Friday, November 21
Were you nervous?
Well, despite how the pic above may look, I really wasn't nervous about doing the interviews or the helicopter ride. All of the producers and tech people working for Pacific Productions were so nice throughout the entire process and made us feel totally comfortable. It was cool to finally meet some of the people we'd been conversing back and forth with about our videos, our travel arrangements, etc.
The most nerve-racking moment was meeting Ina for the first time. We did all of the beach and helicoper stuff early in the day, went to lunch, and even stopped by the former location of Barefoot Contessa, which is now a clothing store.
The oustside still looks the same, but that's about it. Upstairs, Ina has an office (which has been seen on the show) where she and her staff fulfill cookbook orders and do the business side of "Ina Garten LLC."
Pretty basic, huh? Betcha thought Ina would be working out of a place that looked just like her house, but look at that. Window A/C units! Oscillating fans! She's like a regular person, I tell you.
ANYway... after all that excitement, we still had a lot of wating to do before we were allowed inside Ina's kitchen. We went to Starbucks and sat for about half and hour, drove around, and eventually got the call that we could come over. They had been shooting all of the other stuff from the special that day, too.
We got to Ina's house and waited some more. A LONG time. At least it seemed like a long time. We were literally standing in her driveway, knowing Ina and some of her friends were inside, but we couldn't go in! I think the nervousness started to set in there.
The director finally came outside and told us how we'd be entering, but left it all very mysterious. "There will be a few people at the door. Say hello to them. Then walk inside the room and you'll be greeted by someone," was basically what he said.
So we did the walk up, the greeting of the people outside, turned the corner to start entering the room, caught of GLIPSE (like a half-second) of Ina, and then were told to STOP. We needed to go back out and do it again.
We did it again. And again. I think we did it like 5 times. I only did my actual "greeting" of Ina twice, and the one that made it in seems to be the first time, so what you saw was my true, first reaction to meeting Ina. Pretty cool!
I think we all calmed down after that big parade. Ina was very intersted in talking to us and finding out where we were from, what we did, how long it took us to get there, etc. Some people would think that a "TV star" would only be on when the cameras were rolling, but oftentimes Ina would actually have to be told to stop talking to us because they needed to move on to some other scene. She was so nice!
How did the cheesecake and the other desserts taste?
All of the desserts were out on the table when we first walked in. When we finally got around to the "serving" segment, the director shot Ina cutting the cheesecake and putting it on a plate for me. She handed it to me and then--surprise--it got taken away! They had to go back, bring out a brand new cheesecake and shoot it again. This time, I got to take a bite. It was really good, of course.
Shooting a TV show involves lots of waiting, especially when you're working with something that gets consumed... like food. We had literally waited so long to try these desserts (and hadn't eaten dinner yet), that I think anything would have tasted delicious. That's not a slam on Ina, it's just the truth. We were also so amped up that I don't think we were even tasting the food fully.
Here's something you probably don't want to hear: I didn't try every dessert!
It wasn't entirely my fault, though. I had my cheesecake first, then tried the coconut cake, and then had a piece of the pumpkin roulade. This also wasn't a real party, remember. It's not like we had a lot of time to just sit around and chit chat, while orgasming over these delicous desserts. It was more like the director saying, "Okay, Jacob, take a bite. Now, move over so we can shoot the next part."
Not too long after trying a few desserts, the culinary staff came in and took them all away. I think the director originally envisioned having some time-lapse video of all the food on the table getting taken away. Don't think that ever made it in, though. Anyhow, I didn't get to try the gingerbread or the creme brulee. Curses me!
How was Jeffrey?
Jeffrey was just like he is on TV. I was really impressed by his on-camera abilities. He just walks rights in and throws out these one-liners and witty remarks without any writers to help, and always with a time crunch looming overhead. He was very kind, just like Ina.
All of the other attendees were great, too. Many of them were used to the TV taping process and seemed very at ease, even when they were getting microphone wires hooked up through their shirts or being told to "say a line" at a moment's notice.
How was her house?
As you know, Barefoot Contessa now shoots in Ina's barn, which sits a few hundred feet away from her real home in East Hampton. We didn't actually go into her house, which I was fine with. After seeing all the people that had to trudge through the barn just to shoot that special, I too would be glad to have my house back to being a house and not a working TV studio.
That's about it. It was such a great experience. Everyone from the production company to Ina herself really helped make the experience fun and memorable. Glad you all enjoyed watching it!
P.S.- I liked this "nighttime" Ina, didn't you?! She seemed more upbeat and zesty! Even the music was amped up. She ought to consider more primetime specials. Move over Paula's Party, Ina's on the loose!