By: Ryan Hodros, Culinary Arts Student
An interesting thing more or less fell into my lap over the past few weeks—I wound up on television (KDVR’s Everyday with Chris Parente and Kathie J). Months back, my classmate Alex McCall (aka Frenchie Renard) had brought me onto her cookbook project “Frenchie’s Soups”, and so when KDVR invited her to come do a cooking segment, they asked that I tag along.
I learned a number of things from the experience, most of which I didn’t see coming at all. Things like…
4. The Personalities Aren’t Fake
If you grew up watching shows like the Simpsons, you’ve always held this sort of unspoken understanding that the people you see on TV are completely different in real life. Krusty the Klown is really a cynical chain-smoker, Kent Brockman is a rich jerk hated by his co-workers, and “the Bumblebee Man” is an erudite, classically trained British stage actor.
So when we showed up to the studio, I half expected the hosts to be different from her bubbly, friendly, on-camera personas. I couldn’t have been more wrong! They were the nicest, most interesting people I’ve met in a long time. After the segment was over (and the KDVR staff wasn’t required to interact with us anymore) Kathie J and Meagan Mooney (Chris Parente’s replacement for the day) hung around chatting with us and sharing soup and a brew for almost a half hour. They’re no doubt very busy, but they took the time to get to know us a little bit when they didn’t really need to, and that was an eye-opener for me.
3. The Studio is TINY
Call me naïve, but I always assumed shows like Everyday were filmed on big lots with lots of interns running around with coffee for big shots in ties and suits and the whole nine yards. In reality, the studio is set up much like a kitchen–to maximize space. They’re set up to film several different shows, and the staff is a producer, a technician, and a cameraman. There’s not much else going on.
It makes sense when you think about it—more people means more off-camera noise. It’s just not what I expected, and was a totally alien environment from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and the classroom. So when you become a celebrity chef and wind up with your own show opposite Giada, don’t be surprised if your set is the size of a closet.
2. You’re Not as Nervous As You Anticipate
Alex and I set up a drinking game with our friends as a joke before our spot aired: Take a drink every time Alex says “y’know” and every time I stutter. This was our way of dealing with the fact that we both knew we were going to be exceedingly nervous throughout the filming process. I jokingly told her she was going to have to drive me home because I would have to knock back a few brews in order to be calm enough to say anything remotely understandable.
But the staff at KDVR was so accommodating and so friendly that the nerves just kind of disappeared. I put off watching the segment at home because I was sure I’d be embarrassed, but I honestly did alright despite the fact that public speaking scares me to death. I talk directly into the camera for a few seconds (which is a no-no) and I talk a little too fast, but otherwise I did okay. Alex was a natural—my friends who watched the segment said her voice was so buttery smooth, she should have her own show. Hopefully I’ll get to ride her coattails when that happens.
1. It’s More Fun Than It Looks (and It Looks Pretty Fun)
If you imagine Kathie J and Meagan rolling their eyes and sighing in exhaustion as soon as the cameras are off because it’s hard being that upbeat all the time, you are incorrect! The show was such a blast—between joking with the hosts and helping Alex set up her soup demo, and cracking open some brews to share with the cast and crew…I kind of regret not getting into broadcasting when I was in college.
I know this article isn’t really about the food industry or Auguste Escoffier or culinary school in general, so I hope you’ll forgive me. Having grown up in rural Ohio, I like to describe myself as “some kid from the sticks,” so stuff like a local TV spot really jazzes me up. If you get the opportunity to do something like this in the future, jump all over it. Even if it doesn’t boost your career in any way, it’s still an experience you won’t forget.