James Ehrlich - Executive Producer/Director
The Hippy Gourmet TV Show
the Executive Producer and Director of the Hippy Gourmet TV Show,
James Ehrlich owned and managed a successful multimedia company,
where he designed and developed interactive video games for worldwide
distribution through major media partners.
In addition to running his successful software
company, in 1994 James also became the President of General Media
Entertainment, a global video and television conglomerate, where
he executive produced all of their film, television, pay-per-view,
on-line and live entertainment properties and brands.
Prior to this,
James was the Director of Multimedia
for Digidesign, an Academy Award winning company that produced
digital audio products for film and television. James was also
the Vice President of Business Development for PLI, an entertainment
software and hardware company, Vice President of Marketing for
Gigacell Multimedia and Vice President of Game Design for Olduvai
Before moving out to the bay area of San Francisco,
James had created a successful monthly college magazine called
“YO Magazine” – which connected 70,000+ college
and university students around the metropolitan New York and New
Jersey area. James published this magazine while completing his
Bachelors degree in Film and Television from New York University.
In his early teens
and throughout his mid-20's,
James was a lighting designer, tour and road manager for such
famous musical recording artists as Tina Turner, David Crosby,
Joe Jackson, Squeeze, Aretha Franklin, The Grateful Dead and many,
many more. His creative work as an innovative lighting designer
and lighting director enabled him to travel around the world,
producing and managing mega-arena concerts at a very young age.
James had gotten to this level of the music industry
by working underage in local cabarets and theatres in the late
1970’s and early 1980’s, where he provided club owners
with college-aged laborers who would load equipment in and out
of the clubs for free tickets to shows and sufficient free beer
James also had a database of local New York talented musicians
and bands that he successfully bartered their musical instruments
and equipment to club and theatre owners, in exchange for them
hiring these artists to then ‘open’ shows for famous
It was during this time that James learned the
art of lighting design and direction, creating and building his
own lighting systems for major rock and roll clubs in the New
York area, and then being asked to run these systems for famous
artists when they played these halls.
After the performances of many of these artists,
James was often asked to join the groups on their local, regional,
national and international tours, where he also frequently took
on the role of tour and road managing all aspects of the band’s
On the birth of MTV
in 1980, James saw the writing
on the wall for the music industry, and that everything was heading
toward music videos and TV. Thus he began his journey and education
on film and television production.
As a child, James was an actor and model who
at the age of nine was studying at the Lee Strassburg Theatre
Institute in Manhattan and was successfully landing parts in TV
commercials and print ads.
It was at this young age that James met Bruce
Brennan, who was a close friend of his eldest brother’s
growing up on Long Island, New York.
James can recall a band of young hippies coming
to his parent’s house to party and jam on their instruments,
and remembers how Bruce would wander through his parent’s
garden pointing out the best places to put fruit and vegetable
Fast forward to
1996, when James had reconnected
with Bruce in San Francisco, after James had moved from the east
coast several years earlier. One day, while walking through Bruce
and Pam’s backyard garden at their restored Victorian home
in the Haight-Ashbury- James came upon the idea to film a pilot
for a TV cooking show called “The Hippy Gourmet.”
The first pilot was a lark, filmed on grainy
high-8 video and edited through one of the early Apple Macintosh
computers that could handle video editing. Using reggae and Jam
Band music tracks, James cut together the very first thirty-minute
episode of The Hippy Gourmet.
In 2001, armed with
a new Sony digital 3-chip camera that James' then girlfriend Lena
had bought for him, and Apple’s new Mac G4 with Final Cut
Pro editing software, James and Bruce began filming weekly shows
for distribution to local public access stations in and around
Starting first with San Francisco public access
cable and then branching out to Marin, Novato, Berkeley, Palo
Alto, Los Gatos and twenty other access stations within driving
range, The Hippy Gourmet had its first regional broadcast schedule
by the spring of 2002.
By 2003, The Hippy
Gourmet had spread to over 54 other access stations around the
country, from Vermont to St. Louis and other locations coast to
coast. Lena Blanc, James' girlfriend and also co-producer
of the Hippy Gourmet (as well as on camera talent and Hippie-chick
“Lena”), assumed the role of Web Mistress, creating
the incredibly robust and colorful website known as HippyGourmet.com!
2003 also saw the first global travels of the
Hippy Gourmet on an extended cruise and tour of the Amazon Rain
Forests of Brazil, including stopovers to Dominica, St. Barts,
French Guiana and more!
In 2004, the burgeoning success of the Hippy
Gourmet TV Show brought on the coveted public television station
support from KRCB in Rohnert Park, California, making the series
available for other PBS stations nationally.
Thus, starting in the fall of 2004, The Hippy
Gourmet began airing in over 110 public television stations around
the country, from Florida to Texas, New Hampshire and Los Angeles,
even reaching televisions in Canada and Mexico!
2004 brought The Hippy Gourmet TV Show on an
extensive tour of Amsterdam, Den Hague and Tuscany, capturing
the sights, sounds and recipes of guest chefs in Europe, and an
amazing feature on Swiss Airlines and Gate Gourmet!
also brought national press exposure to The Hippy Gourmet, when
James Ehrlich appeared on National Public Radio’s ‘Talk
of the Nation’ with Neil Conan, to talk about The Hippy
Gourmet’s success utilizing Apple Macintosh computers -
as part of the 20th anniversary of the Apple Mac.
Press and media attention from around the world came thereafter,
when Apple did a series of articles on the Hippy Gourmet for their
worldwide ‘Pro-Video’ and ‘QuickTime’
TV News, television magazine shows, newspapers
and journals of all sizes and shapes, including the emerging ‘Blogosphere’
were all a buzz about The Hippy Gourmet.
The winter of 2005
brought the Hippy Gourmet
to Hawaii on a special tour of Maui, Kauai and Oahu. Episodes
included features on organic farms and restaurants, people living
100% off the grid, gorgeous nature preserves and a feature on
Hawaiian Airlines, amongst many others.
In the spring of 2005, Google Video approached
James Ehrlich wanting to partner with The Hippy Gourmet to encode
and release selected episodes via Google Video. Since releasing
over 35, full-length episodes on Google, The Hippy Gourmet TV
Show and HippyGourmet.com website have increased its ratings by
nearly 2.2 million viewers a week.
Currently, The Hippy
Gourmet reaches over 6 million homes a week around the U.S. and
is in discussions with major cable and satellite companies to
carry the show globally.
In the summer of 2005, The Hippy Gourmet returned
to Europe, featuring the great spas of Italy! Traveling for over
37 days from Pisa, to Venice and all over Sardinia, The Hippy
Gourmet discovered all of the most beautiful and exotic health
spas and mineral baths, as well as custom spa foods that Italy
has to offer.
This Euro Tour also included a special feature
on Lufthansa Airlines, with a very special episode highlighting
Lufthansa and LSG Sky Chefs that was later included into Lufthansa’s
in-flight entertainment system.
The Hippy Gourmet Euro Tour ’05 also marked
the beginning of the series being filmed in high-definition, adding
yet another several notches of production quality and broadcast
richness to the series.
The Hippy Gourmet plans the following tours for
June, 2006 - Vancouver, British Columbia – Canada
July, 2006 – Rome and Sicily – Italy
September/October, 2006 – Australia/New Zealand
Trips to Africa (Kenya and South Africa), Brazil
(Rio), Thailand, India, China and Nepal are also in the works