Many foodies may know Frankie Celenza from his Emmy-Award winning Tastemade show, Struggle Meals, inspired by his college days when he struggled to eat healthy foods on his NYU meal plan. Since then he’s gardened with Michelle Obama at the White House and hosted shows like Frankie vs the Internet, Frankie Cooks and Frankie’s World. Now, he’s taking his show on the road with Worth the Hype (also on Tastemade), which includes samples of buzz-worthy culinary delights in cities across the country – think pizza in Brooklyn, doughnuts in LA, and puffy tacos in San Antonio.
We chatted with Celenza to learn more about the show, the food, the cities he visited and the people he met.
Tell us how the new show Worth the Hype came about.
Worth the Hype is both a natural extension and evolution of our 100-episode deep Tastemade series Struggle Meals. After making so many dishes and explaining them so deeply so people at home can recreate them, it only makes sense to travel the country to see what’s out there. Call it inspiration, call it a return to normalcy in travel. Whatever you call it, I’ve always loved eating as I travel and I know others do too. This new format makes a lot of sense for us.
How many different cities did you travel to?
In season one we traveled to six different cities, that’s if you count Manhattan and Brooklyn as two separate cities, which they both are and aren’t. All in all, we visited LA, Austin, Brooklyn, San Antonio, San Diego and Manhattan.
Do you have a favorite city or meal?
Favorites are hard. What I saw were passionate people working really hard to share their love and take on all kinds of dishes. Humanity can be beautiful like that.
Was there one spot that surprised you?
I was surprised by a few spots, mainly because I’d never thought of these concepts. Holey Grail Doughnut’s taro root doughnut was really tasty. Curry Boy’s Brisket Smoke Show made a lot of delicious sense to me, and the precision of everything at Tonchin Ramen was next level.
What spot would you make a return trip to?
I want to try everything again!
How do you go about choosing what city you’ll travel to next?
We’re picking the cities through some social media outreach and also based on buzz. There’s no shortage of great food cities in this country.
What are your hopes and expectations for Worth the Hype?
My hope is that people love Worth The Hype as much as Struggle Meals so that we can keep making more. It would be a dream to have a fraction of the influence that Triple D (Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives) has.
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