I recently filmed a segment for the Cooking Channel show Food(ography) with Mo Rocca. The episode is all about pork, and I cooked pigs' feet wasabi griddle cakes and pork shoulder. The show is a bit more cerebral and scholarly than most of the food-based shows on TV these days. It – and some of the other shows on The Cooking Channel – remind me of the early days of The Food Network when the programming was actually about, well, food. For all of Mario’s hamming in front of the camera, I still miss Molto Mario and the free-style nature of the years past when food TV was still in its infancy. I think The Cooking Channel is attempting to recapture some of that with new faces, a more natural and less scripted style.
For this shoot, it took about six hours for what amounts to a final product of a few minutes. It’s like starting with 100 pounds of bones that will end up becoming a few quarts of sauce. But I loved the intensity and attention to detail involved in getting every frame correct. There’s a railway just down the street from my restaurant, and when we were shooting outside, the trains would howl past every 5 minutes. Funny, when you live with these sounds for so long, you don’t hear them anymore. For the production crew, however, it was crucial not to have even the slightest disruptive noise. So, we’d shoot for a few minutes and then wait till the train cleared (and these are long trains), then do it again with each oncoming train. It delayed the shoot, but the patience and professionalism of the crew were inspiring.
My only regret is not getting to meet Mo. He’s such a goofball.