Stars from one of South Korea’s most popular culinary programs found themselves in foodie heaven this summer.
The hit show “Now You Can Cook” filmed and aired an exclusive California special – the first overseas destination to be featured on the program – that highlighted iconic cuisine and experiences. The four special episodes debuted in July, reaching a combined viewership of more than 1.5 million.
“Now You Can Cook” is huge in South Korea — it is said that any ingredient featured on the show gets sold out the following day. The show is hosted by Jong-won Paik, a renowned restaurateur, chef and television personality who cooks in front of a live audience and teaches featured celebrity guests how to prepare simple dishes using different types of ingredients.
For this first broadcast of its kind, Paik took a group of four celebrities on a classic California adventure as they visited some of the state’s biggest landmarks and restaurants. They dove into Pink’s Hotdogs in Los Angeles, chowed down on seafood at The Boiling Crab, enjoyed hand-crafted gelato at the famous Pop Bar in Anaheim Packing House, and spent a day exploring the streets of Hollywood.
In addition to sampling commercial dining options, the group met up with two Korean families living in California to create a meal together using local California ingredients. A live cooking demonstration “concert” was also held in a large studio in West Hollywood, inviting 150 Koreans living in the area. Paik and the stars put together an interactive cooking demonstration using local ingredients and distributed the food to the audience at the end of the show.
Finally, what visit to California wouldn’t be complete without a stop for classic American breakfast? The “Now You Can Cook” stars ventured into a local diner, the Original Pantry Cafe, to try staple American dishes such as ham and eggs, biscuits and gravy, buttermilk pancakes and, strangely enough, coleslaw for breakfast. Paik ordered two rounds of the dish, and with his guests’ eyes wide and nodding their heads in approval, it was certainly a hit.
It’s no surprise to see international guests traveling to California just for the food alone. Food tourism is the biggest industry segment for California, with travelers spending $33.9 billion on food and beverage in 2016.
“Now You Can Cook” not only speaks to its local viewers but also resonates with the foodie community on a global scale, presenting an opportunity for destinations like California to showcase their culinary offerings to international travelers. All told, the total ad value of the broadcasts exceeded $3.5 million.
Visit California continues to amplify the state’s culinary bounty by working with overseas partners to highlight the state’s distinct culture that comes alive in every California kitchen, winery, brewery and restaurant.
Watch highlights from the “Now You Can Cook” California special below:
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12/8/2014 0 Comments
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