The past three days of this week in Vancouver have been challenging — early morning TV show appearances and evening cooking classes. I'm not a morning person so waking up at 6am three days in a row and going to bed soon after I get back from teaching was, frankly weird. But hey, when it rains, it pours and you just shouldn't say "no" to TV exposure. Plus I like the spontaneity of television.
The day before each TV appearance, I prepped the demo and packed up all my stuff — small wares, equipment, food, and props — knowing that I'd only be able to somewhat blindly get everything together minutes before my ride arrived. Here's a recap of how things went:
Monday, September 10: City TV's Breakfast Television
My alarm didn't go off and when I woke up, it was 6:43 a.m.! Random House publicist Trish Kells was picking me up at 7:10 a.m. I showered and did my hair very quickly, then grabbed my bus tub (remember how my favorite piece of gear for food gigs is the bus tub?). Trish was outside waiting and we drove to the studio in downtown Vancouver. Breakfast TV had coffee and rolls, and more importantly – a make up person. I needed to be camera friendly.
Turns out I'd been in the studio years before with Nathan Fong to film a segment from the Vietnamese book. It's a great kitchen. We were all having a fun time — camera crew, show host Jody Vance and I talking about tofu and feeding it to kids when suddenly, we were live! Yikes, time to cook.
The smoked pressed tofu stir-fried with pepper and pork turned out well; the recipe is in the "Main Dishes" chapter of Asian Tofu. Jody seriously love the dish, and asked for a signed copy of the book after we taped. The four minutes flew by like 2 minutes. Here I am with Jody, posing with a forkful of tofu.
City TV doesn't let me grab the embed code to place the video here for you to watch. But you can jump to their site to watch the tofu action.
Tuesday, September 11: CTV Morning News
This my first time in a operating news room and it was so exciting. We had to be quiet while the weatherman did his thing in front of a green screen. Producer prepped show host Aamer Haleem well. He asked great questions, and before taping, we joked about how pronouncing "Nguyen" is a win-win situation. Hahahaha. As the weather man said, "If you do morning TV, you have to be funny. It's too early to be serious."
Aamer and I had a riotous time and the segment was about 6 minutes long — a lifetime in television. I had a swap out of the dressing he'd made, and off camera, he faked being a pissy about working so hard on air.
Right after we finished the dish, everyone came over to taste it. Then we whipped out our phones for a group photo.
There was no script for the comedic interaction between me, Aamer, and the tofu. Watch me make the Japanese white tofu and vegetable salad with him; the recipe is in the "Salads and Sides" chapter of Asian Tofu. (Sorry that I can't insert the video into the post. There's no embed function on the CTV site.)
Wednesday, September: Global TV Morning News
By the time I got to Wednesday morning, I was tired. I'd been making dumplings from scratch the night before for 16 people in the master classs. Somehow, I got up at 6am, ready for action.
That said, what I wasn't prepared for was a studio that was totally controlled by robotics. There was one woman with a handheld camera but show host Sophie Liu spoke to screens. She was wired and heard the producers' cues.
I typically review what we'll do with the show host and then we do it on the spot — when the camera people tell you to roll. That's why in this video I'm looking into space at the beginning. But then, we got talking and cooking. Everything worked out great. I just had to warm up to the high-tech studio and talk to the screens. This time, I can share the video with you!
Sophie loves tofu and the spicy yuba ribbons (see the "Salads and Sides" chapter in Asian Tofu for the recipe) it her vegetarian diet. I left the leftovers on set for her and the crew.
Upcoming Asian Tofu in the media…
- Saturday, Sept. 15, 11am: KCRW Good Food with Evan Kleinman (radio segment)
- Monday, Sept. 17, 11am-ish: King 5, New Day Northwest (live TV, Seattle)
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