Facebook has realized that taking advantage of content producers desperate to get in your social feeds is not the best way to encourage creative minds. Seeing ZPZ move its Emmy-winning chef show is a signal that Facebook may be ready to grow up.
— Jason Clampet
After five seasons on PBS, Mind of a Chef has moved to Facebook Watch.
The Zero Point Zero-produced show focusing on chefs and the restaurants they run (the company is behind Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, along with other series) had lived on public television in the U.S. since its debut in 2012. Facebook Watch is commissioning programming from newbies and established players in an attempt to create its own more social rival to Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services.
“The massive reach of the Facebook platform is the biggest draw for us as we see it as a tremendous opportunity to reach a new audience for the show,” Rob Sheard SVP Partner Studio at ZPZ, told Skift Table. The first episode has been viewed nearly half a million times.
Mind of a Chef has always seemed like an odd bird on public television, where cooking shows thrive but chefs and the restaurant business are rarely explored with much depth. Like Chef’s Table on Netflix, Mind also would be out of place on the modern Food Network, which has largely become a home for C-list celebrities cleaning out their pantries rather than explorations of modern cooking and the dining industry.
The current eight-episode season is devoted to chef Danny Bowien, owner of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco and New York City. Past seasons have featured chefs including April Bloomfield, Edward Lee, and Gabrielle Hamilton. This season launched with three episodes, and additional ones will follow for the next five weeks.
“With Facebook Watch being a new user experience for the audience I think there will a learning curve to see how the audience engages with the content,” Sheard said. “There are also elements that are unique to Facebook that empower the audience to emotionally connect and react to the content which will be completely new to us.”