The Weekend Gourmet: The Weekend Gourmet's TV Debut: Cooking Jambalaya for Mardi Gras on Great Day SA! F

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Weekend Gourmet's TV Debut: Cooking Jambalaya for Mardi Gras on Great Day SA!

I wanted to share some exciting news with all my fantastic readers today. I’m friends with some of you on Facebook, so forgive me if this is a repeat for you! However, many of my readers don’t follow me on Facebook…so I wanted to share all the details about my television debut yesterday. In conjunction with the Red Gold Tomatoes Blogger Contest, I was asked to appear on Great Day SA…a local television morning show. One of the dishes I cooked as part of the contest was my Kitchen Sink Jambalaya, so they asked me to come cook it live on their show for Mardi Gras! I was so honored…and really excited to have the opportunity to share my blog with even more people! I thought I’d give y’all a chance to learn a bit more about how it went “behind the scenes.” I’ll also share a couple of pictures that Michael snapped, as well as the finished result as it aired yesterday.

Me in the Great Day SA kitchen set...all decorated and waiting for the show to start. Pardon the un-smile on my face. I was talking to Michael when he snapped the pic, but it's the only one I have of me in the kitchen :)!

When this opportunity presented itself to me, I immediately jumped at the chance! Most of you don’t know this, but my college major was Broadcast Journalism. I have radio experience from high school through college and into my early career…and even some appearances on my college TV station back in the day. I always loved the thrill of the spotlight and the camera, and I discovered yesterday that it’s a lot like riding a bike: you get out of practice, but that training is always there lying dormant. I was excited about this appearance, but I secretly hoped I didn’t make a fool out of myself on live TV!! I spent last week answering questions from the show’s producer and reading the prep sheets they sent me. I felt like I was as prepared as I could possibly be.

I was off on Monday for President’s Day and spent the day doing a bit of shopping for display/décor items…and shopping for the groceries I needed to make two batches of jambalaya. One batch had to be cooked for display on the set while I cooked the second batch live during the show. I spent a good chunk of Monday evening chopping veggies and meats, measuring spices, and making sure I had all the cooking supplies that I needed packed up. The station has a lovely kitchen set, but I had to bring all my own pots/pans and cooking utensils. I also cooked one complete batch of jambalaya that night, part of which was our dinner. A full batch makes 10-12 servings, so there was still a LOT of jambalaya left in my beloved blue Le Creuset Dutch oven for display the next morning. After everything was chopped, measured, bagged, and packed? Then it was time to get some sleep so I would look camera-fresh the next morning.

I made a large pot of my Kitchen Sink Jambalaya (featuring Red Gold tomatoes) to take to the show so I'd have one batch cooked and ready to sample while I was cooking the other batch!

The show airs at 900 each morning, so the producer asked me to arrive at the station (KENS 5, the local CBS affiliate) by 800 so I had plenty of time to get set up in the kitchen studio. That meant I was up by 600 so I could get do full hair and makeup, load the car, and drive to the studio. Michael came with me – for moral support AND to help me carry three bags + a cooler full of supplies inside! An associate producer welcomed me in the lobby and escorted me to the studio. 

Setting up my ingredients in the studio's kitchen set...and getting some pre-show advice from some of the Great Day SA crew!

As I unpacked all my supplies and ingredients, a production assistant and an intern helped me set up a visually appealing display using veggies, colorful plates, Mardi Gras beads, and flowers. I set up my ingredients and started reheating the pre-cooked jambalaya as the crew started prepping for the show. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to me! I felt some jitters when I first arrived, but once everything was set up? I realized that I wasn’t so much nervous as I was ANTSY…I was ready to do my thing!

About 15 minutes before show time, I was introduced to Paul Mireles, who would be interviewing me for my segment. Turns out we had both attended the University of North Texas around the same time…and both had taken Radio/Television classes, though not together. That gave us a nice rapport from the get-go. I had a quick meeting with the show’s Producer in the control room to verify the spelling of my name, blog address, etc. Then, the opening credits started...the show was on! I was slated to be the first segment after the “sit and chat” opening between the hosts. I got the veggies sautéing during that time so that the food was already smelling good before my segment started.

Before I knew it, my segment was up! I spent 5 minutes chatting with Paul about my blog, my jambalaya recipe, and my Red Gold blogger weekend in Indianapolis. I honestly wasn’t the least bit nervous once the segment started…Michael was in the front row of the audience giving me a thumbs up, and there were no kitchen mishaps as I cooked. The time went by really quickly! We left the jambalaya simmering for the rest of the show, and everyone in the crew kept telling me how great it smelled. When the show was over, I left the finished product for the cast and crew to enjoy.

I packed up my stuff, left the studio, and went to my regular job…several of my co-workers had gone to the café to watch the segment, and they were all very sweet with their compliments. Michael was a very proud husband and shared the link and a few still shots that he took on Facebook. My friends and family have been generous with their praise, but they’re a bit biased! When I started this blog, I had no idea what it would bring my way. I feel so very blessed that what started as a creative outlet is growing into something I’m so proud of! This TV appearance was truly a dream come true for me. I’m still pinching myself!! For those who haven’t seen it yet, I leave you with my TV debut:

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