Check out The Deal Hunter with Ian Grant, which is making its debut on December 21 at 8:30 p.m. on Travel Channel. Locally produced and featuring local talent, it should be a big hit. My pal John Kitchener wrote, produced, and directed the pilot. He and I worked on an HGTV series for years together, and he is now with Edelman Productions. Ian Grant owns a shop in Minneapolis that sells beautiful and exotic artifacts from around the world. Several times a year, Ian hops on a plane and travels to remote places, such as the rainforests of Southern India or the mountains of Northern Thailand, in search of unusual objects. He then ships these remarkable finds back to the States and sells them to high-end shops and designers throughout the US and around the world.
The show follows Ian on his travels, revealing the best places in the world to find cool stuff, what to avoid, and how to get the best deals. The pilot was shot in NYC; check out the details.
The cool part is that Travel Channel is going to air their first ever "Pilot Week," which begins December 17. After each new show airs, they want people to log on to the Travel Channel website and vote for the shows they like best. Check out Deal Hunter and all the new shows next week, and vote for your faves. I, of course, have a vested interest in all this, so I’ll be voting also. It would be cool if Ian’s show was a big, fat smash and got put on my new night when my second season debuts in March.
John Besh, one of the best chefs in the country, had a really good year in 2007. New Orleans restaurant critic (and Minnesota born and bred) Brett Anderson recently named August one of the Top 10 Restaurants and picked Besh’s new restaurant, Lüke, an Alsatian-style brasserie, as one of his Best New Restaurants in The Times-Picayune. The December issue of New Orleans Magazine touted Besh as Chef of the Year, and Lüke was selected as Best New Restaurant. You might remember Besh as the guy who finished second on Iron Chef to Michael Symon from Cleveland’s Lola Bistro. Now I always thought MS would win since the day the lineup was announced; he completely has the Iron Chef vibe. But the food that Besh cooks in his restaurants and the depth of his organization are superb. Besh’s eateries offer top-notch dining. What’s my point? Well, for the folks who have everything and want something different for a gift this holiday season, Besh is now offering off-site catering available anywhere in the country. You heard it here first.