Eat Great Food Festival goes virtual

Get ready for some eye candy — the Eat Great Food Festival has launched a digital video series.

In the wake of the canceled summer events, the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational created this series, modeling it off “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” on Food Network. The goal? To celebrate the community.

Episode 1 features Summit Smokehouse in Mt. Pleasant. Host Chris Keefer — an energetic foodie, wine enthusiastic, and self-proclaimed “ginger” — grants viewers an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look in the kitchen. In this 9-minute episode, executive chef Tim Drexler prepares a brisket.

“These folks typically are so behind the scenes that you really don't have the opportunity to connect with them on a personal level,” says Alexandra Maga, event manager for the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. “To have that opportunity to put them in the spotlight has been a really unique and a really rewarding experience for us.”

Each episode takes a deep dive into a local restaurant. Owners and staff share how they got started, what their passions are, and the unique items they offer. Through this video format, Maga hopes to drive local business growth and enrich the region by showcasing local culinary talent.

“It's all about being able to increase awareness and visibility of some of these restaurants,” says Maga. “[…] To be able to put them on a platform, really make them celebrities, [and] highlight their work — that is what we're most excited and most proud of with this whole project.”

The next episode will feature Midland Brewing Company and their new chef, Greg Manley, and brewing master Kyle Sanborn. Stay tuned on Nov. 2 for a sneak peek at their new Korean chicken sandwich and their 2019 tournament beer, the Jenny raspberry sour. Future episodes will include Old City Hall in Bay City and Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth.

Episodes can be viewed on either the Eat Great Food Festival YouTube channel or the Facebook page, @EatGreatFestival. The series is made possible through a partnership with Be Alive Media who manages the hosting, editing, and production of the videos.