Liza de Guia, SkeeterNYC, Food. Curated., Video Storyteller, Documentarian, Documentary, Food, James Beard Foundation Nomination, Best Video Webcast, Filming, Food, Boroklyn, New York, Manhattan


Liza de Guia’s recommendations on where to eat and shop in New York.

Q. Filming people in the food world is for me... (fill in the blank):

A. a creative act to share my passion for food and my admiration for the hard work people dedicate to creating good food.

Q. How do you pick your subjects and what part of their message is essential to you?

A. I pick my subjects pretty randomly. Sometimes I'll try their food by chance, read a cool article, or hear about something through friends or word-of-mouth. Many times, I let my curiosity guide me. By that I mean, I'll wonder how rabbits are commercially farmed or how oysters are grown and I'll seek subjects and topics out myself to feature.

For me Food. Curated. is all about feeding my never-ending quest to self-educate myself and others about food. And the part of the message that is most essential to me is their passion. They must have passion in what they do. It's really hard to film something interesting and meaningful if there is no love behind it. I look for that and make sure they do have a personal mission and something they believe in that they want to share with our palettes. 

Q. How much does their on-camera ability play into your choices?

A. That's never a problem or an issue for me. It doesn't really guide my decision. I do not discriminate. And I truly feel like I can bring out the best in people, no matter how shy or afraid of the camera they are. My motto is ‘All good food has a story.’ It truly does... you just have to be patient with people and eventually their personality and quirks will come out!

Q. As an observer of life, I wish people would take more notice of ...(fill in the blank)

A. how smiling can go a long way. I smile a lot. I love people who aren't shy about showing their pearly whites. It instantly makes me trust them and want to know them. Plus, a good smile can put anyone in a good mood.

Q. You’re very active on Twitter and have garnered a huge following. How has Twitter helped you as an producer/storyteller?

A. Twitter has helped me in wonderful ways. For me it's less ‘networking’ and more friend-making. It's my special tool for finding the true food lovers out there locally and even abroad.

I just like people, I enjoy the interaction and love sharing what I do with other food lovers, reading about their likes, blog posts and interests in return. And I enjoy how easy it is to reach out to strangers on Twitter. Interesting bloggers/writers/filmmakers/chefs/artisans/farmers who you never could meet in person so easily, are only a ‘follow’ away. I mean, that's the whole point. Log on and be social. I'm good at that in person, so it's really no different for me on the web. And yes, I think without it no one would have ever found out about my videos at the get go. It was kind of my launching pad. I always feel pretty lucky that I started my series the same time Twitter was becoming popular in the New York food scene. And now it's pretty essential for anyone in media.

Q. How does the Internet compare with television as a distribution channel for your work?

A. It’s great because I can connect on a deeper level with people that love food and enjoy the stories I'm trying to tell. I can make a personal connection through comments and social media and these days that's so important.

But, at the end of the day, my dream is to bring this series to TV. That's my long term plan. To share these beautiful, passion-filled stories with as many people as possible.

Q. Will we see you on the other side of the camera and hosting again?

A. Yes. I miss hosting and my dream is to host and produce a food show for TV! I'm working on it with my fingers and toes crossed!

Q. Congratulations on recently being nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award. How was the whole experience for you as a first time nominee?

A. It was dreamy. Like living a dream I thought would take years to accomplish. I think a lot of people don't know I've been telling food stories for years, since 2003! This is just the first time I got to show the NYC audience my special talent.

I was on farms and in kitchens telling stories in the Hamptons before New York. And I have to say, very humbly, for someone who shoots, produces and edits every single bit of material that you see on the food. curated. site, it means so very much. I love when hard work pays off. Knowing that you're working for something and having that something be recognized in a room full of people you've been admiring for years was one of those things I'll never forget. One of those things I was so happy to share with my parents. You know, they migrated here from The Philippines in the 70s hoping to give their kids a better opportunity in life. So, having them with me at my James Beard table was one of those moments when I know they realized it was worth it. The journey was worth it.

Q. Growing up, I always ate... (fill in the blank)

A. Vienna sausage

Q. but now that I’m older I prefer... (fill in the blank)

A. Hebrew National All Beef Hot Dogs (grilled to a nice char).

Q. However, I still crave... (fill in the blank), my guilty pleasure food.

A. Cheetos.

Q. What TV or Internet shows are you going out of your way to watch?

A. I'm kinda embarrassed, but my favorite TV shows might make some people cringe. I love reality competition shows. I think it's because I love real people who are putting it all on the line to pursue their dreams. It's addictive.

Therefore, as I lower my eyes, I will admit my favorite shows are So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef, and American Idol. I am also a sucker for great drama and cinematography, so I love Mad Men, True Blood, No Reservations, Nurse Jackie, and Dexter.

My food faves on PBS: Avec Eric and Lidia's Table. I also have to mention TED Talks online. It's my daily brain food. Lastly, I cannot live without This American Life podcast. It's the show I wish I could work for and the show that I use as my benchmark. I love the honesty and quirkiness of it. It's probably the show that makes me the most happy.

Q. Can you share some advice for aspiring film makers?

A. Well, I am a self-taught shooter, producer and editor. I think the best way to learn is to spend as much time as possible perfecting your craft. Don't wait for anyone to give you the signal to make your films, just run outside with a camera and start shooting. It's the best way to learn. And you don't have to go to film school for it.

My other piece of advice, make friends with your subjects. Your interviews will always be better when they trust you.

Q. Who are the documentary makers that inspire you?

A. As for other food documentarians, I really love the work that Rebecca Gerendasy from Cooking Up a Story is producing online. Also, I really love the Chow’s Obsessives series and Gourmet's Diary of a Foodie. They are all really well shot and honest in their approach to food.

Q. Are there any great food related documentaries that you could recommend?

A. Future of Food.

Q. What up and coming food artisans are delivering a product worth checking out?

A. SCRATCHbread, Early Bird Granola, Kumquat Cupcakery, Bacon Marmalade, The Meat Hook sausages, Dickson's Farmstand Meats sausages/terrines, The Bent Spoon Ice Cream, L’Arte del Gelato's gelato, Paulie Gee's artisan pizza, Num Pang sandwiches.

Q. What restaurant or bar is your favorite place to unwind... and what about it do you love?

A. Five Leaves in Greenpoint. The food is locally sourced, perfectly portioned, seasoned and does not disappoint. I love the decor and the vibe, even when busy. There are always great specials to be had. And their ricotta pancakes are to die for. And it's a killer spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Q. Off the beaten track places to eat, that you’d be excited to take an adventurous eater?

A. The Red Hook Ball Field Food Vendors. Hands down my favorite place to eat in the city right now. You can spend a whole day there and eat the best inexpensive/traditional Latin food this city has to offer. Plus, it's just fun. You meet people in line, chat with the vendors. It's a unique NYC experience.

Q. What purveyors or shops are you currently loving ... and what do you love about them?

A. I shop consistently at Union Square Farmer's Market, Greenpoint Farmer's Market, The Lobster Place for seafood, Dickson's Farmstand Meats and The Meat Hook for meat.

Q. Food markets around the world that you love?

A. Padua, Italy; The Wet Markets in Boracay, Philippines; Merida Food Markets in Mexico.

Q. Best restaurant I've ever eaten at to date:

A. Le Calandre in Italy, a 3-star Michelin, 5-hour dinner I'll never ever ever forget. And the first time I tried real pigeon.


Food Documentary Storyteller




Liza de Guia’s recommendations on where to eat and shop in New York.