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April 4, 2013

CSU-produced cooking show makes its debut

By Kelsey Smith

In the midst of the films showing at Cleveland’s International Film Festival, a Cleveland State-produced television program will be making its debut in Fenn Tower’s Panel Room.

“Beyond Curry” is a cooking program created by faculty and students in film and digital media. It is the brainchild of Bill Julka, who worked with members of the School of Communication to create the pilot episode.

Beyond Curry shoot“It’s really Bill Julka’s project,” Evan Lieberman, associate professor of media arts and technology and executive producer of the program, said. “He has this group of friends and they cook for each other, and they all are very good cooks, and they had this idea
that they should have a cooking show.”

The group decided to focus on Indian cuisine because they agreed that most people in the United States do not know the full spectrum of Indian cooking.

“There’s this gigantic variety of Indian cooking that most Americans have never heard of or experienced,” Lieberman said. “And one of the points [Julka] made was that we tend not to think about Indian fish or seafood, and this is an extremely important part of the Indian diet. So the episode we’ve done is about cooking fish in a tandoori oven.”

With an idea in mind, Lieberman enlisted the help of his students. The students used the film production skills they learned in their classes for a one-day shoot in Julka’s kitchen. Most of the film’s budget went towards paying the students for their work.

“They didn’t get paid at the same rate as maybe a professional cameraman, but everyone got paid,” Lieberman explained.

While “Beyond Curry” is a cooking show, the program has elements that set it apart from the typical culinary shows that are more popular now than ever. One of the things members of the film department did was work to make the program’s production technique different from other cooking shows.

“There’s a lot of moving elements,” Lieberman said. “There are a lot of screens within screens and text and cut-aways.”

The show also details the history of whatever Indian cooking technique is employed in that particular episode, in this case the tandoori oven. Julka’s friend, Dr. Nandlal Varyani, also appears on the show to help cook and discuss the benefits of the spices used in Indian cooking.

The show was filmed at the beginning of the 2012 spring semester and spent several months in post-production. During this time, Jen Pullman had the task of editing the footage while they production team determined the right time to premiere their project.

They decided on April 4, 2013-the reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with the show following at 6:15. During the show’s premiere, guests will enjoy a dinner made up of the same items being prepared on screen. Afterwards, the audience can ask those behind the making of the show questions and hear their insights regarding television and the work that goes into turning an idea into a television show. After the premiere, they have plans to shop the pilot around to see if there’s any interest in turning it into a series.

“It’s a different kind of cooking show,” Lieberman explained. “It has community and that sense of comradely that really food is all about.”


Photo courtesy CSU