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Six Beers & the Truth

Eric Zurcher Talks Eats After Some Drinks



Having seen the spirits of New Orleans loosen even the tightest of tongues, your author was inspired to begin interviewing interesting people after a few libations. 'Six Beers and the Truth' is a series wherein the interviewee has enjoyed six beers before giving the interview. While some are emotional, some are funny and some are shocking...they are all candid and honest. Please enjoy 'Six Beers and The Truth with Eric Zurcher.

 

Eric Zurcher is the host of the Emmy winning show Devour Power on WGNO.  Funny and interesting, his interview was conducted over crawfish (naturally)!

 

Where is your Emmy?

It's in the house. My wife picked a real nice spot for it where everyone that comes in our house can see it.  I'll break it out as well and sit in the recliner with it! I'm still really surprised that it's real and it has my name on it.  

 

What made you move to New Orleans?

Youngstown is home to me to me but I got tired of snow and never wanted to see it again. It was time to move south!

 

You started out behind the camera. What is the difference of being in front of the camera now?

It's a different skill set. When I'm doing development or I'm driving to the location, I'm thinking ‘What one-liner can I use to punch up the interview? What can I do to sell the food that I'm showing off in that segment?’

 

As a photographer it's all about consistency. Ii'm worried about repetition.  ‘Did I do good on my wipeout? Did I frame that shot right? Did I let the talent move in the right direction?’

 

The photography is a lot more technical than the talent part but they are both really challenging in their own way.

 

How did you get from behind the camera to become talent?

To be honest, I work for WGNO in New Orleans. We were a straight news station till about 2010, when we implemented the News with a Twist formula.  We kind of threw a lot of things out the window. We took the rules in the boundaries and push them way out which is very interesting yet frightening at the same time. I honestly don't think I would be in front of the camera if it wasn't for our general manager John Cruz at the station. It was very frightening but has been very rewarding the last year and a half.

 

Whose idea was Devour Power?

Devour Power was a running joke in the news room for about a year with myself and some producers at the station. We used to always talk about fast food and no matter what food we talked about I had a opinion on it.

 

So we joked about doing a show called Devour Power. One day during sweeps they said give us some crazy sweep ideas for February. The producers pitched it and I was shocked when they came to me saying let's do it! I made a zillion excuses of why they should rethink this, but we did it. It's been three years it's been really, really interesting.

 

Who's your biggest critic?

I don’t always get an enormous amount of feedback from the station. Sometimes I feel like I'm flying blind. The person I trust the most, who would honestly say, “I wish you wouldn't of done that you…you might want to try this next time,” is my wife. She is not a TV person but she's very involved and has her opinions. I trust them a lot more than I trust my own opinion.

 

My guess is your go-to food would probably be a hamburger because the first ten episodes were about burgers! But what is your go-to food?

It's so funny you say that!  I'm always discovering stuff coming across new places. When I lived in Ohio and I went out to dinner, I was a steak and a prime rib guy. New Orleans has changed that! I haven't eaten prime rib in probably five years. Now I cannot get past eating seafood in this town. Crawfish, shrimp and crab! You have so much awesome fresh seafood that I can't bring myself to order beef or chicken. 

 

 How do you decide on the restaurants you use on Devour Power?

It's really organic. I hear about places friends neighbors coworkers. If I hear something that I think is a great story or it's off the beaten path I love those.  That's your hook. That's what gets people. 

 

What would you do if the Food Network called wanting to take Devour Power on the road?

Lay out the contract let's sign it let's go let's get after it!  I would do it in a minute.

 

What restaurant, if any, did you feel you had an obligation to put on the show?

K-Paul's. There's people that will probably say there are finer restaurants than K-Paul's. But, Paul Prudhomme invented the celebrity chef. I've always been a firm believer that you salute the ones that have paved the way. The pioneers. So I had to do K-Paul's.

 

Who is the next celebrity chef in New Orleans?

Rick Tramonto at Revolution .

 

Have you gained any weight doing all these episodes of Devour Power?

Yes! I have gained a little weight. I have always been a big guy, but yes I've gained some weight. We love to eat down here in New Orleans and I'm no different than anyone else!

 

What do you think about the food challenges that you have done already?

I did a Bobby Hebert hamburger challenge. I almost had a reversal of fortune on that one! The time limit got me on that one too…and I only had one bite left. Big Breakfast Challenge at City Diner got me in a bad way. I'm 2 for 4 on the challenges but I guess that’s still batting 500!  We have to space them out because the take a toll on you.

 

In case someone has been living under a rock and missed your show, where can they see it and when?

Devour Power airs every Monday on WGNO at 5:00 PM and is on WGNO.com.  We are looking to do 50 segments this year, so it’s something you don’t want to miss!

          

Brad Bohannan is a New Orleans entrepreneur.  He owns a music publishing company, co-host a songwriting show, and hosts several music events a year. He also owns Spirits On Bourbon and Turtle Bay on Decatur. Brad can be reached at bohannanbrad@yahoo.com

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