John Waters and Baron Ambrosia go tete-a-tete

John Waters and Baron Ambrosia go tete-a-tete (Courtesy of the Cooking Channel / June 22, 2012)

John Waters, and a few familiar Baltimore eating spots, guest-star on Friday night's episode of "The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia"

"The Stomach Rumble of Baltimore, MD" airs at 10 p.m. on the Cooking Channel, which has provided this   description:

Ah, to be young and in love!  Baron and his best girl, Shanaye, couldn’t be happier… until Shanaye’s jealous ex-boyfriend JW gets out of jail. Baron is oblivious to the threat, engrossed in Ethiopian specialties and Korean soup, but JW is out for blood and finally catches up to the lovebirds as they enjoy BBQ Bill’s infamous ribs. BBQ Bill sets up a game of crab roulette, with Baron and JW going head to head in a deadly crab-filled battle for the love of Shanaye.

Hunnh?

Now it helps to know that Baron Ambrosia is the alter ego of the New York-based filmmaker Justin Fornal. But is this a food show or a independent short film? Where does the food come in? What is crab roulette. I spoke with Baron Ambrosia, as he asks to be called, who really tried to help me understand what the heck any of this meant.

"It's culinary journalism meets short-form cinema," said Ambrosia. "It could be romance, mystery. Whatever it is, you’ll be meeting real people." This hybrid, which features his adventures set in real restaurants, markets and chef's homes, originated as a podcast and then grew into "Bronx Flavor," a show on Bronx public access television that earned him a New York Emmy Award, along with some attention outside his own borough.

The Balimore episode, the fourth in the premiere season of "The Culinary Adventures of Baron Ambrosia," takes place in some familiar Baltimore haunts, some of which he got to know a few years back, when he was making weekly visits to Baltimore. The owners and staff of the restaurants, as always, play parts in the story.

"They may be singing, dancing, in a fist-food or fight scene," said Ambrosia, who gets more people to cooperate than you'd think. "I’m a celebrator. I don’t have time to show anything negative," Ambrosia says. "These are people’s businesses. We only show the best of the best."  

And how he Ambrosia get John Waters to join in the fun? He asked him.

"We reached out to him. And he was such a gentleman about it, Ambrosia said. It exceeded my expectations about how generous he was. It was so great to have him spinning out lines I’d written for him."