John Curtas is …

Nina, Pablo and John Show How its Done at Channel 3

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We were recently asked by a local p.r. person about our weekly food/restaurant segment on Wake Up With the Wagners on KSNV TV (NBC) Channel 3 with this inquiry: “What exactly is the context of your segment?”

Leaving aside for a minute that any public relations person worth their salt (especially one who reps restaurants)  should know what we do on local television (after all, we’ve been a regular on local TV now – first on Channel 8, now on Channel 3, for five years), we thought, as a public service, we should show and describe what is entailed when restaurants and chefs come to the studio.

As some of you early birds know, the segment usually airs between 6:15-6:20 am on Friday mornings.

We always have a theme (this morning’s was “Downtown Dining Es Caliente!” last Friday’s was “A Plethora of Small Plates”), and we feature one restaurant’s food along with listing others we recommend in the same genre. The station wants a list of other places in order to give its viewers more of a selection and so the entire 3 minutes don’t sound so much like a commercial for one joint. In this respect, we respect the station’s decision, and are happy to spread the love around.

We usually decide on our week’s theme on Monday or Tuesday, and contact the featured restaurant then. What we ask is that they bring 4-5 of their best and most photogenic dishes along with any props they think will enhance the visuals. Nina Manchev at Forte (above) brought a bottle of Bulgarian vodka named after her great grandmother; La Comida brought in mucho bottles of top shelf tequila this morning.

The chefs usually arrive at the station around 5:30 am — ugh, we know, but hey, it’s a free commercial that tens of thousands of people will watch! — and start plating the food to be shown on set. (Nina, above is actually in the studio, only feet from where Kim and Dana Wagner are broadcasting, but there’s also a staff lunch kitchen down the hall that can be used.)

If you’ve been living in a cave (and I’m talking to you, restaurant p.r. persons) the segments look like this, with Kim introducing the theme and me excitedly saying nothing but good things about how I love the food of our highlighted place. (Again, this is a feature, not a critique, and I only bring in places I highly recommend….so don’t hold your breath, Firefly…or Oscar Goodman).

For those who missed this morning’s segment, here it is:

…and here is Executive Chef Pablo Sanchez-Ortiz and mixoloist/funologist/world class conversationalist John O’Donnell prepping and displaying their wares minutes before we air:

…and here is Kim Wagner licking her chops at the thought of swigging top-shelf tequila at 6 am, with five more hours of broadcasting ahead of her:

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So there you have it. That’s how it’s done every Friday morning and we trust we won’t have to explain the procedure again. (Except to certain Asian joints who never seem to quite grasp the concept. “How much this cost?” is a question we constantly have to fight through on Spring Mountain Road. Even after the segment airs, we still get the feeling they don’t believe us.)

Two closing caveats: First, we would love for the segment to be closer to 7 am (more sleep and viewers!) and (occasionally) feature a chef on camera. The former may happen sometime in the future, but the latter won’t occur until we get more time (three minutes doesn’t leave much time for even a brief interview).

Finally, the food doesn’t have to at temperature — or even edible — it just has to look good. But be advised, the crew will eat anything!

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6 Responses to Nina, Pablo and John Show How its Done at Channel 3

  • Having watched John on TV for a while now, I can definitely say he has a face that’s perfect for radio.

    John, how do you go about selecting which place you’ll feature? Is it the new hot thing that catches your eye or perhaps an old reliable that is not getting enough attention?

  • ELV responds: Yes and yes. Plus we try to mix it up with a good variety of places — both ethnic and geographic.

    As for our looks, all we can say is 20 years ago, we got more action than Frank Sinatra in his prime. But alas, Hollywood never called, and decades of dissipation have taken their toll.

  • John,
    What happens to the food after shooting the segment? Do the chefs take it back, or does the staff act like a pool of piranhas during the next commercial break?
    cheers
    Tom

  • ELV responds: the latter.

  • Yo. Show some love for the studio crew…easy with the piranhas smack. Maybe the cost of your “free” commercial is leaving a nice snack for the crew to enjoy.

  • Ok, you’ve convinced me to dine at Forte.

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