With all of the stories on television surrounding love, loss, and life, there’s one topic that is still, ahem, starving for representation on mainstream, prime-time networks.
That area? Food.
This lack of culinary-centered attention on television may have found its solution in the Israeli company Drama Team, who brought their personal foodie project to Series Mania Co-Production Forum, the European festival where small-screen creators pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.
The project in question, made to be shown as an eight-part series, is a drama called Gastronomy, and according to Variety, who conducted an exclusive interview with the show’s creators, the show will revolve around exploring “the world of food as it travels from the kitchen to the table, to the stomach and the heart.”
In more specific terms, the story will follow eight people—coincidentally mirroring the number of episodes, which could be made clear to be intentional closer to development—and their lives in the week leading up to New Year’s Eve. The eight are all connected to the “food world” in some way, or so states Gastronomy’s screenwriter, Israeli-based Noa Berman-Herzberg, and the series focus will largely square on the budding relationships of these main characters.
Each episode will be framed by a fanciful eight-course meal at the prominent setting of Gastronomy, Aya’s Bistro, and one meal per part will be the major theme. Somehow, the characteristics of the meal will affect the course of events for the characters, so that by the time these eight with full bellies and a full night reach a show-stopping dessert, it will be New Year’s Eve—and what Berman-Herzberg calls “a Last Supper” for this group.
While the writing itself is fictional, it comes from a deep root from Berman-Herzberg’s life. He drew inspiration from his close friend, who would spend afternoons in the writer’s kitchen cooking with him, “making believe that food was above life and death and all the messy stuff in between.”
When a brain tumor stole from him his taste for flavor and his ability to cook alone, Berman-Herzberg didn’t abandon his friend; instead, the two only worked more closely.
“Our series is about people for whom food is their life, their world, their means of communication, and their shelter from everything else—and yes, it’s also about me and my friend,” says Berman-Herzberg.
The storytelling, of course, is a major focus for the Drama Team, but to create a most authentic approach for the series, the team called in an array of food experts and chefs to advise the show-runners on the details for everything. Apparently even the writers themselves have practiced in method, spending hours in restaurants and kitchens and taking as many notes as possible.
Another one of Gastronomy’s co-creators, Mosh Danon, says the writers immerse themselves in the cooking culture “so they experience personally the atmosphere, the language, the people, the emotions and the relationships there.
The team is still searching to make additions to their production crew, but once they do, they’ll likely compile a pitch for some American networks. After all, the Drama Team has already had multiple successes doing so in the US markets; their project BeTipul was purchased by HBO and renamed In Treatment and their Bneh Aruba turned into Hostages on CBS.