by Sunny Anderson
Haaaiii! It’s Sunny Anderson on the FN Dish check-in. On behalf of Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid, Jeff Mauro and Geoffrey “GZ” Zakarian, as well as the crew, set design, culinary staff, producers and more — welcome to The Kitchen. I’ve been asked to share some behind-the-scenes bits. Make sure to come back next week when Jeff shares what’s really happening on set!
I hope you enjoyed the show and found it to be something you can put to work in your very own kitchen. This is the first of what we hope to be many episodes that will share recipes, quick fixes and fun chats about all things food and entertaining. Speaking of entertaining, I am too excited that I got to share the Lotus Flower Candle with you today. I’ve been holding it for months wanting to blab all about it on social media. In a world where I tweet cute pics of my cats sleeping, it’s easy to say keeping this cool entertainment “gadget” to myself for so long was hard. I really like this show for that reason — it’s truly host driven, with a huge help of a production staff. We all bring ideas from our personal lives to share with you. It reminds me of show-and-tell in grade school. I still don’t know how the crew disabled the flower so it wouldn’t play the costly “Happy Birthday” song. Just know if you look for them online, all of the ones I’ve found play the tune, so hopefully you get it for someone’s birthday cake or you know someone crafty who can disable the music. Where’s MacGruber when you need him?
I recently saw a tweet asking if we had to use whatever appliances we were given or if we got to choose. We got to choose! This isn’t usually the case, but we were all asked what our must-have kitchen items were so we would have them on set to make us feel a bit more like we were in our home kitchens. As we go along, you’ll notice us using them or cooking with them; now you know it’s the stuff we like. It’s not an endorsement, just us in our new kitchen feeling at home, and we want you to know what that looks like. I can’t wait for you to see the wooden spoons Jeff Mauro had stocked on set; they’re my new favorite.
This first show was so much fun to work on. That sounds cliche, but it’s true. Months ago a few of us gathered for drinks to think up ideas for the show, and not long into the chatter and laughs, we came up with the “It’s 5 o’clock … somewhere!” segment. It made sense, we were all enjoying drinks together and we wanted to share that fun with you, if even for a moment. Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is the quintessential host, constantly in different locales serving great food and — now you know — great drinks. Let’s tackle the drink from Episode 1, which included him attempting to open a bottle of bubbly with a saber. What you saw, the bottle breaking, it happens. Funny thing is, we practiced that segment a few times to make sure the cameras were set, lighting was perfect — all kinds of technical stuff. So GZ, as we call him, actually properly sabered about three bottles before we shot the one you saw. It was just too funny for all of us after a long setup and plenty of practice runs for the “real” one to burst. Mistakes happen and we’re blaming this one on a warm bottle of bubbly. Make sure yours is chilled before you attempt a saber. GZ also suggests it rests on its side. And so you know, the saber isn’t sharp — it’s rather blunt. And be safe — like he says, “Point it away from people!”
Here’s a link to all the recipes from today’s show, starting with the drink!
Here are some photos I took behind the scenes:
Katie Lee practices what she preaches. This girl can eat and I’ve seen it. But she also works out plenty, anywhere she can. This is in our green room. I need to find a way to self-motivate like this.
GZ is checking on his empire as the rest of us chill between segments on a day of rehearsal. Notice how we are mostly dressed down, but GZ always shows up with a shirt, blazer and pocket square. We love it — he’s quite the dresser.
We took this after a dress rehearsal and really just because we were all done up with nowhere to go. In the back of our greenroom is a huge white wall perfect for photo shoots. Our stage is actually, wait, can I say it? We shoot in a popular national makeup brand’s studio. This is behind the scenes, right? Bobbi Brown. Anyway, looking at her cool photo shoot backdrop I said, “Hey let’s all take a pic!” I wrangled everyone and this is one of just five frames in my phone. I passed my cell to Mecia Hollar to capture, so she gets the photog credit, but the silliness is all us. Looks like it’s planned, but it’s such a great candid shot. Take a look at the frames before and after the pic below that we all love.
Fun stuff. That’s my look at The Kitchen behind the scenes. Next week we’ll be kicking off our cookbook club (come back to FN Dish for a chance to win a copy), and we put the slow cooker to work. We hope you tune in and watch us grow together. This is just the beginning of what we hope to be a fun show for you to watch and share. Tell a friend and join us on our social media accounts; we’re all excited to chat with you (@KatieLeeKitchen @ChefMarcela @JeffMauro @GZChef and @SunnyAnderson).