Hurricane Matthew may have forced ABC’s The Chew into a compressed taping schedule at Epcot this week, but the genial cast didn’t show signs of the pressure at the production I attended Wednesday morning. The Chew was shooting on location at Walt Disney World to promote the 21st Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.
As a member of the local media, I was invited to view the taping of the cooking show and participate in a group interview with the cast afterward. You can watch the interview here:
Although this was not the first time I have been in the audience of a television production, it certainly was a different — and more fun — experience.
Our small group of bloggers was seated close to the stage about a half hour before the taping was scheduled to begin. Once the other audience members filed in, the show’s comedian, R.C. Smith, began to warm up the crowd. Smith did a great job keeping the crowd excited about the show. He told jokes, he interacted with the audience, and he even got people to clap and sing along to high-energy songs both before the taping began and on the commercial breaks.
Before the cast segments began, the audience had some “work” to do. We were asked to clap and laugh at different intervals while the cameras filmed crowd shots that would be edited into the final program. The cast — Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, Mario Batali, Daphne Oz and Michael Symon — came out on stage and greeted the audience before heading down the pathway they would use for their entrance at The Chew’s start.
Then it was time for the show, which focuses on cooking shortcuts, to begin. The episode’s theme was Kicked Up Classics. As such, the chefs taught us new takes on Veal Parmesean (It wasn’t breaded); bratwurst (It WAS breaded); and an adult grilled cheese (It was reinvented with pumpkin and gorgonzola dolce).
In addition, Chef Carla gave viewers a look at Art Smith’s Homecoming, a new restaurant at Disney Springs. She had visited with Smith earlier in the week when he taught her how to make his signature Hummingbird Cake. (Smith was Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef for about a decade. His Hummingbird Cake was one that Winfrey often requested for birthday celebrations.) As a special treat, audience members each were given a piece of the signature cake to sample while the video of Hall’s visit played at the taping.
Sound good? Recipes for dishes made on the show are posted online an hour before the show airs. Kicking Up Classics will air at 1 p.m. EST (noon PT) Tuesday (Oct. 11) on ABC affiliates.
If cooking is the main dish, audience games and celebrity appearances are the sides. In between the cooking segments, participants were chosen to play games that related to the classics theme, including one where the contestant had to match Disney theme parks with their opening dates. And R&B singer Ne-Yo made an appearance, claiming he wasn’t a cook but was willing to learn how to prepare a new dish.
Even if you couldn’t attend a taping of The Chew, fans can taste dishes inspired by the talk show at The Chew Collective at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Look for Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots and Feta Cheese; Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce; and Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Drizzle. The dishes can be paired with this year’s exclusive new Festival Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, also available at The Chew Collective.
The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival runs through Nov. 14, and admission is included with your Epcot ticket or annual pass.