Food for Thought Celebrates 10th Anniversary - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/27/08

Food for Thought Celebrates 10th Anniversary

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It's a special month for NewsChannel 11's Food for Thought.

It was 10 years ago that we first followed the Lubbock Health Department inside local restaurants to see what's going on inside their kitchens. From mouse droppings to live rats, we've seen some pretty nasty stuff.

We've also followed restaurants that have a knack for perfection. NewsChannel 11's Christy Moreland takes a look back at where it all started. It was suppose to last just one month.

"I like it. I've always liked it since they started it," said Tommy's Burger owner Andy Haghobolos. He was one of the first in Lubbock to receive a Food for Thought plaque.

Ten years later, viewers are still turning in. "Every Thursday. That's a really big thing for customers," Billy Rizzo, owner of Stella's, says.

Customers want to know which Lubbock restaurants are keeping clean and which ones aren't.

"If it's a good one and you get the top performer, expect to be busy," Chef Matt Britton of La'Bowski's should know - he's been a top performer seven times.

In the past 10 years NewsChannel 11's Food for Thought has seen many faces.

It all started in November 1998 with Jeff Vaughn. When he moved on, the report took on a new reporter then KCBD News Director Jack Vincent. Then came Russell Haythorn, Mandy Lawrence, Darcy Tucker and Christy Moreland.

There have also been a few guest appearances. The faces of NewsChannel 11's Streets of Speed, Burt Mumolo and John Berry, brought humor to the health report.

We've also seen a change in graphics through the decade, but the goal is still the same.

"I think what it is, is a good medium between the citizens of Lubbock and the Health Department to help them understand what it is that restaurants do to comply in order to keep things healthy for them, and I don't think they realize the extent of the things you have to do as business owner or kitchen manager to ensure the safety and the health of your customers," Chef Matt said.

Food for Thought is also a way for restaurants to explain their critical violations.

"At one time we had several violations against us, and I did go on TV and walked around with Food for Thought and said, 'This is what happened.' You get to correct the situation," Rizzo said. "I've also had positive responses from my customers as well saying, 'You had so much courage to go on TV and explain yourself. It gave us a positive spin on a negative situation."

They also rejoice in their perfect score.

"We have been top performer before, and I've had so many people say, 'Oh we (saw) you on the air - it looks great, we're so happy you (that you're) a top performer," Rizzo said. "We love eating at Stella's."

"It feels good. I have a lot of them since you guys started this. It feels good," Haghobolos said. "It's good advertising for me, and I thank NewsChannel 11 for it."

"When I first opened this restaurant and this wall was blank, I said, 'This is where all my top performers are going to go'," Chef Matt said. "And there's all my top performers on the wall where I said that they would be."

Recipes
Tired of deciding what to cook for yet another meal? We can help! From the main course to the dessert, find out what's cooking with NewsChannel 11's Recipes!

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