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Tune in Reminder Apple TV+ brings a new twist to television food shows with “Omnivore” and renown chef René Redzepi

By: Valerie Milano

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 7/18/2024 – If you are looking for a show about food that doesn’t revolve around loud, ego-driven celebrity chefs browbeating aspiring amateur cooks, or mind-numbing shows with touring spotlighting regional cuisines, then look no further than Apple TV+ and its newest entry, “Omnivore.”

Instead of a competition between aspiring chefs being harangued by celebrity counterparts, or celebrity chefs carrying on endlessly about obscure cuisine or time-honored recipes, “Omnivore” takes a different, and totally refreshing approach.

Clearly, this isn’t “The Galloping Gourmet”, the host doesn’t yell at anyone. The show delves into the profound connections between food and culture, exploring eight essential ingredients that define culinary traditions worldwide: bananas, chilis, coffee, corn, pork, rice, salt, and tuna. Through the lens of these eight unique ingredients, the program traverses the planet, meeting the diverse people who are connected to them.

The host is René Redzepi co-owner of Noma, a three-Michelin-star Danish restaurant, that has been classified as the World’s Finest a number of years. Redzepi, who is also the show’s creator, and executive producer, along with Matt Goulding (“Anthony Bourdain: Explore Parts Unknown”), writer, co-creator and co-executive producer, joined The Hollywood Times recently for an exclusive chat about the show.

Click below to see our exclusive interview:

Redzepi said the concept has been rolling around in his head for 10 years and now, with the planned closing of Noma at the end of this year, he’s finally getting a chance to bring his idea to life.

“A little over 10 years ago, when Noma was getting to be known, I was offered to be on TV,” Redzepi said, recalling that his choices for a platform were for the more traditional fare of cooking shows. “It was either me and a celebrity traveling Scandinavia with me telling them where to eat, or me in my home kitchen showing people how to cook Scandinavian food, or a competition show as a judge or something like that.”

The timing was not right for him at that point, Redzepi said, but the offers started his mind working, and what he came up with is what you will see when you catch an episode of “Omnivore,” which is set for its global debut on July 19th. The chef said he found inspiration through his childhood hero David Attenborough, who made a name with sparkling nature shows that showed a reverence for the creatures and environments in which they were filmed.

“Cooking is what makes us human. Behind each bite there’s always something bigger at work.”

“I thought, ‘Can we do that?’” Redzepi said. “The respect, the dedication, the care, the sophistication towards a beetle or a leopard … can we have that for all the stuff we eat? And can we instill in people a sense of wonder and awe and inspiration, (a sense of) wow, food is so much more than what I thought it was! That was the hope.”

Like so many things, the idea was put on the backburner by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Now, Apple TV+ is bringing Redzepi’s vision to life for an hour once each week.

The concept rang true with Goulding, and the chef was quite clear from the very start of things that this show would be different.

“When René called up to talk about a possible collaboration, he was very clear, right from the beginning,” Goulding said.  René told me, “This is not my journey. You’re not going to follow me around the world to eat food. This is a much bigger story. This needs to be our story, a story of us as humans.”

Redzepi’s intent for this series is to be about who we are and how we got here, and along the way it explores how food and our various preparations have helped shape world culture and society. And working from a blank template with no set formula, “Omnivore” is able to bring a fresh look to every episode.  Goulding said, “it’s like a concept album.  Every song has its own cadence, its own rhythm, its own lyrics, but it is all tied to a larger concept.”

Noma Cibi

Each episode has its format and style adapted to the ingredient that is being showcased.  “So, you have chili, and it becomes this sweaty, heart-pumping, swashbuckling adventure across the world. Or you have a pig and this very intimate question, ‘How is the pig doing in this relationship?’ and that question is answered in one small village in central Spain”, Goulding said.

Yes, this definitely is not Julia Child or Paula Deen. The product delivers with this very fresh and unique concept in food television. “Omnivore” is produced for Apple TV+ by Fifth Season and Film45, with executive producers Redzepi, Goulding, Chris Rice, Ben Liebmann, Michael Antinoro, Max Wagner, Collin Orcutt and Mateo Willis. Cary Joji Fukunaga developed “Omnivore” for television.