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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Q&A: Meet the world's first food porn star Larry Caldwell

Fonduely Yours

Posted by Kinsey Gidick on Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 3:00 PM

Larry Caldwell says food must be experienced — felt, touched, sensed, and smelled - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Larry Caldwell says food must be experienced — felt, touched, sensed, and smelled

The scene opens to the familiar sounds of a sax spouting soft '70s jazz. Our hero Larry Caldwell (actor Charles Grantham) appears. Clad in a Hawaiian shirt, tufts of chest hair emerging from his collar like an untamed cobra, he speaks. "Fondue," he says, the words echoing off the bristles of his Magnum P.I. mustache. The sax builds, the camera zooms in, and there it is: one perfectly forked wedge of bread emerging from a vat of Jarlsberg, savory, sticky, and, like the film, seductively cheesy. This is food porn and Caldwell is its star. To learn more about the man, the mystery, and his unrequited love of cured meats, City Paper caught up with Caldwell on the phone in advance of his appearance at the Charleston Food Film Festival's Food Porn Party:

City Paper: So Larry, where are you from?

Larry Caldwell: You know like every great citizen of America, I like to think of myself as being fom everywhere. But I was born in Westchester, N.Y. My mom has been my light and my upbringer, and my dad was a huge inspiration, teaching me about hanging out and how to be sexy.

CP: What is it about food that you find so sensual?

LC: Well, I want to say that it's obvious why food is so sensual. When people watch food porn and close-up pictures of beautiful food it sets off the same parts of your brain as real pornography. If you have all these shots of gorgeous food and then you add, well, me, it makes for an unbelievable experience.

CP: You are a unique guy with a particular look. Tell me about that.

LC: You mean my mustache and Hawaiian shirts? Well, I've always looked up to real men. There's a lot of guys out there today who think the world's all about being hairless and wearing skinny jeans. I believe the men of America need to eat meat and be sexy. That's something that everyone responds to. And they look up to me. They say, "Wow, look at this guy and his amazing life." I like to think I'm an inspiration.

CP: With four food porn shorts under your, erm, belt, I guess you could say you are, if not an inspiration, a pioneer.

LC: That's right. I've made four short films and we're working on a few more. My upcoming film, Balls will focus on arancini balls, meatballs ... and I'm also working on probably the greatest invention of all time, The Awesome Party Caravan. It will have a wood-burning oven, karaoke machine, barbecue smoker for whole hog roasting, a jockey box for dispensing draft beer, and, of course, a stripper pole. I'm in the process of building it right now and making a documentary about this great invention. Hopefully next year it will be ready. Thomas Edison had to make thousands of inventions before he got his right, so it might take a while.

CP: Tell me, as a food connoisseur, what's the sexiest food ever?

LC: Oh my, I think it's about what you do with the food and less about the specific item. There's chocolate. There's cream. But it's more about how you eat it. If you really want to experience food, you can't just experience through your mouth, you have to feel it, touch it, sense it, smell it. That's how you do.

CP: Like when you rubbed a salami on your face in Fondue?

LC: Exactly.

CP: What can Food Film Fest guests expect of your appearance at the Food Porn Party?

LC: There's gonna be fresh fondue in honor of my film. I'll be available for photos, and if the guests want to be hand fed, I'll do that too.

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