Daily thoughts by a guy that doesn't like to think deeply too often!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"Turn Up the Heat"

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Today was a day from hell, mixed with a few silver linings!

My day began when I awoke at 3:30am to get ready for a busy day of catering. I was at work before 5am and out the dor with 3 breakfast deliveries to Emory University, Oracle Corporation and GA Tech. I was back in the office just as the rest of the staff were filing in to begin their day- just in time to get ready for the film crew from TV One's "Turn Up the Heat" TV show to film an episode for their nationally syndicated show.

Normally when I work with a "film crew", it's pretty low-scale and unobtrusive-- a director, a camera operator and that's about it. Today's crew was a little different. There were over twenty members of this crew-- producers, directors, cameramen, lights, host, etc. Within an hour they had transformed the Biscuit. Lights were mounted throughout the restaurant and bakery; monitors were set up in several different rooms and cables ran throughout the restaurant. Several of my co-workers were walking around with hidden microphones attatched to their clothing. At least one of them was treated to a make-up session prior to the filming (PJ wearing lipstick and blush-- who would've ever thunk it?). This was the most chaotic and frenzied (yet very professional) production crew that I've had the pleasure to work with.

The set up and filming went slowly, but it was worth it. They captured some great scenes, and the most beautiful food photography that I've ever seen (the cameraman, Hugh, also works on several popular food shows, including "Iron Chef").

I don't think that I will be on the show when it airs. I walked past the camera a few times, in the background, but for the first time I didn't view this as a chance to be on camera-- it was so professionally done that I got wrapped up in the experience of watching true art evolve before me.

Between scenes I was envolved in some major PR. For those that don't know, there was an article in the newspaper yesterday about the Flying Biscuit being bought by Raving Brands. The article wasn't accurate- there was no buy out- rather a partnership. However, our phones rang all day with questions, my email box was filled with over100 requests to buy into the franchise, the restaurant was filled with people coming in to say their goodbyes to the small town restaurant and staff (thinking that we were bought out and taken over). Several faces from the past showed up with bouquets of flowers in their hands and tears in their eyes- facing what they perceived as the end of an era. Several TV, newspaper and radio reporters called me to find out the details of the buy-out. I've never experienced being in the eye of a media blitz-- it's a crazy feeling! Hell, it's just a restaurant- why does anyone care about it? I guess it's a good thing that our diners are so concerned, but it's getting a little annoying already!

I met a lady named Sandy today that was THE original waitress at the Biscuit. She was there on opening day, and for several years to follow. She was the only waitres in the early days and she kept me wrapt with her stories for over an hour. I learned things that I'd never heard before. For example-- the Flying Biscuit was closed on it's 2nd day of operation-- they didn't expect a big crowd on the first day and ran out of food. They couldn't open the 2nd day because they had nothing to serve.

OK, back to the filming--the host of the "Turn Up the Heat" show is Chef G. Garvin. He was there with me throughout the long day and I found him to be a very nice man. He's a little ghetto acting, but very well informed on all types of food and their preperations. G. Garvin (real name is Gerry) really hit it off with our Executive Chef Peggy Jean Dodson-- their interactions on film will be very memorable. He also had a great time cooking omelets with our favorite Line Cook Mayacine Sarr.


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