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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Day in the Life of a TV Chef

A lot of pre-planning goes into a TV appearance for what often turns out to be a few minutes airtime. I think my own personal record was a total of 6 hours filming to get a four minute film segment. Luckily for me, today's appearance on TVNZ Good Morning went smoothly thanks to a lot of prior planning and the great crew that looked out for me.

I arrived in Auckland late last night, with a chilly bin full of local produce, pre-prepared in vacuum-sealed bags and ready to go for the big morning ahead of us. Being a chef, I tend to run on a late-night schedule, so the 8am start was a bit of a shock to the system.

Fiona welcomed me in to TVNZ's Good Morning Show in Auckland, showing me the Green Room (still not sure why it's called that!), Studio and Prep Kitchen. There was no shortage of helpers and most of the hard yards had been done in the True South kitchen, so I had plenty of time to kill before I would be showcasing my Taco dish in the first of three segments in the show.

After a quick once over in the make-up chair and having a microphone fitted, I was in the studio with host Jeanette, showing her my canape rendition of Crisp Lamb Tacos with Blue River Vintage Feta and Red Pepper Mousse & Greek Salad. Aside from a bit of getting used to the induction stove, the dish went well. The crew behind the cameras were enticed over afterwards by the delicious smell of Cardrona Merino Lamb.

I had another 40 minutes break so finished off what little prep was left and had a much-deserved cuppa. After that I was chatting to host, Matai, about our Lap of Luxury competition and the Tasting Menu at True South Dining Room. I prepared Smoked Southland Venison with Cucumber, Gin, Beetroot& Dark Chocolate Oil, a similar but simpler version of one of our Tasting Menu dishes. Having previously been accustomed to the strong, gamey venison in Scotland; the subtle, milder flavour of the Invercargill kind is a refreshing change. I think I even managed to bring Matai over to the venison-lovers side with that one, as he previously was not a fan!

After a quick touch up in make-up, my final slot was up with host, Rod. He must have been the third person that day to identify my Bristol accent - it seems more Kiwis are familiar with Bristol than the average Briton! The finale was a Frangelico Pana Cotta. Frangelico is a hazelnut liqueur from Northern Italy, so it seemed fitting to add some rougly-crushed hazelnuts into the mix. Add to that warm Golden Queen peaches caramelised in honey and it was the perfect mix of hot and cold on the taste buds.

While the viewer at home only sees twenty-four minutes of you on-screen, hours and hours of creating recipes, planning logistics and doing prep goes on behind-the-scenes every time you see a chef on TV. For me, it can be a lot of fun, I have met great teams of people and it is always worth it when you hear fantastic feedback from the viewers!

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