BCTV garners second bronze Telly Award

By: Robin Ruehlen | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published June 19, 2013


BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Not only is Bloomfield Community Television’s “Soup! & Company” cooking series a hit with local residents, the judges of the Telly Awards think so, too.

Hosted by Bloomfield Township resident chef John Prepolec, “Chef Johnny Prep,” and directed by Steve Rota, “Soup! & Company” received a Bronze Award at the 34th annual Telly Awards for excellence and creativity in broadcasting. 

Since 1979, the Telly Awards have honored outstanding local, regional and cable TV commercials and programs. The “Soup! & Company” piece, titled “Pot Roast Sliders and Onion Soup,” was among 11,000 entries submitted from across the nation.

Rota said he believes the program content, as well as the likeability of the host himself, are what make the show great.

“Chef Johnny knows what he’s talking about and he’s camera- friendly,” he said.

“Food has a big impact. A lot of people love cooking shows — it doesn’t matter the type of show or the food he’s preparing. If it’s anything food-related, people are interested.”

Prepolec, a self-described soup enthusiast and professional soup developer, has developed soup recipes for Zoup! Fresh Soup Co. and currently serves as its national spokesperson. He also founded the nonprofit Quality for Kids in 2011, and since has launched Veggie Wars, a middle school curriculum that aims to challenge students to consider the value of healthy eating.

“Our show is instructive. I try to teach people how to cook, and it’s a teaching style they can relate to and understand,” said Prepolec, who added that he was “quite thrilled” to get the award.

“Cooking is really pretty simple, and you have to approach it that way, with a good attitude and understand the basics. I try to include as much of that as I can.”

Prepolec said soup is a fantastic way to cram a number of vitamins and vegetables into one simple dish, as well as a way to get kids to eat healthy.

“It’s also a food that gives you a really broad palate. You can do everything from hot to cold soups, spicy and savory soups or even sweet soups. It takes you from culture to culture, all over the world, and I find it a very nice topic to do a show on.”

“Soup! & Company” is filmed twice a month at Prepolec’s home and is also available to watch on demand through the township’s website.

“The quality of the show is big. We put out a good product, and it’s nice looking. The food helps enhance that visual aspect of it,” Rota added.

A panel of more than 500 industry professionals and members of the Silver Telly Council consider each piece by its own creative distinction, rather than the entries competing against one another. Less than 10 percent of entries are chosen as winners of the Silver Telly, while approximately 25 percent are chosen as Bronze Telly winners.

This marks the second Bronze Telly Award for BCTV. In 2011, director/editor David Sommerfeld Jr. won the award for the program “287.”

Rota said the tremendous staff at BCTV makes it possible to produce high-quality programming — even with just three full-time employees.

“We all do the same amount of directing, and we have a number of series we do both in studio and on location. I wear many hats, and so do the rest of the staff,” he said.

“I also want to give credit to our camera guys who help out with production. It’s not just the director and the producer who make a good show.”

Executive director of the Telly Awards Linda Day said in a statement that the Telly Awards’ mission is to honor the very best in film and video.

“Bloomfield Community Television’s accomplishment illustrates their creativity, skill and dedication to their craft and serves as a testament to great film and video production,” she said.

To view past episodes of “Soup! & Company,” as well as a complete list of BCTV programs, visit www.bloomfieldtwp.org/VOD.