GTV’s “Snacking With Santo” (Geneva’s Very Own Food Critic)


Alexandria Miller, Staff Writer

“Snacking With Santo”: the food-critiquing segment that airs almost every Tuesday and Friday on GTV, with beloved teacher Mr. Santo acting as the tough-as-nails critic. Originally, “Snacking With Santo” started out as an unsure and shaky portion of the show, but has since evolved into a school-wide phenomenon that has the majority of the student body itching for third hour to finally arrive. Though the majority of the students here at GHS enjoy “Snacking With Santo” with a burning passion (except for those few non-believers who choose to hate on the magnificent display of culinary crastminships and criticism), there is one question that continues to remain unanswered: how has it lasted this long?

Before one can even begin to dissect the phenomenon that is “Snacking With Santo”, one needs to understand the driving fan-base-force behind the segment. Though the section is generally supported throughout the student-body, there are specific students that take their support of the segment to a whole new level. Take Braden Foerch, a self-proclaimed “Snacking With Santo fanatic”; for example; his love for the food-critiquing segment goes beyond what is considered average. In a one on one interview, Braden offered many enthusiastic insights into the brain of a “Snacking With Santo” super-fan. “I’d say the very in-depth reviews and just the complexity of how [the food is] graded, and just the underlying details that Santo gives, and each of the different foods that he eats is just really intriguing,” explains Braden in a fervent response to the seemingly larger than life question of what makes “Snacking With Santo” such a big hit? Going even further, Braden describes how, “[Snacking With Santo] is a way that I gauge the foods that I can eat.”  

Now that one has delved a little deeper into one of the minds behind the enthusiastic “Snacking With Santo” fan-base, it is easier to gain a better understanding of the subliminal mechanisms that make the critique segment so exciting to watch. “Okay well, firstly there’s just the personality of Santo himself and just how much he adds to the real situation,” argues Braden Foerch. “Not just any normal person could do “Snacking With Santo”. You need- you need someone with as much expertise, and just like a lively personality, and a critical mouth.” “Snacking With Santo” draws students and teachers alike in; the plethora of diverse foods combined with the witty guests all contribute to the amalgamation that is “Snacking With Santo”. However, the driving force behind the segment lies in Mr. Santo himself. Without a strong lead, no production of any sorts can survive on air. However, an exceptional television segment needs a strong lead that really drives the spirit of the show home, and Mr. Santo is truly in it for the energy and enthusiasm.  

Conversely, though the majority of the students here at GHS predominately see the segment as a natural success, the creators of the segment had a completely different vision for the show. In an interview with Mr. Santo himself, he explains how the idea for “Snacking With Santo” came to mind, and slowly snowballed from there: “I thought it was a fun idea for my students to do it, but for the most part they did not want to go on air and eat food. Some of them thought it would not be a good segment, so I said that I would try it and see how it goes. Sometimes we try things and it goes away, this is not the case with this segment.”

As Mr. Santo explained, the food critique segment was originally just a small, easy-going idea that had no intention of becoming the major success it is today. The students of GTV even viewed the idea in a negative light, their fears and doubts almost deterring “Snacking With Santo” from becoming the school-wide hit it is today. Though Mr. Santo is the key driving force behind the segment, even he had his doubts about how the show would come together in the end.

When asked what his initial expectations for “Snacking With Santo” was, the star himself responded with, “I hoped that kids would think it was fun and that it would be an interactive segment for the news. We are always trying to find ways to connect with the students while they watch, and we know that they like to eat so I thought it would be something that students would enjoy watching.” Santo went on and further explained his apprehension of the popularity of his segment: “I never thought it would be this popular. We have a student who is trying to organize a fundraiser around the idea, and kids see me in the hall and say ’hi’, or that they love the segment, and I do not know who the kid is… that is shocking to me because I do not like to be in the spotlight.”

Even though there are many differences in the way that avid super-fans like Braden Foerch, and Mr. Santo himself view the show and it’s level of popularity, the starkest contrast between the two sides has to be how they each rationalize why “Snacking With Santo” has reached these insane levels of acclaim and reputation. In that same one on one interview with Mr. Santo, he confesses why he personally thinks his snacking segment is so popular with the students here at GHS: “I think it is a big hit because students relate to eating food.They like to eat at various places around the city, so I am just trying to make it fun and have them enjoy it. I am not trying to say a place is horrible and to not go there, I actually hope they do go to these places and try the food.” Additionally, Mr. Santo shows the acute difference between how his fans view him and how he views himself as a food critic with, “I am not a food expert, I just like to eat and talk about food. I am usually at home watching Food Network shows and want to eat at all of the places they feature on the show. I also think that I do not take myself that seriously which allows the students to have fun with watching the segment.”

Certainly, no student or staff member that frequents the halls and classrooms of GHS can argue that “Snacking With Santo” has not made a very memorable mark in our school’s history and in our student body’s heart. The food critique segment has certainly made GTV history, and will definitely be one of the top ten best highlights of the 2017-2018 school year. However, the atmosphere that fills our school is punctuated with the concerning question of Snacking With Santo’s unsure life-span. Ask Braden Foerch and he’ll respond with, “To Mr. Santo, [I’d say] I love your show and please keep it for all four years of my time here at Geneva High School.” Interchangeably, the creator and mastermind behind Snacking would say, “I think it will stay on as long as people are willing to watch it. We have talked about only show a clip of it on the show and then showing the rest of it on our website. We are not sure what is going to happen with it, but I like the segment and I am willing to do it as long as kids enjoy watching it.