Is This Thing On? Taping a Segment

Adam and I recently taped a segment for an upcoming food show and I thought it’d be fun to share some behind-the-scenes moments. I don’t want to give away anything but it’ll air next spring on a certain cable channel that I happen to do some work for. Or maybe not once they get back to NYC and view the tape (rimshot, please).

So let me ask you: do you have dreams of your own television show? Do you think you’d be fantastic performing in front of a camera, beaming your happy face into the living rooms of happy viewers all over the world? THEN GOOD FOR YOU BECAUSE OH MY GOD IT IS SOME CRAZY WORK AND OH MY GOD HOW ON EARTH DOES AIDA DO IT?!?!??!?!??!?!?!?!?!!?!?

There. I feel better. It’s not that I am ungrateful but let me tell you this: those bouncing happy faces that cook with ease on television know what they’re doing. And how. And they’re gorgeous professionals with wonderful crews who have endless energy. Me? I was beat after 6 hours of doing it.

Am I signing? Practicing my zombie moves? I have no clue. I was setting stuff up here.

(by the way is anyone else watching The Walking Dead on AMC? I am so completely in love with that show, it’s beautiful and the zombies actually scare me.)

The crew arrives and sets up a few Kino Flo light kits. Kinos are constant lights (they stay on) that are balanced for natural daylight. You see them in video productions all the time and they make for a very solid yet pleasing light source. Plus they’re quiet and relatively easy to move around.

A few lights were even set upstairs in our brand new Prop Shop to illuminate the action down below.

Part of the segment involves photography so we set up a shot while the crew filmed us. Here a crewmember snaps a shot of the food with his point-and-shoot.

Here’s one of the final images. We shoot tethered to the computer so that we can see every image as they come in. It’s nifty when you’re in the studio. The downside? Everyone can see every image as they come in. Augh.

We moved upstairs to film a quick interview segment. Lights were set up everywhere, don’t think I wasn’t keeping a close watch on the fine breakable things. It would not have been pretty if one of those c-stands fell over on the Mud Australia, Caroline Swift or Rina Menardi. Not at all.

Delightful sound guy who’s name was Mike. Mike with mic.

Adam sets up some props while the crew does the flag and scrim thing.

Adam rearranges some color coded plates and bowls. This is probably my most favorite thing about our studio now.

Look! I’m taking a photo with my camera of the monitor that’s taking a photo of us. It’s all very Meta, you know.

We finished our interviews and headed downstairs to cook some food. Adam is doing some swap-outs and preparation for the camera. On the wall behind him are printouts of my cookbook coming out in Spring.  We chose a recipe from the book.

The cameraman gives us an ok sign. Things look good.

Finally, we made our way back to the front of the studio so that the camera crew could get beauty shots of the recipe. Adam refreshed the food and readjusted the plate while I stood back and let them do their thing. I enjoyed the break and it allowed me to be the spectator and not the photographer.

Social media in action: Adam tweets from the set.

The director views the food on that nifty little monitor. I think I need to get one.

I’ll make sure to let you know when it airs.


  1. says

    Can’t wait to see it — thanks for sharing! Also, I can’t imagine anything worse than having to be in FRONT of the camera — ARGH! — but if your Martha segment is any indication, you’ll make it look easy.

  2. says

    Congratulations.. it looks all complicated, and difficult and exciting.. and yes, I wonder sometimes how they do that on TV… I mean, just to show something for my blog (spun sugar technique) we took like a gazzillion takes for 1.2 minutes of fame… ok, it was in our flip.. but still – HARD!

  3. says

    I am nowhere near your caliber of photography but after seeing all this I want a studio/small restaurant space just to play around with my food and photos. Looks great and cannot wait for the show.

  4. says

    i once saw a behind the scenes of Giada’s segment tapings & i actually felt sorry for her! this woman who lives my life (a size 1, perky mother, with cleavage and a husband who designs for anthropologie!) was actually having a hard time spitting out lines & cooking at the same time. i also saw her chefography & one of her friends were being interviewed saying they arrived on set at 7 and they finally got to the “friends dining” taping around midnight. i’ve been following your blog for over a year now & i can’t wait until we get to see you & your awesome personality on tv! (and yes, i saw you on the martha show as well!)

  5. says

    At first I was all, dang, that’s the biggest iPad I’ve ever seen! (Duh, it was an iMac.) Oops.

    Thanks for the sneak peek. It’s fascinating!

  6. Janet says

    Pretty Cool! Can’t wait to see it all together.
    In the first shot of you, it looks like you’re an opera singer holding the note too long. 😉

  7. Sandie Ward: Artful Living says

    You make it look sooo easy….love your quick wit and sense of humor…just back from Costa Rica and shot video for “From Sea to Table” segment with Chef from Four Seasons….Footage on fishing boat with Captain…in water with huge Mahi-Mahi -“Fresh Catch of the day”…then into the kitchen to document delicious dish….we are truly NUTS eh? Would love to come by to see you and the studio…any time in Nov? Like the fish, keep swimming upstream baby…….

  8. says

    okay I watched you on Martha and darling your a natural…I love the first shot, can’t wait to see the show, oh walkind dead!! amazing good..


  9. says

    I do a “cooking show” as a hobby – and it’s a tremendous amount of work – from researching recipes that I can ‘teach’ in the 5-7 video attention span to ‘what do I wear’ – and ‘do I really want my dirty gym bag on the counter behind me while I talk about my food?’ :) It’s an intense amount of work.

    I am envious of your creative pairing with your partner who is an amazing visual professional. My hubby plays cameraman and it’s been a fun way to bond over my hobby.

    anyhow – I love your blog – and really identified with this post.

    BE WELL!!

    – Bob McDiarmid in Palo Alto, CA

  10. says

    I can relate, just finished a shoot myself.
    Most of the posts are funny.
    Let me know when the show air, looking forward.

    Best regards

    Marlene Myrie Los Angeles, Ca


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