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National culinary show features local restaurants

Food Network viewers nationwide will be treated to a vicarious taste of Lake Tahoe restaurants this fall.

Media guru Rachael Ray, one of America’s most popular cooking and lifestyle TV hosts, will feature a handful of restaurants in Lake Tahoe’s north and south shores on the Food Network’s “Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels.”

The episode is tentatively scheduled to air in mid-October, producers of the cable show said in a written statement.



The food series visits popular destinations, including New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas and New Orleans, to give viewers insider tips and travel secrets.

“The Food Network is a pretty big hit for north Lake Tahoe businesses and specifically the culinary scene, which ranges from down-home comfort to sophisticated upscale,” said Andy Chapman, tourism director of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, in a prepared statement.



Though Ray was not present at the North Shore shooting, she was familiar with the culinary scene and knew ahead of time which restaurants she wished to feature, said Pettit Gilwee, public relations manager for the resort association.

“It’s not uncommon for her to send a TV crew and tease the piece,” Gilwee said. “She knew exactly where she wanted to film; I mean, there was no question.”

Tasty Travels film crews visited Fire Sign Cafe, Sunnyside Resort, Jake’s On the Lake and Log Cabin among other North and South Shore restaurants.

“[The restaurants] jumped on it,” Gilwee said. “For being a national film crew that came into town, it was probably one of the easiest shoots I’ve ever coordinated … because the restaurants understood the importance of this particular program and what the publicity would mean to North Lake Tahoe.”

When shooting a segment featuring Fire Sign Cafe, the production crew interviewed customers, shot kitchen scenes and featured popular breakfast dishes on the back deck, said Charles Mallet, a waiter at the breakfast joint.

“They were very professional,” Mallet said. “They came in and they knew what they wanted to get.”

Ray’s coverage puts Tahoe on the map for a booming tourism sector of serious “foodies.” According to the Travel Industry Association of America, 27 million visitors engaged in culinary or wine-related activities while traveling in the past three years.

“It’s a very important niche market. The demographic definitely speaks to a more upscale traveler,” said Executive Director Patrick Kaler of the Lake Tahoe Visitor’s Authority in South Lake Tahoe. “We are clearly ripe for that market because of all the dining experiences we have around the lake.”


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