Cris, a stand-up comedian and veteran road warrior is the host of his own show “Best in Chow” that will appear on the Cooking Channel on Wednesday night. This Examiner was fortunate to speak with him yesterday about his new show where he will seek out the best pizza, burgers and tacos in North America. He is just an all-around nice guy and easy to talk to.
Hi, Cris, thanks so much for taking time from your busy schedule to speak with me.
It is my pleasure, Diane.
Where are you calling me from?
Calgary, I am home right now for a short while.
Growing up in an Italian family, what are your favorite holiday memories about food?
Every holiday was the greatest banquet. Every woman in my family is a great Italian cook!
Is there anything you refuse to eat?
My crew is a bunch of frat boys, so seafood, and shellfish, not a hot pepper lover. I’m not a typical Italian as I never eat broccoli.
I used to tell my kids not to say they didn’t like something, unless they tried it first.
Now you sound like my mother, but that happened with beef tongue when my production crew had me taste it on camera, and it was really delicious.
Your new show Best in Chow, how is it different from other food shows on TV?
First half is similar to other shows where three chefs are chosen, and meeting people on the street and getting their opinions is very interesting. The second half of the show is where judges who are average people to do the eating.
What happens on the second half?
Not being a chef, I can’t cook to save my life. I just enjoy the flavor and ambience, and I bond with the people who just love to make and serve food. I learn so much from these people. They are masters of their craft. It is not my choice, but the panel of judges; I'm not always happy with the choice. The food is all great, like food porn. If you are not hungry before watching the episodes, you will be. It is a different concept, with man-on-the-street judges. Nine dishes are judged. I don’t pick the winner, unless we have a deadlock, then I choose. But the judging is very strict.
Being a comedian must have an impact on your travels to meet up with different characters; do you get much of your comedy material from happenings in restaurants?
Sometimes, it is personal I feel like a kid when I travel, I always wonder what the city was back in the day. Visiting Chicago, was a big deal for me with so much history, this world is so big and I am lucky to be able to see the world.
How do you keep from gaining weight eating so many different fast foods?
Who says I’m not gaining weight? I work with Pyramid productions in Canada, the long days of travel and shooting, I must make it to the gym.
Do you eat healthy when not on camera?
I try as best I can, remember I’m Italian. I can cut back, but I love my pasta and meatballs. In Canada, they don’t call sauce gravy, the way they do in some places.
If you liked what you read, please tune in on Wednesday night’s Cooking Channel episode and see the burgers Cris found in Hollywood. Please don’t forget to click on the “Subscribe” button above to keep up with Cris and his expeditions and follow this Television Examiner.