Stephenie Blyden, creator of the culinary television series Bestseller – Bermuda (Photograph provided)
Stephenie Blyden’s dream was to create a show in Bermuda that rivals the ones she has seen on Food Network.
Having worked in TV production with Tyray Lathan, she knew he was “an awesome host” who was also passionate about food.
“That’s when I had the idea, I thought we could work with his passion for food and my passion for creating a professional Food Network-like show to bring the vision to life,” a- she declared. “That’s when I told him about the idea of producing, making it a professional [show], and he accepted. Then we did.
Bestseller: Bermudathe 20-minute series they came up with is “all about promoting local restaurants.”
The chefs are filmed preparing a signature dish, which Mr. Lathan tries and discusses on camera; regular customers are asked about their favorite dishes on the menu.
The pair have completed an episode and are now looking for additional sponsors and restaurants.
“There are no negative reviews; nothing like. It’s all positive,” Ms Blyden said.
Every aspect of the shoot is discussed in advance with the restaurant. The dish that will be presented is also agreed, so that the chefs can prepare to cook in front of a camera.
“It’s to make sure the restaurant gets the promotion it wants and deserves. At the same time we go and promote [additional] dishes they have that they think the public would like.
“Towards the end you will see the host eating the food and part of the atmosphere of the restaurant itself.
“It’s a lot of action, music, repeat customers telling you what they like, things like that. Then we have a commercial break. It’s actually set up like a real TV show.
The show is a product of Bermedia VaultTV, a production company that Ms Blyden started about five years ago and is particularly known for one of its shows, Vault Quiz.
Stephenie Blyden invites restaurateurs to sign up for her cooking TV series Bestseller: Bermuda (Photograph provided)
“Learning to produce came from a love,” she said. “My mother couldn’t afford to send me to school, so I had to learn. I had to intern with people and ask them questions, I had to go online and watch [things] at the top. I just had to do what I had to do.
It took him “a few years” before he saw any real improvement. A one-year internship with Channel 82 in Bermuda helped me.
“That’s when I took off with my wings and was able to do things on my own shortly after. It was a big part of my career, it really helped me.
She then quit her job and started VaultTV, encouraged by people who saw her talent, heard her ideas and pushed her to do it.
“Of course it’s a fear factor when it comes to things like this,” Ms Blyden said. “But I decided I was just going to take the plunge and do it because I had to; because I really felt it in my mind to do so.
“So I just did what I had to do and I’ve been building it for a few years now. We’ve come pretty far.
“We work a lot with companies and we do our stories [segments]. I’ve always dreamed of creating professional TV shows and I have quite a few brews of them, but one in particular was a Food Network type show.
She is the “director, creator and producer” of BestsellerMr Lathan is “the brilliant host with a passion for food who also helps wherever needed when he can – behind the scenes and in front of the screen”.
“In Bermuda, we have so many creative people here, but no one really takes the time to do this stuff.
“And I just wanted to do it. We just want to promote Bermuda in a positive way. We want to give Bermuda local content that is professional.
Interested restaurants are invited to Register with VaultTV. This will grant access to the first episode, which includes Village Pantry, Wahoo’s Bistro & Patio, and FryDay’s.
“I want to thank these restaurants for believing in our vision and for being so patient as we prepare to complete the rest of the season,” Ms Blyden said.
Once released, Bestseller will be available on www.bermediavault.comYouTube and various social media platforms.
She is also in talks with Channel 82 and ZFB and the Bermuda Tourism Authority who “absolutely loved the pilot” and hope to promote it to viewers overseas.
“We wanted to make sure it looked professional as we wanted it to reach outside of Bermuda. We wanted people who saw it to think, ‘Who did this? Has Food Network really taken off? »
“But you know, it’s up to us in the end. We haven’t done the full season yet. We want to involve all restaurants.
“There are a few things in motion. We just have to put on the show. There are a lot of people ready to push it and want to be part of it.
According to the sponsor buy-in, restaurants will not have to pay for the promotion.
Each episode will give between three and four restaurants five minutes of screen time; Ms. Blyden expects around 11 episodes per season.
“We’re just going to keep going until I guess we get them all or get as many as we can.
“We have implemented it on the website where [restaurants] could go put in their information and then they could watch the pilot.
“So I just want to encourage them to really watch it and contact us if they’re interested. And we’ll go from there. It’s a good thing for Bermuda.
Restaurant owners interested in promoting their restaurant on Best Seller: Bermuda should visit www.bermediavault.com and click on the Best Seller Sign Up tab