Former Vail chef hosts new show |

Former Vail chef hosts new show

Caramie Schnellcschnell@vaildaily.comVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Courtesy The Food NetworkRahm Fama tracks down El Gigante, an infamous burrito layered with eight pounds of meat, one pound of rice, and one pound of beans then slathered with a hearty meat sauce and cheese at Amigos Mexican Restaurant in Kansas City, Mo. for his new show Meat & Potatoes. Fama lived in Vail up until May. He says he misses the food here and his "chef friends." "Vail is a close knit culinary town," he said.

Rahm Fama ought to be thanking the creators of YouTube about now, if he isn’t already. A video of Fama ended up on the site, and now Fama has his own Food Network show. That’s the short version of the story. Here’s the extended bit:A food blogger shot a six minute, 20 second video of Fama, formerly the executive chef at The Lodge at Vail, making mozzarella in a hotel kitchen and posted it on YouTube in August of 2009. Five months ago, an executive producer from Pie Town Productions came across the video and asked Fama if he’d like to audition for a show. Fama didn’t hesitate. He auditioned, made a “sizzle reel” – a sample of the show’s format and the “talent” to show to networks – with the production company and pitched it to a few people. “The network said ‘Tell us how you’re going to make this meat show fun. What are you going to do to sell meat to not only us, but to vegetarians, to children, to everyone?’ I said, ‘I’m going to be myself, I’m going to educate. I’m going to be gentle and have fun with it,'” said Fama during a phone interview this week.

The Food Network liked his style, which is why Fama is about to become the newest face covered in food when the show he hosts, “Meat & Potatoes,” premieres tonight. The first episode is “Between The Buns” and includes “the best meat in buns,” Fama said. Other episodes airing subsequent Fridays through Oct. 29 include “Steakhouse Wars,” “BBQ Madness,” “Supersized Meats,” “Cheap Meat” and “Midnight Meat.”On the show, Fama “travels the country devouring delicious meats and their complementary side dishes, dishing out the details to viewers along the way,” according to the Food Network.”I think it’s absolutely fantastic,” said Richard Bailey, the executive chef at Manor Vail Lodge and a friend of Fama. “It’s great publicity for Vail.”Bailey learned about the possible show a few months ago, he said. “I knew he was going to L.A. to pitch his show, and then I heard he got it a few weeks later,” Bailey said. “I was like ‘No way, this is unbelievable,’ because that was the time Kelly (Liken) was going on Iron Chef. It’s awesome. We’re all going to win over this, Vail and the chefs here.”This is not the first time a Vail cooking alum has found their way onto food television. Along with Liken, who recently made it to No. 4 on” Top Chef,” Duff Goldman, the cute, bald star of “Ace of Cakes,” was the executive pastry chef at Vail Cascade Hotel for a stint. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, of the short-lived Food Network show “2 Dudes Catering” spent time working at The Wildflower restaurant at The Lodge at Vail. “I don’t know if it’s the Lodge at Vail, or if they just got lucky – It’s all about timing and place,” Bailey said.

Fama has traveled to 18 locations so far, including New York City, Chicago, Kansas City, Boston, Fort Worth, Portland and other meat meccas, to film six episodes. The network will decide if it wants to foot the bill for more episodes depending mainly, of course, on ratings. In cities like New York, late night eateries are all the rage, Fama said, which is why the show visits The Meatball Shop on the Lower East Side of the city. “The place is packed from midnight till 3 in the morning,” Fama said. “They have an array of meatballs that’s insane. You smother it in your type of sauce, cheese and toppings. It’s kind of like a pizza, but with meatballs.”In Chicago, Fama visits a Chinese barbecue joint called Sun Wah Bar-B-Que, where they whole-roast the meat. “It’s done in this oven that blasts the pig until the skin is crispy and then they chop it on giant wood blocks and serve it on the bone,” said Fama, who is most certainly is a big meat fan, having grown up on a cattle ranch in Santa Fe, N.M. While pork belly is his favorite thing to make, he also said he loves “slow-cooked meats – ribs, shanks. Anything cooked slow and low.”So might the show visit Vail someday?It’s a definite possibility, Fama said. “It could, yes, for its game,” he said. “Colorado’s got wonderful game. And Colorado lamb. We could hit up the Minturn Country Club. How fun would that be?”Fun. Fun indeed.High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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