Have you ever watched HSN TV -- the 24-hour retail television channel - and thought to yourself, "I wonder how people get to be guest hosts?" Thanks to an opportunity through working at Allrecipes, I got to do just that!
My first time at HSN was one of those life experiences I will never forget. It was a three-day whirlwind of training, practicing, and familiarizing myself with the world of live retail television. People always say the lights are so bright the first time on set, and I thought I was prepared for that -- but wow! My eyes were seeing stars until they adjusted.
Actually, it took a lot of preparation to get me to this moment. After weeks of cooking with the new saute set, my videographer friend had come to my house for a practice video shoot, in which I tried to look calm while whipping up many recipes on a stovetop. A few days later, Allrecipes Dish editor Leslie Kelly did a Facebook Live recording of me in the Allrecipes test kitchen, cooking Chicken Piccata while talking about the cookware. So far, so good!
After all the practicing in Seattle, I was off to Clearwater, Florida.
There, I met with Jumpstart, a company that coaches and prepares guests for HSN appearances. They have a kitchen studio with props, cameras, and a control room. I practiced the demo over and over again, memorizing the script, and trying to learn which camera to look at when. It was such a valuable day; I felt so prepared.
The second day was the show run-through at HSN. All of the Saturday Morning Market guests met at HSN and we talked through the entire show with the producer, camera crew, and set crew. It was a huge room with 3 sets – 2 kitchens and a market room. So many moving parts! Then I was swooped away for my new guest training. Yes, another training!
On the morning of the show, I woke up at 4:30 and walked on the treadmill while reciting the script. I felt nervous but ready. At HSN, I was set up in my green room, then taken to make-up, then to meet with the food stylist who made all 10 of the recipes I was to present in the 14-minute slot. We organized the cookware on set, learned how to work the 6 burners, and where my tools, plates, towels, and food prep would be. It was a lot to take in, but I was ready.
Then lights, camera, action! The show began at 8 a.m. It felt simultaneously like a whirlwind and like time was moving like molasses.
Before I knew it, my set was rolled into the kitchen, I got mic’d, and Donatella, the host was standing next to me. I told her it was my first time on television. She gave me a quick reassuring hug, and we were live. Fried chicken, corn on the cob, biscuits, egg scramble, Chicken Piccata, rice and steamed seafood, Kalua Pork, Blackberry Cobbler, Pecan French toast, and zoodles were cooked, fried, whisked, and eaten -- all in 14 minutes, and all while discussing the features and benefits of the Allrecipes 3-Piece Saute Set.
The set was rolled away and we were done. Fourteen minutes felt like the blink of an eye. The take-home messages from this experience: smile, have fun, and know your product.
I really feel at one with the Stackable 3-Piece Saute Set… I look lovingly at the shiny stainless steel steamer and saute pan all stacked on my kitchen shelf, happy to know I will back on the HSN set August 2nd speaking about a whole new set of cookware!
How did I do? and find out!