Nelson Starr Premiers Local Food Show

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Nelson Starr Premiers Local Food Show
Elena Cala Buscarino
January 6, 2009

Local musician Nelson Starr made a video plea to the host of the Travel Channel’s “Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations” show last March, doing his best to tempt Bourdain here with Buffalo-centric food: Ted’s Hot Dogs, Anchor Bar Wings and Beef on Weck at Ulrich’s Tavern. Recently, on his own blog, Bourdain said that “some wintry day'” he may make a stop here in Buffalo.

Starr can’t say much beyond that the stop will be “soon,” completing a triad of events with Starr’s stamp on them. Starting this Friday, Starr’s own Buffalo-centric food show entitled, All Access Pass with Nelson Starr will be available online, and on Sunday, Starr will make a special musical appearance at 7 PM at Nietzsche’s, 248 Allen Street. There’s no telling who Starr’s special guest(s) might be that day.

Though some balked about Starr’s choice of food in the video, thinking he pandered to the lowest common denominator, Starr says, “It’s the stuff Buffalo has that others don’t. Everyone has pet things, but we had to make the video in 3 minutes or under, and it made sense.”

Although music is Starr’s life and livelihood–he has a studio, has written compositions for television, co-wrote and published a music book about playing bass and has been inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame–food plays large in his life too.

“I am a passionate foodie kind of guy,” Starr says. “It started about 10 to 15 years ago. I cook, but not professionally. I cook for my family every night, explore it–but not too seriously.” The inspiration is everywhere for Starr–“We have all of these great restaurants, and then there are these shows, like Iron Chef. I can learn from them, and my cooking has benefited.”

Aside from that, Starr has experience with film, and he decided to do All Access Pass in order to incorporate his talents with his favorite subject (next to music). Enter John Paget, an export from Washington State and award-winning filmmaker. Paget’s previous films include Almost Elvis and Alcatraz Reunion, for which Starr composed the original score.

“So we’re not these green guys who don’t know anything about holding up a camera. John’s a guy who has done great things in the indie film world. Films come highly respected in that community,” Starr said, “and I’ve been to a lot of film fests. All I can say is that his stuff is really competitive, and I believe in him as an artist. I’m proud and glad to be associated in collaboration with John.”

For Starr’s debut show, he explored two local favorites: Bistro Europa and Oliver’s. “I’m a fan of food shows, into food, and I have a fair amount of respect for peasant food, as Mike from Bistro Europa calls it. I like comfort food and regional cuisine. It has an element of expertise to it, and its reputation is humble, but it’s exquisite for what it is.”

Starr says he’s drawn to “Places doing something singular–things done with an extra bit of uncommon love. I like to see what they have to say to public. We’ll also do features on markets and stores. And we plan to focus on cool things. The show will be fun and not just thrown together in a dry, documentary style. It’s more modern like No Reservations. Compared to the original tapes for the travel channel, and the footage of the old pink, the new stuff will be longer, more expensive, and done at a much higher level of production.”

A large part of the production work went into the animated opening sequence of premier episode.

Only 10 minutes in its entirety, “It’s packed with good stuff,” Starr says.

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