Gone are the days when the art of cookery was mastered only by girls. Come July 13, Cartoon Network will premiere its latest animated comedy series, Chowder. The series will show the misadventures of a young chef's apprenticeship in the magical city of Dakaarpur. The show is targeted at both adults and children.
Chowder is an original production of Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California. The show has been trans-created for the Indian audience.
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In a bid to understand children's lifestyle, Cartoon Network conducted a Chowder survey in March 2009 on www.cartoonnetwork.com. The survey aimed to explore kids' eating and cooking habits. Around 1,000 kids responded from all over India, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata and Bengaluru.
The overall verdict of the survey was that cooking is no longer a girl's domain. It revealed that 68 per cent of the respondents had cooked before and agreed that both boys and girls should learn cooking.
Also, North and South Indian food is most preferred by all. When quizzed about the craziest concoctions tasted by the Indian children, popular answers included spicy curry with powdered 'laddoo', yoghurt with chilli powder and 'dosa' with sugar cubes. Interestingly, 71 per cent of the respondents are boys.
Krishna Desai, director, programming, Turner International India, tells afaqs!, "Whilst not created as a cookery show, we hope that Chowder's unabated enthusiasm will encourage a healthy imagination towards food and inspire kids to get into the kitchen more. The Chowder survey findings reflect the views of India's next generation -- it is clear that both girls and boys believe in the importance of cooking and food."
With channels like Cartoon Network, Pogo, Nick, Disney, Hungama and Jetix claiming their respective share in the Indian kids' entertainment category, Desai talks about what kids want, apart from the regular visual treat offered by cartoon characters. "There should be a focus on character and storytelling. Also, with Chowder, we will showcase classic animation, alongside puppet animation. One advantage with any kids' channel is its ability to pull the adult viewers, who usually prefer to go for the humorous shows available in the category," says Desai.
For the record, 30 per cent of Cartoon Network's viewership comprises people in the age group of 15 years and above. Chowder will be aired every Monday-Thursday at 4:00 pm on the channel.