6:00am PT by Natalie Jarvey
David Chang, Chrissy Teigen, Vox Media to Produce Food Shows for Hulu
David Chang has been cooking for Chrissy Teigen for years. After the model became a regular at his Noodle Bar, the two struck up a friendship. Now, they're preparing to spend some time in the kitchen together.
Chang's Majordomo Media and Teigen's Suit and Thai Productions have teamed with Vox Media Studios on a multiyear deal to produce Hulu's first slate of food-focused programming. In their first show, tentatively titled Family Style, the chef and cookbook author will explore the ways people express their love for family and friends through cooking and dining together.
"Food has become cultural currency today," says Chang, who last year launched Majordomo Media to produce podcasts, television shows and editorials focused on food and culture. "People know more about food than ever before. It's never been a better time to eat in America today. People are traveling."
For Chang, Family Style has a personal connection. The chef says he began cooking more at home when his wife was pregnant with their first child. "It's reminded me of why I got into this business, to make someone feel joy and happiness through food," he says, adding that his co-collaborator is "honest and always trying to educate and show different perspectives [on food]."
Family Style is just one show that Teigen will work on for Hulu. The model, who has released two cookbooks since 2016, has inked a two-year overall deal with the streamer. Through her Suit & Thai Productions banner, she will curate and produce original programming that ranges from scripted drama series to talk shows.
Vox Media Studios also is working on multiple projects with Hulu. The media company, which owns such brands as SB Nation, The Verge and Vox, is building on past work producing No Passport Required for PBS and is developing travel docuseries Eater's Guide to the World with its food vertical Eater. The show will leverage Eater's network of journalists in two dozen cities around the U.S. and United Kingdom. "We have a lot of experience producing food TV and a lot of success doing it," says Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff. "Hulu is really the perfect partner for Vox Media to be collaborating with. We both are companies that believe in quality storytelling, we believe in talent."
The food programming space has been in the midst of a transformation as Americans' dining habits have evolved. Anthony Bourdain brought a documentary style filmmaking to his CNN series Parts Unknown. Netflix, meanwhile, made an early bet on the space with Chef's Table, which kickstarted a broader push into unscripted food and travel programming. Now food programming has become central to a streamer's unscripted lineup. Disney, for instance, announced plans to offer cooking show Be Our Chef for its forthcoming Disney+ service.
"The type of programming we want to do is entertaining and accessible but it's also not going to be the current food programming that you see on TV anywhere," says Bankoff. "We think that it can be done a whole lot better and in novel ways. That's the bar we are setting for ourselves."
Hulu's partnership with Chang, Teigen and Vox Media is one of several announcements expected at its annual upfront presentation with advertisers Wednesday morning. The streamer has also ordered two Marvel shows and an adaptation of Nine Perfect Strangers, starring Nicole Kidman.