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It Takes A Village

I am not a phone person but my mom is. She often calls me in a huff,

“Where the hell have you been, Munz?

“Mom, we spoke yesterday morning.”

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Even though we don’t live in the same state and in her eyes we do not speak nearly enough, we are very close. But more importantly, her sometimes harsh life lessons, I refer to them as Franisim’s,  which have been branded into my thoughts early on, have now streamed their way into my adulthood psyche.

Here are just a few:

“You can’t polish shit”

 

“I would bet the ranch” (FYI, we did not grow up on a ranch)

 

“It is what it is”

 

What you don’t want bites you in the ass”

 

And recently, “It takes a village”

 

Originally, she was referring to the immense amount of energy, strength, love and support it takes to raise a child. Especially my highly active two year old nephew, Theo.

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But for me, this statement represents the massive amount of collective sweat, passion, and drive it takes to produce a culinary show.

The “Village” is comprised of, schools of people honing their skills and working simultaneously to get the job done. From the day the call sheet drops to the day the entire set is broken down, on load out, there is a unified goal. To create a quality food program, executed in a timely manner that appeals to a greater audience.

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From the culinary producers who write the script and make the show come alive, to the shoppers who forage the globe for specialized ingredients from fiddlehead ferns to exotic Hawaiian fish and even whole chicken in a can. From the culinary team who styles the heart of the show, to the dish pit who puts it all back together. And this is just one department…a single piece of the puzzle.

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Don’t get me wrong. Witnessing Rachel Ray’s fierce work ethic, plowing through nearly 100 episodes on Week in a Day, with pure grace and barely any retakes, after badly burning her fingers while preparing zucchini blossoms for her husband…

To Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell pouring guidance and culinary skills into their candidates, who couldn’t boil water before they walked onto the set, transforming them into confident cooks turning out restaurant quality fare…

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To be standing in the pulse of Kitchen Stadium as a live battle erupts and the chairman sounds, A La Cuisine;  to see the reflection of the flames off my colleagues cheeks as we spectate one time culinary creations come together on Iron Chef of America

Are all priceless moments of my career.

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But, what pulls me out of bed at 4am, are the talented people I work with behind the scenes.

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We spend countless hours, side by side, plucking and primping produce, trimming Mahi Maui into silky filets, and transforming boxes of canned beans and varied vinegars into colorful pyramids. All while bonding while we work.

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I have had a taste of both spectrums of office style conformation.

From working at lifestyle boutique firms where our press release and story pitching days extended into our networking evenings, hopping from cocktail events to restaurant openings, like the brat pack. The office energy was vibrant and interactive with a balance of collaborative and personal responsibility.

To working at one of the oldest standing companies in New York where I organized 2.0 tech strategies and events for practicing lawyers where in a minutes time I could tune out the world with a shut of the door to my sterile office.

 

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In the culinary world you rarely sit.  Life is a community effort. Even when I take a quick bathroom break I can hear the echo of what is going on, set-wise through my walky-talky. As a social introvert, this style of energy appeals to my social side.

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The pace is fast and if you cannot execute, you will be eaten up and spit out. But with 14 hour plus days, friendships are formed and a depth of personal ground is covered. From break-ups to make-ups, to family issues, to losing loved ones and welcoming newborns … To career changes and neighborhood moves, to all the juicy splendor of online dress purchases and what delicious ramen you sampled over the weekend–is shared.

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I have absorbed a powerful skill-set from my peers and expanded that knowledge by learning from the array of other departments involved, advancing with a strengthened foundation after each unique project.

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Where ever this life takes me, guided by writing and exploring, I am certain that a portion of my time will be carved out for the Food Network and other culinary production projects. Being part of a process that is so vastly strategic and coincidentally creative which can only be accomplished by a Village, or as I like to think of it as a “family”, will never lose its satisfaction.

 

“This is dedicated to all the Food Network folks”

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Satisfy your senses,
Amanda (follow me on Twitter!)


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