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I love food. I love videogames. Therefore, I love food from videogames.
Last December, when Jimmy Wong and Ashley Adams kicked off a new cooking show called Feast of Fiction, I nearly flipped out. Each episode is inspired by an iconic food or drink from a popular book, movie, TV program, or videogame, so while the show is not entirely focused on games, it demonstrates a genuine love and passion for the source material, no matter what it may be. There have been other online recipe sites or shows that cover similar territory, but the natural chemistry between Jimmy and Ashley, not to mention their goofball antics, makes FoF a treat to watch week in and week out.
Jimmy, the brother of special effects guru Freddie Wong, can currently be seen hamming it up as Ted Wong on the web series Video Game High School. Meanwhile, Ashley is ready to launch her own cooking show, How to Bake It in Hollywood. Each brings a special talent to the table, so I decided to have a nice long Skype chat with the silly yet sweet duo to discuss those talents as well as just how much of a wild ride Feast of Fiction has been thus far.
How exactly did you decide to put Feast of Fiction together?
Ashley Adams: That's a Jimmy question. He's the brainchild.
Jimmy Wong: Mmhmm! I had the idea brewing in my head after my brother and I talked about YouTube shows that needed to exist.
A: I'm the innocent bystander.
J: Not so innocent! You're the main reason we've made so many delicious cakes and pastries!
You have an idea for a cooking show, but you don't know how to cook. Off to a great start!
J: Ha ha ha!
A: I'm what you consider at the right place at the right time.
Get someone who knows. Enter Ashley.
J: It might've been a "half-baked" idea. GET IT!?
A: Ba dum dum ching!
J: Well, I was desperately looking for a co-host, and on a relaxing trip to Disneyland, I perchance [happened] upon Ashley, who told me she really loved making crazy cakes. And in my short list of the first few videos we had to make, "Minecraft Cake" was a definite, huge must-do that I had absolutely no idea how to create. Ashley fit into the equation perfectly.
So you two didn't know each other prior to the Disney meetup?
A: Did not know each other, nope.
How long ago was that?
A: December 2 [of 2011].
J: Whoa! Good memory! I would've guessed like September. I'm bad with time. It was definitely a kick-butt way to meet each other. Disneyland is a magical place, they say.
A: LOVED EVERY MOMENT OF IT! And loving every moment of the result of it! Cheesy but TRUF.
J: You know me, I love cheese! From [Video Game High School] to Feast of Fiction, I'm all over that cheese.
Feast of Fiction caught my attention because of the videogame angle early on. I've seen a few sites here and there that collect videogame-themed recipes, like Gourmet Gaming. Any inspiration drawn from any of those?
A: Yeah, we're familiar with that site.
J: Ooh, indeed. When I was coming up with a name for the show, "Gourmet Gaming" was one that immediately popped for me since it's such a simple and effective name. Unfortunately, it does limit itself to "gaming" which isn't something we wanted to do. Super duper fact: I originally wanted to call it "The Fiction Kitchen," but the name was taken.
The original idea was to be completely game-focused?
J: Nah, the original idea was always to hit every fictional property we could. Our first few videos run the gamut of fictional properties -- a book, a videogame, a computer game. It really varies a bunch!
Do you find that adapting foodstuffs from a particular medium is easier or more difficult than those from another? Like, are game meals harder to make than movie meals?
J: I find it personally the easiest when the full recipe is given to us ("Portal Cake"), 'cuz I'm lazy.
But when there is no recipe...
J: Then when it's based off of a real food item it's easy! If there is no recipe, it becomes an epic Googling Quest.
A: At times we've found a couple of recipes we've liked and combined them / adjusted them to our tastes, trying to make it unique while sticking to the protocol of the image of the feast.
J: And sometimes the recipes are absurdly simple, so the challenge isn't in making it but finding a way to make the episode interesting.
Like the "Sandvich"!
J: The dreaded Sandvich!
A: So interesting to me!
J: We found out with that recipe that people really hold our show to a higher standard of work sometimes. Ha ha ha!
A: The dreaded Sandvich = so many recommendations and so many haters at the same time.
J: But then we do a super simple episode like "Onigiri," and the charm of having my crazy awesome parents [on the show] quiets any discord.
A: I mean, EVERYONE'S FAVE EPISODE!
J: Dude, mine too! I found myself cracking up so many times just editing it! Couldn't stop smiling.
That's it. Next episode, make PB&Js and bring your parents along.
J: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Tony, that might just work!
Ever heard of the Sinners Sandwich?
J: I HAVE, and my friend Brett asks me to make it almost every week.
There are so many ways you could approach it. It's very non-specific in the game. With a food item so open-ended, that's when you make multiple variations, like you did with "Butterbeer," right?
A: Aww, that was fun!
J: Indeed! Sometimes variation is nice, but also requires more time on our behalf to film and make it.
So... I'm expecting no less than ten variations of the Sinners Sandwich for the next episode.
J: By the way, Ashley, Sinners Sandwich is this random sandwich from this equally crazy and random game called Deadly Premonition, which is a game that came out [in 2010] but feels like a videogame straight out of the '90s. Had huge cult fan appeal.
It's turkey, jam, and cereal.
A: CEREAL!? What kind of cereal?
J: Ha ha ha! Unfortunately though with something like that, the number of people that would know what it's from is relatively low, but I guarantee the people that DID know would absolutely freak out. And I mean it, freak the eff out, if we made it.
A: P.S. Thanks for the game aside!
Speaking of which, Jimmy is the game buff while Ashley is along for the ride?
J: Indeed, one of the people who helps out every week -- Matt Arnold -- and I discussed a lot about what kind of host dynamic would be best for the show. I think we played around a little with the Jimmy = game buff and Ashley = cooking buff a little bit, but ultimately, the current host dynamic we have is just Jimmy = total goof / younger brother and Ashley = cooking buff / patient friend.
How much have you corrupted her, Jimmy?
J: I dunno! How much did I corrupt you, Ashley?
A: I mean, I am learning A LOT and really enjoying it! A TON of my friends are gamer nerds, and now I have more to contribute in conversations!
It wasn't a thing that interested you much in the past, though?
A: I have always PLAYED videogames growing up, ya know... had all the gaming systems throughout the years... I think I just "grew out" of it. And I love this connection back to my childhood that I've reinvented.
You just weren't as emotionally invested as the other two guys chatting right now.
A: Not in that aspect. But I love books and movies, so that part I can relate to. I have an English degree, so I've always been connected to literature.
I assume you alternate between fan requests and stuff you've come up with.
J: More recently, we've just been solely doing fan requests since there's so much demand for a certain few items, plus it helps us grow our user base the fastest.
Is there a particular game, movie, show, or whatever that either of you are excited to tackle?
A: Yes. I really, really, really, really want to revisit my childhood in its entirety and do something from the Oregon Trail. Who isn't interested in dysentery? And I'm pumped to do Alice in Wonderland.
Bison meat and LSD. Good combo.
J: Oh YES! Alice in Wonderland is something we've talked about from day 1. I want to do something really clever with the "Drink Me" potions.
And you, Jimmy?
J: Dude, I really wanna do Blue Milk from Star Wars. Also a feast from the Redwall series.
A: Yes, yes, I've heard you talk about those.
Blue Milk? What would you add to it?
J & A: Blue food coloring!
J: It may be super simple, but it's Star Wars.
A: No wonder why he wants to do it! It's like the EASIEST recipe!
Right. No cooking skills.
J: Ha ha ha!
How about from a game?
J: Hmmmm... there's this Pumpkin Soup that's in The Legend of Zelda that I've always been interested in, most recently made a pretty significant appearance in Skyward Sword.
Oh yeah! There was also one in Twilight Princess that had fish in it in addition to pumpkin.
A: Yeah! Anything from The Legend of Zelda would be fun again!
J: Oh yes! Maybe we'll do a bunch of soups from Zelda -- a lot of games have had brothy potions in 'em.
A: We're also talking about a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle feast up and coming soon, which was like me and my brother's fave game to play together.
J: I'm gonna dress up as Shredder!
A: We HAVE to find a yellow coat if I'm gonna be April O'Neil!
How has Feast of Fiction helped your individual careers?
J: It's definitely been a ton of fun for me and has opened a lot of doors in terms of people knowing who I am and what my brand is. It's been a ton of learning in terms of building a brand and creating a weekly show based off of a format. Before, I was just doing music on YouTube, and that really did have crazy variations from day to day.
A: Oh man, I could go on and on all day on this question! The reader's digest version is this: I moved to LA to pursue my career as a TV personality and took baby steps towards that goal until I met Wimmy Jong.
A: Now I still wonder how I'm at the place I'm at and PINCH myself every day when I think of Feast of Fiction. I couldn't be more blessed to get to be myself, having fun with my friend and telling a story. That's my ultimate goal, to be on camera and tell a story.
J: I really like that goal. I feel like that's so true for anyone acting, being a TV personality or a host or anything on screen. It's all about conveying a story.
A: I didn't know that my brand was gonna be in the kitchen, but it's evolved into what looks like something I'll be pursuing for a while.
J: You've got a great personality for any kind of hosting, Washley Wadams!
Oh, get a room.
J: Ha ha ha! Tons of comments about that all the time!
Ashley, will you be doing How to Bake it in Hollywood in conjunction with FoF? No conflict problems at all?
J: As long as you don't get too busy, my deary.
A: Absolutely, still doing it until I get kicked off the show, man!
J: That'll be a very special episode!
A: HA HA HA HA HA! If HTBIIH gets picked up, it'll be very exciting because I will be able to quit one of my service industry jobs! Then I will have way more time to devote to FoF and HTBIIH!
J: It sounds like you're blowing a raspberry when you say "HTBIIH."
A: HA HA HA HA HA! That shit is way too long to type!
And Jimmy, what's your next big project now that VGHS is wrapped up?
J & A: Season 2!!!!!
J: It's definitely happening, but I'm not sure if we can divulge when or where yet. Right now, I'm definitely keeping up with FoF and my music channel. [I] have a couple of auditions I'm waiting to hear back from, but otherwise, the only guaranteed acting work I have ahead of me is VGHS Season 2, which I am beyond excited about. By the way, I need to get KitchenAid or Cuisinart to sponsor FoF already.
A: Uhhh, yeah, you do! We need to start raking in the big bucks!
J: Indeed! Dolla bills, y'all!
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