THE CHEW & How I Was Stood Up By
By Sarah Lasry Leizerowski
Last week I had the privilege to get invited to sit in as the first test audience for ABC’s new fall “Cooking/Lifestyle” T V show – THE CHEW. THE CHEW in a nut shell is supposed to be a show that will be a cross between the camaraderie of the girls at THE VIEW and the informative DIY TV that you get on HGTV & Food Network.
I was SOO excited to attend this taping, along with my friends and fellow kosher food bloggers, Leah Schapira of Cookkosher.com and Rivky Eisenberg of Yumkosher.com, that the 6am wakeup call , shlep into the city, and babysitting hassle was not going to deter me one iota from getting to meet some of my favorite celebrity TV chefs, or more specifically Mario Batali the Italian Cuisine guru himself.
With tickets in hand and the note to wear a bright color in case they put us on TV , the three of us colorfully set out to meet our fellow chefs Mario Batali , Michael Symon & CarlaHall
My excitement for the chance to be one of the first to review and actually see this show come to life was palpable and I was especially thrilled to see some of my favorite chefs in action up close. More specifically -Mario Batali, who I had become of fan of a while back when I was recuperating after having my daughter and spent my time in bed watching marathons of his Spain on the road.. PBS food series with actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Batali’s knowledge of food and enthusiasm for his craft is really appealing and after watching him on that show I had become a fan – even if almost everything he makes is BEYOND NOT KOSHER (think pork & shellfish)!
Waiting on-line with the rest of the bloggers and other invited guests conversation ran rampant on what we were about to view at THE CHEW. From home décor DIY to great food recipes, we got more and more excited about what was in store. And when Carla herself came running pass us , the crowd went wild! But all I could think was, “ where are you Mario with your orange crocks?!”
As we were ushered through security I realized things were not going to be exactly what I pictured- (mind you In my past life pre-café/cookbooks , I worked in TV so I have a pretty good idea of what I was to expect ) .
With confusion about our invitation and reservation (the security guard kept on insisting we must be one of Bridgette girls?–so that’s why we were not on the list despite our invite in hand) – I just decided to go with the flow and say – Sure Bridgette – aha yup – and scored some center row tickets for me and my gals.
But that was just the start, once in the holding room for the audience and as we were snacking on our gratis granola bars and water , I overheard the audience coordinator mention to someone on the phone, that this was the first time the Hosts were ever in front of a live audience – and that they had to test the “kinks” of some of the segments. UH OH…
You see this was a test show/rehearsal of what they are going to actually do LIVE on Sept. 26th when they first debut on air.
But my enthusiasm did not wane for a minute because I was going to be up close and personal with Mario B. in just a few minutes – Kinks shminks…
As we got our warning not to take pictures of the set (oops – pretend you don’t see these) we were ushered onto the truly beautiful set of THE CHEW (loved the exposed brick and the mixture of modern and rustic functionality). Sitting right behind some very important looking ABC Network Executives, I could not help but twitter in my seat looking at all the behind the scenes action that was taking place on the set floor.
The Audience Warmer/Stand up Comedienne (R.C. Smith) comes out and THE CHEW is about to start. Now I must note, 9 out of 10 times in my experience the warm up guy is awful – usually it’s lame jokes with very little humor –but R.C was terrific and he was quick on his feet – things were getting off to a rather good start….
BUT THEN out walks Executive Producer Gordon Elliot; for those of you who don’t know him, he was the Australian Weather/ Man-on-the street -Reporter guy that use to work on what is now FOX Five news morning show Good Day NY– who was FANTASTIC and use to do the funniest segments where he use to surprise and barge into random people’s homes early in the morning and waking them to his Weather Report and hilarity ensued. (why is he not one of the hosts of THE CHEW?)
Mr. Elliot thanks us all for coming and asks us to help him welcome the cast of THE CHEW – Yay FINALLY – It’s Batali Time! …. But wait am I hearing correctly… Mr B. is off in Italy and will NOT be here for this taping! WHAT? Are you serious – I just got stood up by Mario Batali?!
Things just got a little worse and then even more worse from there. With many technical issues and KINKS still very visible to us in the audience, I did enjoy getting to see:
Michael Symon doing his cool Iron Chef thing on a segment labeled 5& 5 -5 ingredients in 5 minutes to make the perfect meal (even though Leah had to remind him that he forgot to mention that he heats the Brick up before he pressed it down on the chicken cutlets) was a great segment and something that I would definitely stop and watch if I was flipping through the channels.
Here is a sample of Michael Symons segmants
Carla Hall was fantastic, despite her and the other kinky girl host (Evette Rios) doing the most obnoxious crazy dancing to take us in between segment’s, her segment on -how to make the best out of a seemingly un-savable Kitchen Disaster- with the very catchy tag line (say it with a little twang) “itsgonnabe –OK” was really the only high light of the entire show! ( the truth – that girl should have her own show entirely to her fun self)
Here is a sample of some of Carla’s segments
The other 3 Hosts like Clinton Kelly from WHAT NOT TO WEAR ( doing his best as moderator and MC but just not his witty sarcastic self we love on his show with Stacy London)
Evette Rios (Home DIY Décor) did an ok segment on making over the last Blonde Girl Host (who was so unmemorable that I don’t even have her name – she is some healthy living person?) , tiny kitchen with only $250 and in less than 24 hours. These girls were really just fluff and really did not contribute to the shows appeal at all!
Instead of Host Chat – like the ladies at The View where we get to see them interact with each other and talk about their personal lives and opinions – making them much more endearing and personable to us the audience – these 5 people were all over the place, crowding and talking on top of each other.
I felt like I was watching them perform in a talent show – where the winner was whoever would be the one who could make themselves get noticed the first –a contact sport involving , pushing and shoving to the front of the screen.
Maybe my expectations were to high – and I was bitterly disappointed that Mario was not there – But if I were Mario Batali, I would stay in Italy ! Because THE CHEW, left a bad taste in my mouth
I did however get a pic with Michael Symon – all was not lost that day!
PS. My friends & I were expecting a Q&A after the show with the executive producers- But for some reason it never happened. When we went over to them to offer our unsolicited opinions – we were sent on our merry little way. So I did the next best thing – and blogged about it
I will watch on Sept 26th when THE CHEW goes Live and I finally get to see Mario Batali do his thing. Who know I might just have to “CHEW” my words!
Here is another blog article of someone reviewing- and my answer to his question – the fans who lost their beloved soaps – will be LIVID when then see what replaces them!