Saturday, July 19, 2008

On the Set of "Pressure Cooker": My Brush with Reality TV

The teaching kitchens of Niagara College Culinary Arts Department served as the main locale

Recently I was invited to attended the first day of orientation and rehearsal for a new 'reality based' tv show called "Pressure Cooker TV" created by Hamilton's own Forevergreen Productions. Evergreen is known for its "The TV Wine Guy" and "Extreme Golf" series. As a 'stand-by' cast member, I was on hand in case anyone couldn't make it.

The producers assembled a cast of accomplished and dedicated chefs to participate in a week's worth of competitions and filming. Each participant would be paid a fee for each match in which they participated, and 'eliminated' participants would be forced to stay on the lush, scenic campus of Niagara College, the production's home base. They would be taken on tours of wineries, restaurants and "perhaps even play a little golf", according to the orientation guide received by each finalist. To me, even getting to that level would have been a dream come true:

There are 9 culinary ‘matches’ in total. Each match is an elimination event. If you are eliminated earlier than you’d hoped, you will have some opportunity to be toured throughout the region. Wine tours, local chef establishments, Niagara Falls, Niagara escarpment Ball’s Falls, Old Forts or other historic sites, Welland Canal. Your nights are free to do as you please. The location is 10 minutes from the historic town of Niagara on the Lake , the Shaw Theatre, the spirited Port Dalousie night life or the city of St. Catharines and unlimited very good golf courses.

There's a luxurious food holiday for the second prize winner, and the grand prize of $10,000 goes to whoever is strong enough survive and win against some pretty fierce competitors, sixteen in all.

Cast member Anne-Marie Ellis (left) with
Production Assistant Anneke taking a lunch break, with crew member Hugh in the background

Too stormy for lunch outside but some were willing to face the elements...

(left) A rain-soaked participant drawing a poker chip to pick his team, with Producer Alan Aylward of Forevergreen Communications, a Hamilton-based production company. Alan was also responsible for "The TV Wine Guy" and "Extreme Golf"

(below) Two members of the Kitchen Judge Team, who observed kitchen practices and behaviour to award points to the contestants. There is also a panel of three high-profile restuarant chefs who will be the tasting judges throughout the week

The four teams assemble and assess as their kitchen orientation begins

Setting themselves up for success?

The show's heart monitor expert adjusting the sophistcated devices worn by each of the competitors; individual heart rates will be part of the excitement as the action unfolds

Wireless microphones, to be worn by judges and contestants alike

The picture of the video technicians was shot through a glass wall overlooking two of the competition's kitchens; a seamstress applies finishing touches to our monogrammed and custom-tailored uniforms; and my favourite souvenir...

Warning: poor audio quality in this clip I shot!


Rizzy said...

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Rubys Inn Bryce can said...

I suppose this a prestigious reality TV shows. I think you will make a dishes that is healthy and affordable.

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