Dr. Evan Lieberman, Director of Media Arts and Technology in the School of Communication, and Ms. Jen Poland of Invasion Films recently led a group of film students and alumni in the production of a pilot episode of “Beyond Curry,” a cooking show for television focused on Indian cuisine and culture.
The show was originally conceived by Mr. Bill Julka, founder/CEO of local high-tech firm Smart Solutions and member of the board of the CSU Foundation. His name is familiar on campus because of the building named after him, Julka Hall, which is home to the College of Education and Human Services.
Mr. Julka, the host and primary chef of the program, works alongside his wife, Dr. Neeraj Julka, and a group of their close friends, to expand the American audience’s understanding not only of Indian cooking but also of broader issues of history, culture, and the health benefits of the wide variety of spices used in this dynamic and little explored cuisine.
School of Communication adjunct professor John Vourlis helped develop the show, which combines elements of the “how-to” cooking program, featuring recipes and demonstrations of preparatory techniques, with the more visually exciting and informative approaches found more typically on the Travel and History channels. Students from the current film program, Ryan Forte and Bob Reiland, manned the cameras along with Dr. Lieberman and recent graduate Jake Kostelnik, while Ms. Poland and Dr. Lieberman directed over a dozen other students as they performed all the major roles on set, ranging from lighting and grip to art direction and sound recording.
The pilot episode focused on Tandoori cooking, as Mr. Julka and his group prepared a feast of Tandoori Shrimp, Trout, Vegetable and Cheese Kabobs (for which they demonstrated how easy it is to make cheeses at home), as well as the traditional Naan bread and a special dessert of rice pudding coated in real silver. The show is currently in post-production and is scheduled for completion in March, after which it will be marketed to national food networks and PBS stations.