Behind the scenes

It’s hard to capture the moments on my camera sometimes when I’m smack dab in the middle of the action. Outside of my little food world in my kitchen, there’s no “pause” button or “do-over” button in life while I fumble with my camera.

By the time I whip out the camera, turn it on, adjust, focus and click,

The moment is gone.

And it’s just not quite the same to say, “hey guys, um…I missed that moment, can you spill that drink all over yourself again?”

So for my very first book signing party in my hometown, I handed my beloved camera to Nathan. He’s almost 5, so of course I duct-taped the camera around his forehead, over his shoulder so he couldn’t drop it. With specific instructions on “take a picture of these lovely people” and “take a pic of this yummy plate of food!”, here is Nathan’s take on the evening.


I love the eyes of a 5 year old!

Right after that party, I was off to NYC, where my first event was the NYC Dumpling Festival. Oh…what’s this coming my way?


Hmmm…closer inspection…


It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a massive dumpling filled with BABY dumplings – I think like close to 1,200 dumplings. This thing weighed 900+ pounds.


I was the M.C. for the Dumpling Festival sponsored by TMI Foods, the makers of frozen dumplings, noodles and dumpling wrappers. They raised $30,000 for the Food Bank of NYC that day! I could just lay here and fall asleep on this giant pillow.


I never got a chance to show you behind the scenes at the Today Show. The day before I went on air, we had a rehearsal. Yes, a rehearsal because this show is very professionally produced and they probably wanted to meet me first to make sure that I was not an insane person who dresses up like Rachael Ray….well…at least in Photoshop anyways.

When I get there, I was all ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work prepping for my segment.

There’s vegetables to cut! Meat to marinate!

But nope.


Everything was already done. evvvveerrrryything.

There’s a kitchen staff that chops, preps, styles, organizes and choreographs. All I had to do was walk through the what we were going to do on the segment and make sure all the ingredients were in place.


My segment was to be 4 minutes 45 seconds and we literally walked through every second of the segment – timing everything and even choreographing the exact moment when we walk over to the stove, when the rice is stirred and what gets handed over to whom with what hand.


Yeah, so was I, especially when I scribbled my notes on the back of a crusty envelope.


And then…they asked me, “Shall we go to the prop room and pick out dishes?”

I nearly fainted. I want. Mommy.


Could I sneak past security and bring home with me? Will all cram in my suitcase?

The next day, they sent a car to my hotel to come pick me up and then I was promptly whisked to the green room.

Which isn’t green.

But who cares because Rod Stewart is in the house!


I got made up like a big girl.


As I was waiting for my turn to go downstairs to the studio, I had a moment of panic.

What if the kitchen crew all called in sick today? SHITSHITSHITSHIT!!!

But sure enough, they were all there. Very busily getting things ready for the segment.


There was nothing for me to do.


Except just stand there and look all purty.


And then ACTION! (Don’t you love my big whoooooosh! bangs? I forgot to look in the mirror SIDEWAYS) If I haven’t forced you to watch the segment 5 times already, you can click on that image right below and it should go to the video clip.


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Comments 59

  1. Lisa @ The Cooking Bride

    Reading about the giant dumpling reminded me of an old family recipe. My great grandparents immigrated from what is now the Czech Republic. They brought with them our one family recipe we call “the dumpling.” It is a giant ball of dough filled with chopped meat and boiled in a cheese cloth for what seems like a hundred years. It looks like a big pasty white pumpkin and it tastes about as disgusting as it sounds. Why couldn’t we be Italian?

  2. Carolyn Jung

    My gawd, how long does it take to steam a dumpling that big? A week? πŸ˜‰

    You looked great on the “Today” show! Love the hair and makeup. When are they going to wise up and give you your own show? Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. joanna

    Congratulations!!! I can’t wait to get your book! Dang girl, you are so flippin’ fotogenic!!!! lookin’ fabulous as usual!!!!

  4. Argus (Jy)

    Hey, wow! The Today Show! You’ve defo arrived, Mrs H! Congrats!

    (If I use one more exclamation mark, my inner editor is going to flay me like a floppy fish.)

    You’re still wearing a frill — what do you call that wavy collar thing? OK, just kidding – you do look fantastic. Who was that guy who asked you not to wear flounces or whatever? What does he know, ya?

    Smiling for you today, Jaden. :))

  5. The Culinary Sherpas

    We food stylists kick ass! But man, the hours those guys put in. I’m sure it’s like 4am to 1pm. No thanks. Full time is not for me. I’ll stick with opening my restaurant.

    -xxoo miss u! michelle

  6. Charm

    *LOL* Those props were definitely worth the attempt to steal! hahaha I’m kidding of course. Who wants to be sent to jail by the Today show?! =P Anyway, you did great and you LOOKED fabulous! I hope you had a great time! I bet it was an awesome experience… As for the dumpling…all I can say is Mmmmmmmmm. Me like!!!

  7. Lys

    That prop room looks like temptation central…. Again, you did phenomenal on the today show and yes, inquiring minds want to know when we will get to see a Steamy Kitchen tv show πŸ˜‰

  8. Amanda

    Almost kind of sad you didn’t really get to prep anything! LOL That looks like such an incredible time, so happy for you!!

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