Holla. It’s Swizzle. I’m a BU student, and a good friend of the
Gentleman Gourmand. I’m bloggin baby! When Andrew told me that Chris
Cognac asked him to appear on an episode of “The Hungry Detective” I
was in disbelief. Fantasies about living a ballin’ entourage-style
life swirled around in my brain; we’d soon be getting drinks with Tony
Bourdain, then hitting the clubs with Giada and Rachel. Ahh…
Hey! We need to shoot the scene first! Then I can become Andrew’s
spiritual advisor when he’s a huge Food Network star. I mean, why do
you think Snoop keeps Bishop Don Magic Juan around? Andrew knows what
I’m sayin… Andrew?
Oh well. Either way, our morning at L.A. Burdick and Mary Chung’s was quite an experience for me. After having spent countless hours watching nearly every single cooking show in existence, I’d say that I’m well acquainted with the format of a food show. What I didn’t realize before this one day of shooting was the real work and planning that goes into the creation of each one of these shows.
Andrew and I arrived at L.A. Burdick’s and I immediately noticed a non-descript white van, the first clue that a TV production company was in the vicinity. Boxes of heavy equipment lined the sidewalk; everything from lighting equipment to wireless microphones were waiting to be brought inside. I couldn’t wait to see what was happening.
First let me just say that L.A. Burdick is awesome. We stepped through the door and immediately the scent of fresh cocoa filled my nostrils. I’ll let the photographs speak for how excellent the chocolate was. I mean, look at those truffles. L.A. Burdick was definitely an excellent source of “food porn.” (That’s an industry term, rook.) Once inside, I saw that there were far more people than seemed usual for seven AM in a chocolate shop that wasn’t even open yet.
Baristas, chocolate makers, and pastry chefs were all in attendance, not to mention the additional crew for the television shoot. Wait who’s that over there? Now, I don’t want to say I was star struck, but damn, there’s Chris Cognac. Is Andrew about to introduce me to him? Sick!!
Everyone couldn’t have been nicer. Chris is the man; we got a chance to speak at length about some of his previous Hungry Detective episodes, and the local food scene. I told him about my brother’s BBQ restaurant in Newton; I also let Chris know how jealous I was of the deep-fried Twinkies that he got in Las Vegas. Sean O’Malley, the producer of the show was also present, the ringmaster of this culinary circus.
After the sound-engineer Rick politely declined to tell me exactly which “Cribs” he’d worked on, I realized that I should just shut up and check out the action. You know how each scene in a show seems natural, concise, and easy? That is the result of hundreds of man-hours worth of brainstorming, editing, and planning. Each 15-second clip was recorded many times, each take with minor alterations, as directed by Sean. Listening to Chris give the same “hot tip” five takes in a row really made me understand that making a good TV show isn’t as easy as you might think. Hell, the “walk-up” to the store hadn’t even been shot at that point.
The pastry chef gave Chris the low-down on several of their popular items and it seemed that all the shots have been completed. At that point, we took a walk down into Harvard Square, to film the approach to the store. I agreed to hold Chris’s shirts, and a battery for the camera that weighs about ten pounds. Chris made a crack that my role was akin to Kif’s assistant on Futurama. Hell, I didn’t care; you have to start somewhere, right? Still… Kif’s assistant? That’s pretty bad.
Curious bystanders swarmed us; it was pretty sweet, people thought we were a news team. I acted like it was no big deal, but I really felt like a giddy little kid on Christmas. The L.A. Burdick segment was done, and I got to take part in it.
From Harvard Square, it was a short drive down Mass Ave. to Cambridge, and Mary Chung’s restaurant. It had become a beautiful autumn afternoon in Boston. Because I was given the task of parking Andrew’s Jeep, I didn’t see the setup for the “walk-in” to Mary Chung’s, however I did witness several of the takes. Remember that video clip Andrew posted of this scene? Yeah, I was filming that. Pretty funny when I transform into a key grip and easily handle that light reflector, huh?
Soon talk of a flight that had to be caught surfaced, and I realized that our day was coming to an end. The cameras were placed back into their cases, and the crew piled into the van. Andrew and I had our goodbyes and group photos, and off they went.
So a few hours later, Andrew and I were back in his basement, watching the Food Network on his big-screen. Chris’s mug kept appearing in the lower-right hand corner of the screen, advertising the very show we had just taken part in creating. Awesome.
This is the Swizzle checking out, I’ll keep ya’ll posted on the behind the behind the scenes action. Peace!