If you know the host of Happy Foods 242, you know that she loves food! Sasha Laurel Lightbourne says it’s something that started with her parents: “They believe in going out to eat and having a great experience so it came naturally to me.” With a background in journalism, it seems that a transition into the world of television hosting would be natural; however, turning dreams in to reality can be scary, and she says it took some convincing to finally make the leap.
Friends and family frequently encouraged her to combine her passions, but finally when a former coworker told her: “The hardest thing for you to do will be to start” it lit a fire in her. Since that person happened to be Jay Isaacs, of JKL Media, the two made arrangements to begin production on a small scale. She recalls,“YouTube was going to be our catalyst until we could go bigger.”
Now in its fourth season, Happy Foods 242 has moved from being solely webcast, and instead airs new episodes on Cable 12. The show is continually evolving and has received excellent feedback from viewers, and strong support from many in the entertainment industry. Notable guest-hosts have included musical talent like Dyson Knight, Wendi, and Nehemiah; comedian SawyerBoy; former ZNS TV Anchor Kendeno Knowles; and Cable12 Anchor Kyle Walkine (to name a few). The guest hosts help to set this food show apart from the rest. According to Sasha, “They all bring their unique flair to the show and are often very excited to be on”.
While the first season consisted mainly of Sasha’s tried and true favourites, such as Da Glass Kitchen, Van Breugels, and Gone Fishin’, the show has now broadened its reach. Often, she is approached by owners who are seeking the publicity (not to mention the fun of appearing on a television show); however when fans send her requests, she typically follows up. Social media is also huge, in terms of finding out about new and interesting eateries.
Sasha laments the difficulty in finding reliable sponsors in the local market, but is grateful for the businesses that have supported her thus far. Always an optimist, she says, “The show’s steps are ordered by God and just like the show has grown, the sponsorship will eventually come knocking just like people are knocking now to be on the show”. As a registered business with a valid TIN, there’s no limit to where the show could go! Eventually, Sasha hopes to employ more people, but is not currently hiring.
While Sasha derives some of her inspiration from U.S. shows such as Diners, Drive Ins and Dives (she likes that it’s also unscripted), it’s very important to her that the show maintains its Bahamian flair. “I love this country so much! That’s why the show is branded with 242. Bahamians are very talented, funny and entertaining and I think my show demonstrates all of that. I want to be as authentic and real as possible. What you see is what you get, with the guests, and myself, as the host”. She credits stylist Shakara Maycock for the stylish look she sports in every episode: “She’s awesome. I allow her to do whatever she wants”. If you’re wondering about her fabulous makeup, look no further than JKL partner Lucy Lu of Lucy Lu Beauty.
When asked what makes Happy Foods 242 stand out from the competition, Sasha gave a response that shows her humble spirit: “We don’t compete. We just have fun. We stay true to our name. The show is really fun to watch and to be on. You can’t help but laugh when watching it. As long as we stay true to who we are, our fans will always support us. It’s a whole experience, from beginning to end”.
The first episode of season 4 airs on Saturday, February 6 at 7:30 p.m. on Cable 12. You can catch reruns on Wednesdays at 8:00, directly following the news.