I’m often asked by people I meet if the Cooking at Home segment is “all I do” or if I also work at or own a restaurant as well. The answer to the second question is simple: No, I don’t work at or own a restaurant.
The answer to the first question is a little harder to answer. Yes, the Cooking at Home segment is “all I do” professionally but the steps for producing it are much more involved than you might think.
I know the magic of television allows me to present a complete recipe in a two minute segment, but the real time and energy involved is much greater than that.
There are no tricks in what I do, every step of the recipe is accounted for, but I do manage to move time forward by dissolving a process to the end point of a certain step instead of showing each thing in real time.
Obviously, in my world, that “real” time does have to happen so, on average, each two minute segment actually takes about one hour to document.
I generally shoot six new segments a week, three at a time, on two separate days.
The steps involved in this process are these:
-I research, imagine and create the recipes, mostly by seasonal inspiration and by using the foods I may already have on hand.
-I shop for any ingredients needed.
-I write a “storyboard” for each segment, imagining how each part of the recipe will be presented, how the camera will record each step. For this I must understand basic rules of photography so that everything seems to move naturally without being jarring or jumpy.
-Because this segment is shot in my own home, I am responsible for setting up the lighting system and breaking it down for each session. This allows my home to feel like any typical home the rest of the time.
-On top of all of the pots and pans and dishes that I personally wash between each segment, there is quite a bit of general cleaning involved before and after each session.
-When the day’s session is done, the photographer hands me the card that everything was recorded on and I take that back to the office and ingest that into our editing software.
-At that point, I create separate slugs in that system for each segment and then proceed to edit each segment at my office work station.
-Each segment has a two minute limit and that can be one of the biggest challenges of the whole process. The editing can get pretty tight sometimes. Once a segment has been edited, I listen to and transcribe all audio to a closed captioning program.
-After the weeks six segments are finalized in the editing system, they need to be bundled and forwarded to any Time Warner Cable affiliate that also runs these segments.
-Each segment then needs to be individually published to the online Cooking at Home page in a succinct recipe format with accompanying video.
-Last but not least, the segments are bundled and forwarded to Time Warner Cable “On Demand” so that each recipe can be accessed for a period of six weeks after initially airing.
-At that point, it’s just about time to start researching, imagining and creating the next group of three Cooking at Home segments.
Although I’m directly involved in all of these steps, I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the help of photographers, producers, web managers and control room operators. Many thanks!
So, to answer that common question, yes, the Cooking at Home segment is all I do…it certainly keeps me busy!