Diary of a Wannabe TV Chef: I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night
Originally published on Well Fed on August 12, 2009.
This is the latest installment in a continuing series that documents my personal quest to become the host of my own cooking show. Since this is a relatively new “career,” there are no vocational programs or community college courses to prepare me for it. From what I have seen, the two most important elements in securing such a position are passion for food and plain old dumb luck. Born with a passion for food, I set out to make my own luck.
I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night
So now I’m Stuart the food “journalist,” the food “critic.” And life is good, my friends. My editors love the style I have evolved of doing a paragraph or two about five or six restaurants in a given genre rather than the more familiar method of one article dedicated to a single establishment. Sure, part of the reason this has developed into my “style” is so that I get to eat at five or ten restaurants on any given assignment but also because I have a lot to say.
At the same time I begin writing for Current Publications I also start blogging for the foodie site Well Fed Network. Rather than being just one site WFN is exactly what it’s name implies, a network, or more aptly a syndicate. Several food related virtual magazines each focusing on different elements of food. I become a writer for Cook Smarter doing product reviews, Well Fed On The Town offering restaurant reviews and the two blogs I still contribute to Paper Palate (reviews and articles about food publications) and Edible TV (dedicated to TV chefs).
With this modicum of fame comes a few perks. Like being invited to the opening of Mobile’s first wine bar aptly named The Wine Loft. I am quickly ushered to meet the owners, the manager, the chef. I am treated to glasses of wine, plates of exquisite cheeses and various other sundry hors devours. It’s like being in a different world, Mobile is not a town where restaurants open with any fanfare so a gala like this is rare. Not only do I get good articles for both Current and WFN, but I also establish a relationship with an eatery that will play a reoccurring role in my pursuit of being a TV chef.
I meet so-and-so, who is a photographer for the society section of the newspaper that owns the rags I write for and he helps me navigate my first media event. I then meet what’s-her-name, who is the late-night weekend anchor for one of the local TV stations. That-guy-over-there is a city councilman. And I meet Wade.
Wade is working as a server to earn a little extra cash and to network the influential guests. As it turns out, he is the producer for an upstart local production company. They produce two regular TV programs and have been looking to expand their résumé with a cooking show. Cards are exchanged and a tentative meeting is set-up.
From the set-back of being laid off from my sous chef/kitchen manger job to being a food writer who is setting up a meeting with a production company is roughly five months. And it has been just four years since beginning this quest. This is merely the first big thrill on this roller coaster; there are plenty more twists and turns before the ride finishes.