Entertainment

Smokin’ dishes featured on TV show

George Kulai, owner of Smokin’ George’s BBQ Restaurant, left, and John Catucci, host of the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here show, whip up something yummy in the restaurant kitchen. The episode starring the Nanaimo restaurant is scheduled to run on the Food Network March. 1. - Stefane Begin Photo
George Kulai, owner of Smokin’ George’s BBQ Restaurant, left, and John Catucci, host of the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here show, whip up something yummy in the restaurant kitchen. The episode starring the Nanaimo restaurant is scheduled to run on the Food Network March. 1.
— image credit: Stefane Begin Photo

The smoking flavours of a Nanaimo restaurant are getting a chance to sizzle in the spotlight on the Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here show.

Smokin’ George’s BBQ Restaurant will be featured in an episode scheduled to premiere on the network March 1.

“It’s extremely humbling and I feel very fortunate,” said George Kulai, owner of the restaurant. “It’s an absolute honour to even be considered.”

The episode will examine three items: the smokin’ loaded baked potato, crispy chicken soft taco and pulled pork lasagna.

“We’re looking for a good food story to tell,” said Rachel Horvath, supervising producer of the show. “George, he is doing traditional comfort food but with a contemporary twist.”

Kulai was working at Vancouver Island University as a food and beverage manager when he got the idea. He was previously a culinary instructor, but when the position was cut he took the desk job. But Kulai wanted to get back in the kitchen and create recipes for food lovers.

“It’s a concept that isn’t done here to this degree – it is barbecue and barbecue only,” said Kulai. “We don’t deviate from that style. I have a passion for food it is something I have been doing for 25 years.”

The show has a research team that combs through online reviews and guidebooks. The team makes sure people are talking positively about the place. If the researchers feel the restaurant holds up to the series criteria they pitch the idea to the series producers. After that the producers talk to the restaurant to ensure all the food is made from scratch and nothing is prepackaged.

“We are a celebration of Canadian restaurants,” said Horvath. “B.C. really has a great food scene.”

You Gotta Eat Here follows Catucci as he treks across Canada. It showcases eateries and super fans who recommend the establishments. During each episode Catucci visits three cities and restaurants.

arts@nanaimobulletin.com

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