Written by Allen (the hungrier half of Foodie Pleasure)
Along with a full-time job and writing a food blog, one of my main interests is watching basketball. Whether it’s high school, college, the WNBA or the NBA, you can find me in front of the TV catching a game or two. When I learned that Rich Cho, Executive VP and GM of the Charlotte Hornets, started Bigtime Bites, I was immediately intrigued and reached out to learn more about him and his food blog.
FP: As the Executive VP & GM of the Charlotte Hornets, I’m sure you travel a lot. Name your favorite food cities, preferred places to eat and your favorite meals.
Seville, Spain: The tuna tartare and the clams at Tradevo are out of this world!!
Los Angeles, CA: There is an old Burmese couple that serves authentic Burmese food out of their house on weekends (Bee Bee’s). The mohinga (fish chowder) and coconut chicken noodle soup are all worthy of Hall of Fame material in my eyes. Their food is so terrific that they cook for me, freeze it, then fed ex it to me in Charlotte.
Chiang Mai, Thailand: Kao Soi, a Thai chicken noodle soup dish, originated here and is unbelievable. My favorite place is Kao Soi Fueng Fah, and when I visit Chiang Mai, I come here every single day and get the chicken kao soi.
FP: All sound like delicious options for me to add to a growing list of places to try!
Food and hoops! Can’t go wrong with that combination. How did the concept of Bigtime Bites come about?
RC: I’ve always had an affinity for food. Years ago, as I started to travel more with my job, I’d ask friends and co-workers for recommendations in different cities. I’d write them down in a notebook, and when I went to those cities, I’d make it a point to try those recommendations. I’d also venture out and try places that I found either (a) through my own research, (b) by speaking to the hotel concierge, (c) through starting a conversation with a local stranger, or (d) by just pure chance walking down the street.
Eventually, friends, family, and co-workers started asking me for recommendations, either for their own use or on behalf of others. I like all types of food and my palette is pretty expansive, so luckily I’m able to give recommendations for most types of cuisine and for everything from fine dining to hole in the walls.
FP: In your opinion, what makes Bigtime Bites different from other food blogs?
RC: One day I thought about compiling all of this info together and creating a food blog. I started an Instagram first as a prelude to the blog and received a lot of positive feedback. Therefore, I decided to move forward with Bigtime Bites. When I started Bigtime Bites, I wanted to start something that was different than any other food blog, and I think some of the things that distinguish it from other blogs are the following:
Sports Theme: It has a sports theme throughout the site. For example, my reviews are called Scouting Reports and visitors to the site can also file their own Visitor Scouting Report. In addition, we have a Rating System to rate dishes – Rotation, Starter, All-Star, Franchise, and Hall of Fame. We also have a feature similar to a “like” on Instagram, except it’s called a “fistbump.” If you enjoy reading someone’s report, you can fistbump them.
Dishes instead of Restaurants: Unlike Yelp and a number of other food sites, Bigtime Bites is centered around great (i.e. Bigtime) dishes instead of restaurants. The reason for this is that I feel that most people these days are looking for a specific type of dish (e.g. a burger, lobster roll, pizza, sushi or salad) instead of a restaurant where they are going to be selecting a number of dishes off the menu.
Positivity instead of Negativity: Unlike many sites, you won’t find negative reviews on Bigtime Bites. Even the lowest rating on our Rating System (Rotation) is still a Bigtime dish. That way when visitors come to the site, they won’t have to sift through all the negativity to find the positive reviews.
FP: I love the concept and will definitely contribute to Big Time as much as I can.
What are some of your guilty pleasures? I call them foodie pleasures, hence the name of the blog 😉
RC: I love cheesecake, chocolate, and sorbet!!
FP: Mmm…cheesecake! If you could get on a plane tomorrow and visit any place just for its food, where would it be?
RC: Chiang Mai, Thailand. I love Thai food and Chiang Mai has some incredible little hole in the walls with amazing Thai food.
FP: I’ve heard nothing but great things about Thailand!
I read that you’re the reigning NBA Summer League Ping Pong Champion. What are some of your non-basketball and non-food related interests and hobbies?
RC: Tennis, ping pong, and hanging out with my wife Julie and daughters Miranda (11) and Annika (9).
FP: Thank you, Rich, for your time. I wish you continued success with Bigtime Bites and also with the upcoming NBA season!