TLC’s new show ‘American Eats’ trains its cameras on Atlanta eateries


Lunchtime diners at the Highland Bakery encountered this
sign taped to the front door Tuesday: “Attention: We are taping a show for TLC
tentatively entitled ‘American Eats.’ If you do not want to be a part of this
program please do not walk into this area. By coming into this area, you are
granting permission to use your image.”

Inside, the joint was packed.

The brand-new show being shot around the city this week is
set to debut in March on the basic cable network best known for foisting “Jon
and Kate Plus 8” upon the nation.

In addition to Tuesday’s shoot on Highland Avenue, the film
crew has also rolled film at Ria’s Bluebird on Memorial Drive and is scheduled
to visit Relish and Holman & Finch this week.

While producers declined to discuss particulars of the
program as the crew zoomed in on diners delightedly digging into a heaping
order of free peanut butter French toast, we were able to pry a few details
about the national shoot.

The New York and San Francisco-based TV production company
(who also produce “Extreme Parenting” and “Disaster Detectives” for TLC) will
be shooting at more than 50 locations across the country for “American Eats.”

We’re told that the show’s researchers comb the Internet to
see what local foodies are blogging about their favorite hometown eateries and
then select the venues accordingly.

What did the New York crew discover about Atlanta?

We have a way with grits, new takes on classic Southern
dishes, a “vibrant food culture, an emphasis on home-grown quality and a
made-from-scratch uniqueness.”

Highland Bakery owner Stacey Eames, and cake designers Karen Portaleo and Joshua John Russell were trying to take the boom microphones in stride
as they worked.

“This is out first national TV shoot so it’s been exciting,”
Eames told Intel. “They wanted to shoot us interacting with customers,
preparing brunch favorites like the peanut butter French toast and how we
decorate our cakes.”

“American Eats” producers were also fascinated by the fact
that an incarnation of The Highland Bakery also existed around the turn of the
last century in the same building, with horse-drawn carriages delivering baked
goods to customers.

Eames hastened to add with a grin: “Same name but different owners.”