Food bad at a restaurant? TV may be to blame

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Food bad at a restaurant? TV may be to blame

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One Korean documentary, “The True-Taste Show,” is stirring controversy after it revealed how successful restaurants are created by brokers, broadcasting stations and restaurant owners. [JoongAng Ilbo]


The 12th Jeonju International Film Festival came to an end on Friday with one sure winner: a documentary that blows this lid off the cozy ties between restaurants and television shows.

Directed by Kim Jae-hwan, a former MBC producer, the 70-minute film entitled “The True-Taste Show” reveals the ugly truth of how famous restaurants get featured on foodie shows on national TV.

The documentary starts with a grabby line: “I know why some famous restaurants offer terrible food.”

In order to make the documentary, Kim opened a small restaurant of his own in Ilsan, Gyeonggi, and recorded his attempt to get featured on television shows.

Kim’s restaurant was featured on ‘‘Live Show Today” on SBS earlier this year. In return for that, he had to give 10 million won ($9,090) to a broker and the broadcasting station. It took 9 million won for the restaurant to be featured on another show “Find! Delicious TV” on MBC, and all true-life incidents are described in the film. Kim shut down his restaurant after it was introduced by a couple of shows.

According to the documentary, food shows are no more real than television dramas or comedies. People are hired to sit down and show two thumbs up when asked how the food is. Creative brokers even come up with menu items like samgyeopsal, or pork belly, with caviar to impress broadcasting stations.

After the documentary was shown, broadcasting stations hurried to deny the allegations in the film, such as the idea that restaurants pay to get featured.

“As far as I know, [Kim’s] restaurant was introduced by an agency and an official there took the money on his own,” said Kim Jung-kyu, chief producer at MBC’s “Find! Delicious TV.”

SBS recently held a meeting of high ranking officials and their conclusion was that “the SBS show fell into a trap” set by Kim.

“Under our rules, we can’t accept money from restaurants but the restaurant said it had a menu that showed off Cheongyang peppers. We were deceived,” said Park Du-sun, chief producer of “Live Show Today.”

Cheongyang peppers come from the Cheongyang, South Chungcheong region, and are famous for their fieriness.

Broadcasting stations are considering suing Kim.

“I’m ready to be sued because I think it’s better to bring this issue to court,” Kim said.

“The True-Taste Show” will be released sometime this month.


By Kang Hye-ran [so@joongang.co.kr]

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