Lidia Bastianich and Nicole Sims enjoying Ziti with Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Salted Ricotta in a break between filming segments
A week ago I mentioned that I had the good fortune to attend the live taping of a pilot cooking webcast show — at everyday cook — for Borders Books that featured Lidia Bastianich doing recipes from her forthcoming book Lidia's Italy. It was a blast, and I can't wait to see the show!
We attendees gradually gathered outside of everyday cook with great anticipation. When we filed into the everyday cook kitchen, we found it transformed into a studio. Cables and equipment everywhere, camera men catching pre-show stills and checking their gear, black cloth over the windows, and temporary lighting hung everywhere to light up the kitchen. The audience area was a series of high cocktail tables dressed with tablecloths, bottled water, and wine glasses. A camera man overheard me as I mused aloud about the best place to sit and he directed us to an unclaimed table right in front of the stovetop. Perhaps it had gone unclaimed because it was tucked tightly between two camera stations and a post. Joe and I squeezed in to the table, and I have to say we enjoyed some of the best seats in the house.
Show producer Rich Fahle of Borders welcomed us all and explained how the taping would go. There were be several segments with breaks between each one. We were to be as quiet as possible during the taping and to not leave our seats if at all possible. (But if we absolutely had to get up, please don't waltz in front of the cameras!) Lidia's two co-hosts were Nicole Sims who runs Skip to My Roux and Mark, a Border's executive. Food TV fans might remember Nic from All Star Kitchen Makeover when she won a kitchen make-over designed by Alton Brown. She was the main host, and did such a professional job that Joe (who didn't know who she was) was convinced she was a moonlighting news anchor.
Lidia kicked the show off with a simple appetizer of frico with apples and cheese and from there she mesmerized the audience with her mix of cooking lore and personal stories as she walked Nic and Mark through each recipe. Her enthusiasm was infectious! We were served small bits of the frico and the pasta during the show, along with enough wine to keep us all happy. At the end of the show, the dishes were put out buffet style and the audience was invited to eat. There was no fear of there not being enough food. Even after everyone went through the line, there was enough for seconds.
As much fun as I was having in the audience, watching both the show and also watching the camera crew move around and give their directions in hand signals, Nic looked like she was having a blast in front of the camera. I asked her what it was like to film this show with Lidia, and she said:
"It was great fun to work with her. Lidia is a consummate professional and also a very kind and warm woman. She also was very generous in her assistance in getting us all ready for primetime, from food prep to blocking out the conversations for the camera. Since I really connect with food and family the way she does, I felt a natural kinship as I really "get" where she's coming from with this book from her heart and it was just like having a friend come over and hang in the kitchen and share meaningful food stories."
I don't have any further information about when this webcast will be available, but I know the plan is to do a series. In the meantime, if you want to get as close as possible to hanging out in the kitchen with Lidia while sharing her cooking and her stories, check out a copy of Lidia's Italy — it's available this Tuesday, April 10. (We got an advance copy, and I've been cooking from it all week...)
- Frico with Apples and Montasio Cheese, paired with Fantinel Prosecco Extra Dry NV. This crisp "pancake" is a delightful way to enjoy cheese and apples together. (Recipe for Frico with Apples and Montasio Cheese below.)
- Ziti with Tomatoes, Eggplant, and Salted Ricotta, with Borgo Maddalena Tocai Friulano 2005. Simple and fresh!
- Sausages with Fennel and Olives with SFIDA Primitivo/Cabernet Sauvignon Blend. We particularly enjoyed the wine with this one.
- And for dessert Lidia showed how easy it is (and Nic and Mark showed that it does require a little practice, but practice makes perfect!) to make crepes for Crêpes with Chocolate and Walnuts.
Wines were supplied by everyday wines in Kerrytown:
Fantinel Prosecco Extra Dry NV — $13.99
Borgo Maddalena Tocai Friulano 2005 — $14.99
SFIDA Primitivo/Cabernet Sauvignon Blend — $10.99
Lidia doing pre-show prep. From left to right are Chewy, Lidia, Brendan (behind Lidia), another chef brought in to help, Rich the Borders producer, a cameraman, and Mary, owner of everyday cook.