Behind the Scenes at CBS Early Show

As proficient as I am in the kitchen and navigating online, you’d be surprised how inept I am at operating an alarm clock. It doesn’t even matter if the clock is a regular bedside alarm/radio contraption, on my computer or on my phone. I even have trouble with setting up hotel wake-up calls.

I always screw it up.

So, last Friday, when I had to wake up at 4:45am to be picked up by a car service at 5:45am so that to be at theΒ cbs-early-show-logo CBS Early Show studios in New York City precisely at 5:45:30am (no that’s not a typo), I not only set my alarm on my computer AND my iPhone, but I also made my friend Rachelle set her Google phone too.

Surely ONE of those gadgets would wake me up!

But I was so freaked out about NOT waking up that I don’t think I ever even went to sleep! Please tell me that happens to you too???

CBS arranged to have me, Rachelle and my son, Nathan stay in a beautiful hotel right across the street from Central Park and only a block and a half away from the CBS Studios.

On Thursday, the day before I was to go on, we arrived at the studios to do a quick kitchen walk-through and to choreograph the segment. The producer told me that I was going to be picked up by a car service the next morning at 5:45am.

I’m like, “A car service?! I can WALK faster than it takes me to find and put on my seatbelt!”

But no, it was their policy that all guests of the show get driven to the studio for security reasons. Which I think really was code for “so that we know you’d get your ass to the studio on time!” πŸ˜‰

Precisely at 5:45am, I step out of the front door of the hotel and was greeted by the driver.

This is what 5:45am looks like without coffee:


The left photo was when we departed. By the time I clicked the shutter button, we had arrived at the studio – which it the blurry lights on the right hand side photo. I even asked the driver if he felt silly picking up people and only driving a block and half….and if he wanted to go around the block a few times just to feel better, I’d be all for it.

He said, “nope!”

Clearly, *I* was the only one with issues about driving a block and half.

At exactly 5:45 and 30 seconds in the morning, I arrived at the studio ready to prep for my segment.

First things first, COFFEE. Ahhhh….things are much more clear after hot coffee. This is the prep kitchen and the very lovely and talented food stylist.


We did all of our prep work here in the back kitchen – the food stylist did all the work, I just was there for answering questions and helping out a bit here and there. She made the Grilled Lamb Chops with Asian Pesto, Miso Mashed Potatoes for the segment and then also the Chocolate Wontons, Shrimp Chips with Spiced Beef and the Passionfruit Chili Martini as the “beauty dishes” — lots of work so early in the morning!

I also got hair and makeup done.


My outfit was all matchy-matchy with the set.


Then everything was whisked away upstairs to the set.


The food stylist and the prop stylist quickly worked during commercial breaks to get everything set up.






I had a little over 4 minutes to do the segment, and I knew I was going to run out of time and not be able to talk or show everything. I’ve seen food segments where the chef is frantic towards the end because he/she has run out of time and is trying to quickly cram in whatever was rehearsed. Which totally ruins the entire segment because when the chef is frenetic…the viewers become really nervous for the chef.

And this is the one thing that I’ve learned in doing live television for the past 2 years. It’s okay to run out of time. And it’s okay if the food processor gives you a hissy fit! Here’s the clip:

The most important thing is to go with the flow, have fun and most importantly, always have a cocktail on the set.


A big big thanks to CBS Early Show behind-the-scenes staff as well as hosts Harry Smith and Debbye Bell, Lonnie Quinn and Russ Mitchell.


MacSpeech giving away 300 copies of Steamy Kitchen Cookbook


MacSpeech is one of the reasons I am still blogging. It’s a dictation tool that lets me talk instead of type…I love talking…I hate typing. I found them via online search for dictation tool, bought their product online and love it so much that I raved about it on ABC News Now.

Well, MacSpeech heard about my rave and wanted to give me some love back. They are giving away 300 copies of the Steamy Kitchen Cookbook –Β  every person who purchases a MacSpeech Dictation product gets a free cookbook.

The reason I love MacSpeech so much is because the program is accurate and it comes with a powerful headset microphone. I’m on the computer so much that I needed a way to write without typing as I have painful tendonitis and carpal tunnel.Β  It makes my job so much easier!

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Comments 32

  1. Rebecca Regnier

    Love the behind the scenes! You looked great!
    When I was a morning news anchor I used to put my alarm clock across the room so I would have to get up, walk over and hit it with a hammer.

  2. Winnie

    You looked great and your food looked great! Would never had known you were nervous or tired…you’re so natural!
    ps I freak about waking early for important stuff too…no matter how many alarms are set, I’m convinced they will all fail!

  3. Diana

    OMG, I always have trouble sleeping when I know I have something important earlier than I’m used to getting up! I lay there tossing and turning and looking at the clock every 20 minutes!

  4. Kevin the BeeMan

    I, too, don’t sleep well when I have an early flight. Let alone a live television appearance.

    I also worked in television years ago, but on the other side of the equipment. It’s tough when you (the guest) know the agenda and the poeple driving the bus (the hosts) don’t.

    You did exactly what I would have. Whatever the hosts are supposed to make, have already made. And whatever they do or say, keep funneling them toward the final plating. Harry looked tough to deal with, but nowhere near a Letterman or a Leno. I wouldn’t even attempt those guys.

    Now I gotta go find me some miso…

    Using MacSpeech, don’t you still do a ton of editing? Cripes, it took me forty minutes just to write this post…

  5. S

    I definitely lose sleep in my efforts to wake up on time!
    Driving 1.5 blocks does sound a bit excessive, but a policy is a policy, eh? πŸ™‚
    Thanks for the behind-the-scenes recap! You did a great job on the show—without being the “frenetic chef!”

  6. Single Guy Ben

    You’re such a pro! Did your son have to wake up too at that time? I would be all grumpy. I probably wouldn’t have slept either but then I wouldn’t have been able to function as well as you since I don’t drink coffee. πŸ™‚

  7. Rachelle

    LOL! I even had a nightmare about not waking up in time!!! I dreamed that a bunch of people came into the room to wake us up and we ran down to the studio in our pajamas. And then I woke up for real and Nathan had a mohawk to contend with. Too funny.

  8. cakebrain

    So here I am, typing away on my blog and I thought you were superwoman doing the same thing; typing the old-fashioned way (albeit way more frequently and way better than me!) So that’s the secret. Hm. I’ll have to look into this MacSpeech thing!
    You guys look like you’re having so much fun! What a great recipe with the miso mashed potatoes! I’ll have to use that for an upcoming dinner!

  9. Argus In Winterus

    Did I not say 3 years ago that you were made for TV with your gift of the gab? Did I not?! :)) Congratulations, Mrs H! I’m cheering for you all the way from Switzerland. Rosy and warm reds are really your colours!

  10. Kristin

    Hilarious! I totally know how the world feels before coffee…not a nice place! Your pictures are so amazing! I totally got the feel of your experience. You look really great and so does the food! Congrats on yet another success!
    XOXO Bitchin’ Lifestyle Crew

  11. Dawn

    We were on the road Friday so I missed the live version, but just watched the vid on You are a natural, Jaden! I’ve been wanting to try those miso mashed potatoes for a while now. I think they would be really great with a piece of tender grilled fish, like halibut or black cod.

  12. French Cooking for Dummies

    After missing a few flights and getting late to my goddaughter baptism (ahem..I’m quite ashamed of that one), I can say I’m like you: I’m not able to sleep anymore when something important is happening the next morning πŸ˜‰ Great post, I really enjoyed reading it!

  13. ThisFineLife

    The dishes looked delicious! & you looked great as well, but there was a lot of (nervous) laughter there. You didn’t sound nervous but why all the laughter?

  14. Tampa Cheryl

    The video clip was awesome!!! You maintained control and it looked great. I hope that you got to enjoy NYC. It’s so nice there and hard to get a bad meal. As a superstar will you claim to be from Tampa or from the other bay area? I think my cookbook may become a collector’s item!!

  15. Kiran

    Love how you maintained a steady composure as compared to the CBS hosts. Both were all over the place! Confused souls πŸ˜€

  16. Sopheavy

    Congrats with the CBS Early Show! It looked so pretty! Ditto about not sleeping because you didn’t want to be late! I am so bad with waking up early. I set on like a gazillion alarms at the loudest ring tones. My husband even calls me to wake me up and I still don’t hear it most times. My mom always tell me that I could sleep through a tornado and not even know it. One time I was spending the night at my friend’s house because she knows how bad I am about waking up in the morning and also we had a photo project for a client early that morning so she wanted to make sure we get there on time. Well she thought I was crazy when I told her I put tons of alarms on and not hear it. Anyway, she put the alarm in the room I was staying in at her house at the loudest ringtone and it’s the one that doesn’t go off until you stop it and she put it on the farthest corner of the room. She said that morning she heard the alarm go off and thought I was going to wake up and turn it off but it didn’t. She said she waited about 15 minutes to see if I was going to turn it off until it drove her crazy hearing it blaring from the other side of the house. When she went in the room I was still sleeping and she actually bumped into the bed lightly while running to turn the alarm off and she said I woke up. She couldn’t believe that little bump woke me up when the friggin alarm didn’t lol. Another time I was out of town with friends and we didn’t want to be late for our 4AM red eye flight so we decided not to sleep that night and sat in the pool to keep awake. Of course I had contacts on and I had literally “red eyes” when I got on the plane. Of course I snored the entire time back home on the plane lol.

  17. zurin

    You are extremely funny. congrats on the show and I wld feel bad if the driver had to drive such a short distance. I wld just sit in the car with one foot out the door feeling apologetic. And yes i stay awake out of fear of not waking up for whatever reason.

    “matchy-matchy”…that had me in stitches….. it is so funny to hear that said in English because as far as I know only the Malay language/Indonesian language uses double words but of course in a different way.

    I like funny people. :)))

  18. rita

    just like most everyone else, i also have the jitters the night before a big event. but as always, you rose to the occasion and you did extremely well. you are such a pro! love your outfit, too.

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