HappyFoods242 premiered its 11th season with 10 episodes, which Sasha Lightbourne, show creator and host, said was an awesome season to film and made for must-watch television. She encourages people to watch to see what will be featured.
“We never let the ‘cat out of the bag,’” she said when asked about what would be featured this season. “You have to watch the entire season. A lot of new episodes … We do have a reunion and visit one of our beautiful Family Islands.”
The 11th season premiere will take place on Saturday, October 5 at 7 p.m. on OurTV (channel 212).
“You just have to tune in every Saturday,” said Lightbourne.
And she’s excited for the show that she says has grown by leaps and bounds since it initially began as a web show in October 2014, allowing restauranteurs and people in the culinary world an outlet to show all they have to offer, whether it be food, pastries or even bartending, and launched on YouTube where the HappyFoods242 channel still remains. It then did a short stint on JCN before transitioning to OurTV for its fourth season. It has been on OurTV ever since.
Eleven seasons in, she said the audio production, video production as well as the overall experience of the show have improved over the course of the previous seasons.
“Obviously as we grew more people started to trust our brand, thinking we could add to their marketing strategy. In many cases, many didn’t even have a marketing strategy so HappyFoods242 is a great addition for them to showcase their offerings. Every season, without sounding too cliché, gets better and better.”
And she says the viewing audience is the true winner.
“They get to be exposed to eateries, pastry chefs, bartenders, restaurants, awesome holes in the wall – sometimes in many cases that they haven’t been exposed to before. It’s a culinary journey. I often say on the show I wish we had ‘smell-o-vision’ so fans can experience what I experience as the host. And the audience is not just local, many tourists love the show and use it to map out which places they will go to when they visit The Bahamas,” she said.
As for the host/creator herself, she has a love for food that she says definitely came from her father, Michael Lightbourne. “He loves food. Special occasions were always celebrated by you picking out which restaurant you wanted to go to.”
But her mom, Virgil Lightbourne, hasn’t been left out of the mix. Lightbourne gives her credit for her love for food as well. “She’s from Andros – and if you know anything about Andros women, you know they can cook,” she said.
Over the 11 years of her show, Lightbourne said she’s also seen a refinement of her palate, but that she’s always willing to go either down home or upscale, depending on how she’s feeling.
“Some days I want a cracked conch – and some days I want a lobster salad from Café Matisse. It just depends on the day. I also will try anything once, and love to experience food from different cultures.”
With that said, the most amazing thing she’s ever eaten, she said, happened recently when she dined on a porterhouse steak with grilled scallops and mashed potatoes at a Baha Mar restaurant.
“It was melt-in-your-mouth good. It was divine,” she said. “We honestly have good places to eat in The Bahamas – and not just here in New Providence, but throughout the country, and that’s why my show is so important, and that’s why we still put the show on YouTube. YouTube reaches all spheres of the world. We have a lot to offer in terms of culinary expression. We are more than sun, sand and sea.”
And she’s had many experiences, but like true foodies, there are a few that haven’t hit the mark for her. The one that stood out for her took place at a shack she went to in search of some down home, real Bahamian breakfast.
“It was ages awful,” she said. “It was the worst, no-flavor tuna and grits I ever had.”
And she says true fans of the show know when she loves something, when she likes something and when she’s just “shooting the breeze”.
The HappyFoods242 show host and creator said she also engages in a lot of mystery eating where she dons a hoodie or baseball cap, or sends people to get food for her, to try to decide if the restaurant has potential to be on her show.