Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So you wanna be a Food TV Star?



Those TV guys, they have it sooo easy. They jet around the world, meet cool people, eat the coolest food, and actually get paid to do the stuff you and I would pay to do on vacation - right????

It's cool, and it's fun, and I'm glad I got to be part of it, but it is a SHIT LOAD of work - this ain't no night club, this ain't no disco, this ain't no foolin' around.

Three weeks ago, I was informed by the Media Relations people at CIA that Bourdain wanted to shoot part of a No Rez episode in my school kitchen...no problem...controlled environment...lots of professional equipment and a brigade of 16 students to back everything up and make it look slick.
Then Ruhlman came to visit."Tony's coming up in a few weeks" I said "You need to be here too". He agreed and e-mails started flying - "What else should we do while we're there?"; "What else should we see?". Ruhlman, tongue in cheek at first, I think, proposed that "Pardus dig a Pig Pit in his back yard and we have a BBQ". That was all it took, Bourdain took the bait, and I was on the hook.

The production crew wanted pix of the yard so they could figure out their shots; and once I looked at the pix, I realized that my back yard was about to be immortalized in the American Foodie Psyche as, more or less, a trailer park. The pile of bricks which had been slated to turn into a patio, the fence that was promised a new coat of stain, the sod assured new and fallow ground suddenly reared up and collectively demanded to be heeded. I had 10 days to not only compose and prep a Vietnamese BBQ menu for 30, I had to conceive, produce, direct, and host and un-televised episode of DIY Landscape 911.

Amazing GF Megan, Daughter Sierra, and an army of diligent friends replaced the paid set design and production crew and we went into overdrive. 1 sod cutter, 1500 bricks, a few gallons of stain and 6 bags of potting soil later, we made it to the finish line and, I think, showed well. In the absence of a good production budget, it takes a village to look good on TV.

I have no idea what it will all edit out to be, or how much of our hard work will show up on the tube, but I'm both exultant and exhausted; thrilled and tuckered out. Most of all, I know who my best friends are and how much of themselves they are willing to give to help at the crunch and for us all to have a great time together. I'm blessed. Thanks everyone.

Oh, yeah...sod cutters are really cool machines!

5 comments:

Bob del Grosso said...

No way do I want to be a Food TV star. The best, like Bourdain, make too much money, are beloved by too many people and get to see too much of the world. Forget it, I'm out.

Kevin said...

Mike,
I have to disagree with Bob on too points - you cant make too much money or see too much of the world. But the fame? Eh.

On the other hand, you can work too hard and not have enough fun.

Tags said...

It still looks more attractive to me than salami fighting.

Ben said...

Nothing like a deadline to make you focus on home tasks. Bob, would I be wrong to assume that you would miss yor family too much to do a world tour?

natalie sztern said...

knowing what little i know of you, i happen to think you would make a great food judge on one of the food shows...i think you would focus entirely at the job at hand rather than the personalities and their relationships to you, if.