By Jodie Heisner
Perhaps it’s thanks to the Food Network, everyone seems to think doing a TV cooking segment is as simple as pie. Think again my friends. Television cooking segments are among the most difficult to pull off. They require 10x more preparation and practice than your average television interview.
So before you Restaurant owners, Chefs, cooks, RD’s or Nutritionists put yourselves and your food in front of the camera, here are 5 tips that will give you a start at creating some delicious television.
Where to Look: Look at the host or the food you are working with, don’t look at the camera or the crew or off into the studio.
Presentation: If you think your presentation is “pretty good,” go back and add more. Creating an amazing layout is 1/2 the battle in getting the producers to love you and book you again. Bring the ingredients you’ll need plus extra to create a display on the counter. Use clean white plates and clear glass dishes for your presentation. HEY RESTAURANTS; PRODUCERS HATE STYROFOAM, FOIL & PLASTIC!!! Add to the display with flowers, candles, a bottle of wine poured into a beautiful glass. The bigger the better!
Take The Lead: In most interviews you should wait for the questions to be asked. Cooking segments are an exception to this rule. You are teaching the host and the viewer, so take the lead. Let them know what comes next, and interesting fact or tidbit about that ingredient, ask them if they’ve ever used it before then move to the next step.
Talk and Cook, at the same time: While you will be taking the lead the host will obviously have questions too, so answer them, while you are cooking! Too often I watch Chefs completely stop what they are doing to chat with the host and then run out of time. If you can’t walk and chew gum, a TV cooking segment isn’t going to be your thing.
The Recipe Will Be on the Website: Don’t worry about hitting every single ingredient, measurement & technique needed for the recipe. It will be on the website, no one at home is cooking scallops along with you at 8am. You are there to entertain. So share some interesting facts on the ingredients, an anecdote on how you discovered it or just have FUN with the host.
I could go on and on and on. My last tip for today is this, practice. Seriously, out loud in your kitchen; do the segment, get a feel for how it will work and how long you will have. Of course if you plan to regularly do these segments or have your chefs do these segments, media training is a wise investment.