Last Sunday afternoon, I went to the Chelsea market, home of the Food Network Studios in New York City, to watch a live taping of a new Guy Fieri show. The one-hour long special, Guy's Family Feast, focuses on Guy's family and will air sometime in December or January. To find out what it was like to view the taping,
- Upon arrival in the studio the atmosphere is intense. The seating director looked me up and down and decided where I would sit in the audience.
- Before the show started, a comedian named Q trained the audience how to clap, when to cheer, and told us not to look directly into the cameras.
- Everything is incredibly scripted. Several TV monitors list instructions so Guy knows when to "chop bell peppers" or "place the meat in marinade."
- There are some fun videos including the intro to the special: Guy, clad in a black leather jacket, runs through the streets on New York, sliding over taxi cabs, jumping over mailboxes, before he bursts into the studio to cook.
- His entire family participated in the shoot. His son chopped onions, his wife and father cracked crab, his mother went to the market to purchase shrimp, and his sister helped make granola.
- Although Guy made four dishes (pork with bok choy pasta, cioppino, granola, and a banana malt shake), there was minimal cooking involved in the taping. He probably only spent about 10 minutes actually cooking.
- The shoot was broken into six segments with five commercial breaks in between the segments. During each break a team of five to six Food Network chefs would totally change the kitchen. The raw pork Guy placed in the oven was replaced with a perfectly cooked piece of pork. The trash was emptied, the counters were whipped clean, the floor was swept, etc.
- The audience was given a mini pork sandwich at the third commercial break and a bag of cookies at the fourth.
- After the show was finished filming, the audience had to stay seated for extra camera shots.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed the experience. The show sort of felt like a test of Guy Fieri's skills. The network is obviously looking for someone to fill Emeril Lagasse's live-cooking-show shoes. Still, I'm excited to see the finished product. What do you think of my observations? Will you tune into Guy's Family Feast?