Joe Ricchio, writer of the Portland Food Coma blog, food editor for Maine Magazine and organizer of the Death Match Cook-Off party series that was featured on Andrew Zimmern’s “Bizarre Foods,” is getting his own TV show.
Ricchio, a fixture on the Portland food scene for years now, is taking his humorous, irreverent, potty-mouthed approach to food on the road. Food Coma TV, which will film five episodes this fall, aims to point the spotlight on the rest of Maine, and not just on Portland’s much-vaunted restaurant and artisan food scene. The first season will visit Bangor, Lewiston, Fryeburg, Fort Kent and one other location to be determined. When the show is completed, it will be shown online for free, and eventually edited into a feature-length documentary.
Ricchio is partnering with producer Alex Steed and director Kurt Glaser to make the series. Steed, a southern Maine media consultant and writer, is a longtime fan of Ricchio’s, and hopes Food Coma TV will both raise Ricchio’s profile within the state, and shine a light on Maine’s food scene as a whole.
“Originally, I hoped for more people to know about how great a writer Joe is, so I wanted to organize something like a punk rock tour for him, only instead of touring music, he would tour his writing,” said Steed. “Then we thought, well, let’s just do that and film it and all the people we meet on the way.”
While Portland tends to gobble up all the national attention — and rightly so, with its James Beard Award-nominated restaurants and countless foodie destinations — the rest of Maine has its own unique flavor. Ricchio, Steed and Glaser plan to show it off with their series.
“We are looking at talking to everyone from high-end food chefs to the people who run a House of Pizza in a town of less than 1,000 people,” Steed says.
In order to make Food Coma TV a reality, the team is using Kickstarter, an “all-or-nothing” online funding service where people who like the project can pledge a donation, and when the funding goal of $6,500 is met, funding is granted. If the goal is not reached, no one is charged for his or her pledge. Fulfilled pledges are rewarded with art, DVDs and other artifacts from the project.
“I thought this fundraising model was important because I want for Mainers and fans of Joe and his writing to have ownership over the project,” says Steed. “The food community is a big family so we have no doubt that enough pledges will come through to make Food Coma TV a reality.”
Those interested in donating to the project can visit http://foodcoma.tv.