As cameras rolled at Hoboken restaurant Dino & Harry’s, reporter Lisa Mateo from the WPIX 11 Morning News and comedian and Hoboken resident Artie Lange sat down for a taping of the television show “Taste Makers: Food and Fame,” which airs Saturday nights at 6:30 p.m. on WPIX. The show takes viewers through an intimate interview with a celebrity on a drive to their favorite restaurant, as well as a conversation over their favorite meal. The show includes lessons on how to prepare the meal as well as what to do with leftovers (in the “Doggy Bag” segment).
Food and fame inspiration
The show was the idea of Tony Monte, creator, writer, and executive producer. Monte, whose background in the music industry includes work for RCA and Capitol Records, is a Secaucus resident and was born and raised in Jersey City. He currently produces a web series called “New Music Director,” which can be found at newmusicdirector.com.
The idea for “Taste Makers” was born out of an inspiration that came to Monte last year after he watched a presentation by the TMZ creator Harvey Levin on the future of media, then later watched an episode of “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” on the Food Network.
“I thought it would be interesting to get celebrity perspectives on what they eat and where they get their meals,” said Monte. “There were really no shows that focused on celebrities and food.”
The idea for “Taste Makers” came from Secaucus resident Tony Monte.
“It just hit me,” said Monte. “I just thought about finding out about celebrities…finding out about food [and] watching them experience eating the meal.”
The idea took off and Monte put a team together. His company, Melonte Partners, backed the show. Monte shot the first taping earlier this year that featured WPIX morning show host Sukanya Krishnan, whose favorite restaurant is Tamarind in New York City. Guests have included Danny Aiello, Jerry Springer, Wycleff Jean, and psychic medium John Edward. The first “Taste Makers” show debuted Oct. 27, 2012.
Local favorite with Lange
At a December taping, Mateo and Lange sat down to his favorite meal of porterhouse steak with creamed spinach, broccoli rabe, and baked potato. Lange, who has been a Hoboken resident since 2001, is known for his work as a comedian and his work on The Howard Stern Show and Mad TV. He currently hosts a radio and television show “Nick and Artie” five nights a week. Lange’s second memoir, “Crash and Burn,” is due out in April.
“Good people, good food,” said Lange, about why he regularly goes to Dino & Harry’s.
“It feels like home…it’s like family.”
Lange lives a few blocks away in the uptown Shipyard development.
Lange said that throughout the years, his family has celebrated birthdays at the establishment, including a recent gathering for his mother’s seventieth.
Lange said that the porterhouse steak is one of his favorite meals because, “It’s big, first of all, and it’s a good cut of meat.”
During the 30-minute show, Mateo picks up the celebrity guest, they determine where they are going, and on the ride over she conducts an intimate interview. At the restaurant, viewers get to go behind the scenes and into the kitchen to learn how the celebrity’s favorite dish is prepared. Then Mateo sits down with the celebrity guest to enjoy the meal.
“It sounded right up my alley,” said Lange about appearing on “Taste Makers.”
Show Host Mateo said she loves all aspects of the show including, “talking to great people.”
“I love to eat,” said Mateo. She noted that viewers enjoy getting to see what celebrities like to eat and how to make their favorite dish.
At the end of the show the “Doggy Bag” segment shows viewers how to prepare leftovers.
“People more and more want to take something home,” noted Monte. “Especially with the economy…we thought this was very relevant with people.”
Translating a vision
“I am overwhelmed by the response,” said Monte. The show has an initial 12-week run. Monte feels strongly that the show can expand to markets outside the New York and New Jersey Metropolitan area to include a “Taste Makers” Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, or Houston.
Monte described the process of producing the show as non-traditional and unconventional.
“There have been so many people who have given their time and effort,” noted Monte. As executive producer, his work entails everything, from securing guests, to working closely with his business partner Melinda Martinez in production and post production, to dealing with marketing, among other duties.
His business partner Martinez, also a Secaucus resident, co-executive produces the show. She shared at the recent taping in Hoboken that she enjoys producing the show because of “the full creative control of having a vision and seeing it on film.”
“It is a vision I believe in,” said Monte. “It is a show I believe in.”
“Lisa does such an incredible job,” said Monte of the host. Monte noted that Mateo wakes up at 1 a.m. to be on the 4 a.m. news and that even on news marathon days she looks forward to taping “Taste Makers.”
“That is what I enjoy…that everyone involved feels so positive and so good,” said Monte.
The “Taste Makers” episode featuring Lange airs Jan. 5 at 6:30 p.m. on WPIX. For more information, visit www.mytastemakers.tv.
Adriana Rambay Fernández may be reached at email@example.com.