this new show invites a conversation about food by showcasing the connections that people share around the table.

Throughout the season, Celenza heads to popular food destinations like Los Angeles, New York City, and Austin. While the highlighted restaurants might have people booking a plane ticket, it is the story told beyond the table that engages the viewer.

During a recent conversation with Frankie Celenza, he shared what he hopes viewers will appreciate from Tastemade’s Worth The Hype and why this show might even encourage people to explore even more.

Worth the Hype from Tastemade and Frankie Celenza
Worth The Hype from Tastemade and Frankie Celenza, photo provided by Tastemade /

For Celenza, the show’s title is not just highlighting something that is “all the buzz on social media.” The places shown are established. While there is a line connecting them all, it is not just a fly by night locale. In some ways, several of these places are the heart of the community.

As Celenza mentioned, he was welcomed with open arms into these establishments. While each episode might have a how-to moment with a signature dish, it is the conversation between him and the other chefs that engages the audience. Those unique stories that feature the how, why, and glimpse behind the dish are what people want to know.

In an episode about pizza, Celenza explained how the concept of focusing on pizza cooking methods evolved into a bigger conversation about food’s broader connections. As he explained, “my idea was to hit all these different spots that use differ ways of cooking pizza, from electric to coal to wood ovens. At one of those spots, I met a husband and wife couple and we talked about the inspiration for their unique pizza flavors. The wife was a flight attendant, traveled the world, and would bring home spices. Her husband, who create a sneaker concierge service out of thin air, joined her to offer pizzas that no one else is serving. They serve salmon teriyaki and ox tail pizza, which is not common.”

“While I’m Italian American and grew up with cheese and sauce on a slice, this experience showed me that pizza does not have to be that limited idea only. At the end of the day, the flatbread is the vehicle for ingredients. I could taste their childhood and their travels on that slice. It had nothing to do with incredible technique or expensive oven. It was the passion that they put into bringing that food to life which made a lasting impression.”

That connection is apparent in each and every episode. Whether it is the debate over what should or should not be in a breakfast taco, the use of pancakes in a dessert, or one of the many other food items showcased on Worth The Hype, it comes down to the people making the food, the passion they put into every dish, and feeling of connection at the table. Worth The Hype might not have smell or taste vision, but it should compel viewers to get off the couch and explore the bounty of restaurants that are all around.

Even though each episode stands on its own, the reality is that Worth The Hype delivers on its promise. Each story explains through meaningful conversation that the pictures shared on social media or the written reviews have the actual basis to back up those superlatives which got people in the door. More importantly, it is the people behind the creations that have guests coming back time and again, always craving another memorable experience at the table.

While this chapter of Worth The Hype might have closed, Frankie Celenza continues to write his food story. From more episodes of Struggle Meals to hopefully more locales featured in Worth The Hype, the affable chef will have plenty more to share on Tastemade.

Worth The Hype airs Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. on Tastemade’s streaming channel. Emmy Award-winning Chef Frankie Celenza serves as host and gives the highlighted chefs, restaurants, and communities a platform to tell their stories and explain why their food is even more memorable than the built-up expectations predicted.

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