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!