I returned home to Houston last week from a three-week stint as a Torontonian/Canadian while filming the sophomore season of the cooking show, Four Senses, which I co-host with Carl Heinrich of Top Chef Canada and Richmond Station.
Production, I’ve learned from being on MasterChef season 3 in 2012 and now Four Senses, is hard work. It’s long days of being on your feet virtually the entire time, and even if you’re exhausted, you have to ramp up the energy level to 200% (because it will only come across as 100% on camera). Over the 22 days, I only had four days off (in the industry, we call them “dark days”)—but even two out of those four days I was flying to Indiana on other business, so it felt more like two days off out of 22.
But as the cliche goes, good things don’t come easily. I must say, there is nothing quite like the satisfaction you feel after someone (this year, it was Carl) yells, “It’s a wrap, everyone!”
Production takes a lot of teamwork: the producers guide the creative concept, the director and assistant director (called the AD for short) guides the execution of the episodes, the production coordinator and assistants take care of all the behind-the-scenes work, the culinary or kitchen team prepares and styles the food, the camera and sound crew gear up the technical equipment, the cast are the on-camera talent, the hair/makeup artist makes sure all the talent looks camera-ready, and so on. No doubt it takes a small village to put together a small show.
For those of you who don’t know what the show is all about, here’s a great article on “Four Senses” written by Rita DeMontis from the Toronto Sun. “Four Senses” is an original AMI TV cooking series designed to inspire vision impaired and sighted novice cooks to get excited about creations in the kitchen. What makes “Four Senses” unique is the descriptive video component is built right into the show instead of in post-production—this means no awkwardly placed voiceovers describing what I’m doing on the small screen but rather I will tell you exactly what I’m doing using specific descriptive words. This makes the cooking show and recipes easier to follow for the vision impaired audience. And recipes are available online in fully accessible format (because, let’s face it, who in their right mind cooks along with the TV chef at the very same time?).
Did you watch FS season 1? What are your thoughts? What cooking shows or aspects of particular shows do you like or dislike? Would love to take your feedback into consideration if we get renewed for a third season.
FS season 2 will air in January 2015 on AMI in Canada. And for many of you from all over the world who have asked, yes, FOur Senses will soon be available online for all to watch! Stay tuned…