Wadmalaw Island Hog Farmer Gives British Critic a Mouthful

When Giles Coren’s producers asked Tank Jackson to appear on “Million Dollar Critic,” they envisioned the Holy City Hogs farmer adding a splash of South Carolina color to their restaurant reality show. But Jackson ended up making the BBC America host the star of his own personal “Punk’d.”

BBC America’s “Million Dollar Critic” last month visited Charleston to shoot an episode for its first season. Although the show centers on local restaurants – Coren, The Times of London’s famously hotheaded reviewer, eats multiple meals and then declares which one he likes best – it’s apparently not worth crossing the pond unless there are guaranteed shots of stereotypical Southern culture. After initially asking to see Jackson’s pigs, the producers expressed interest in his guns.

“I could see where things were going,” Jackson says. “I may have fallen off the turnip truck, but I didn’t get run over: They wanted to make me into a backward hick.”

“I don’t need any help doing that,” he adds, laughing. Continue reading

“Million Dollar Critic” Finishes Charleston Restaurant Shoot

coren

Million Dollar Critic,” which is now wrapping up filming in Charleston, is a television show. But host Giles Coren, The Times of London’s restaurant critic since 1993, says the BBC America series is supposed to celebrate print journalism (a declaration that’s sure to win him the viewing loyalty of the few dozen or so full-time newspaper restaurant critics left in the U.S.)

“The idea is it puts reviewing back at the heart of the story,” Coren says of the series, which will air its Charleston episode in September.

In each show, Coren will dine at five restaurants, one of which he’ll choose to review; the conceit is Coren’s endorsement is worth $1 million dollars. The money shot is of the restaurant owners eagerly opening their hometown paper to discover whether their meal merited a write-up.

“In many ways, it’s about journalism,” Coren says.  “I have this dream of these kids watching because it’s a mouthy critic, then going out and seeing someone on a bike tossing a newspaper” – and presumably chasing after it. Continue reading