The ThinkFoodGroup, the restaurant and culinary company owned by prestigious chef José Andrés, has inked a collaboration deal with European film and TV conglom Mediapro to develop and co-produce TV projects.
The agreement will fuse the U.S.-Spanish chef’s calling for storytelling with Mediapro’s know-how in the audiovisual sector, focusing not only on food but well beyond, with a strong international appeal.
José Andrés’ The ThinkFoodGroup owns 27 restaurants distributed throughout the U.S. and Mexico. A two Michelin-star chef, Andrés has also won four Bib Gourmands awards. In 2012 he was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine and received the 2015 National Humanities Medal.
“My team and I tell stories in our restaurants and TV allows us to reach so many more people. Mediapro is the perfect partner to help me and my team bring more of these stories to life, both food-focused and beyond, with their international reach and amazing resources,” said José Andrés.
To date, Andrés has developed and starred in three acclaimed shows, starting with three seasons of the Spanish cooking program “Vamos a Cocinar,” broadcast on Spain’s TVE from 2005 to 2007. He then brought Spanish cooking to America with the PBS show “Made in Spain,” which ran for two seasons beginning in 2008, and also worked to showcase the beauty and cuisine of Haiti with his documentary program “Undiscovered Haiti,” a co-production with National Geographic aired on PBS in 2015.
“Through TV, I am able to reach more people than those who come into my restaurants – I always say that as chefs we cannot just feed the few, we must feed the many. And that is not just with food!”
He went on: “It is also information, education, awareness. With ‘Undiscovered Haiti’ I was able to show an unseen side –the people, the culture, the food – of an absolutely beautiful country to the rest of the world. This is the power of TV.”
“What I am working on with Mediapro is definitely ‘José 2.0’ – it will go beyond food TV and present who I am today, the things I am passionate about and the stories I want to tell, many of which focus around food but others that don’t,” added.
“The fusion of José Andrés’ talent with our creative team is going to allow us to generate extraordinary projects and ideas that will show the transforming power of food and cooking,” said Mediapro head of content, Javier Méndez.
Move marks a further step by Mediapro into upscale production of entertainment content, putting special emphasis on development and international partnerships, teaming Méndez with company’s director of international contents, Laura Fernández Espeso, and “Homeland”’s Ran Tellem, Mediapro’s head of international development.
On the non-scripted side, Mediapro has recently partnered with Spanish singer-songwriter Alejandro Sanz and producer Javier Limón on original primetime entertainment format “Son of Songs.”
In 2013, Mediapro already produced documentary “El Somni,” showing the creative process from start to finish of more than 40 artists who took part in 12-course meal through music and opera with the dishes created by top-echelon and groundbreaking Catalan chefs, the Roca brothers.
With 36 offices in four continents, Mediapro is also rapidly expanding its international presence in high-end drama, with the production of HBO’s “The Young Pope” as it develops one-by-one project or corporate alliances with companies such as Argentina’s Oficina Burman, DirectTV Latin America and Finnish pubcaster YLE.