In the last year, quite a few interesting opportunities have come my way, and I’ve been able to try many new things. I’ve appeared on TV; modeled; belted out show tunes, pop, and R&B at karaoke; and experienced SCUBA diving for the first time.
With my love of food and knack for appearing on Australian TV, I jumped at the chance to be in the studio audience of a cooking show my last week in Oz.
Months ago, Adam submitted a request to be in the studio audience of channel Ten’s popular show Ready Steady Cook. A few weeks ago, he received an email inviting him to one of several tapings, and we booked in straight away.
I must admit, I’ve only watched a few minutes of maybe five episodes in the last year. While I love watching cooking shows like Top Chef in the US and Master Chef in Australia, Ready Steady Cook never captured my attention. That wouldn’t keep me from going behind the scenes, however, to watch the filming of two episodes. Maybe I’d even get a few free nibbles of food?!
We hopped on an early train, joining dozens of commuters in suits headed to the city. It felt good not to be on the way to work
We arrived at Ten’s studios in time for the light refreshments they had promised. I didn’t expect much from “light refreshments” but surely they intended to offer more than the plate of store bought biscuits/cookies, a pitcher of water, and black coffee. I’m not complaining — I ate breakfast and didn’t plan on eating what I assumed would be juice and pastries. I’m simply surprised that a cooking show on a major network only provided a few cookies on a plate.
Ready Steady Cook features a 20-minute cook off between two Australian chefs, each with their own unique bag of ingredients. Both chefs have an “assistant” — these assistants are friends or family members who have previously participated in the studio audience. The show’s host spends a lot of time interviewing the assistants, learning about their cooking background and hobbies, so they have little time to actually chop, dice, and mix. It’s all about the two chefs whipping up several dishes in a limited time frame. Finally, the studio audience votes whether the Tomato or Capsicum (that’s a bell pepper for most of you reading this) team prepared the best dish.
I had heaps of fun witnessing the making of two episodes from start to finish. First, the audience “warm up” woman was fantastic at her job — she kept us cheering and clapping time after time. She chatted with people throughout the audience, made jokes with ease, and held a talent competition during a longer break. Second, while we didn’t get to taste the dishes, we could certainly appreciate the efforts of the chefs. Adam and I were both impressed with the speed in which they brainstormed a menu, prepared and cooked the ingredients, and plated the dishes. When it came time to vote for a winner, we simply selected Tomato or Capsicum based on which chef’s creation we’d most like to eat. And yes, we had a large card to hold up for voting — one side with a giant tomato and the other featuring a capsicum.
We also were some of the first people to meet Colin, the show’s new host. Apparently he’s so new that the episodes on TV at the moment still feature the previous host. Adam and I thought he did a great job, so I decided to say hi after filming. He was surprised to hear my accent and seemed fairly impressed that an American has lived in Australia for a year and not just popped over for a 1 or 2-week holiday.
I have no clue when the two episodes will air, but I’m going to keep an eye on the Ready Steady Cook website from home. Hopefully a friend in Australia can record it and send it my way (*hint*!). And hopefully a friend in the US will join me on a studio audience adventure in the next year!
Featured image taken by Brooke. Has nothing to do with this post but I wanted to use it.