During a recent trip I took with Aïda, I learned all about culinary production for a television cooking show. (I can’t mention the show yet because it hasn’t aired.) Basically, it was my job to assist her and the production team with any task that came up. With an already hectic environment of cameramen, producers, sound technicians, and lighting guys, I was asked to execute several of CHOW’s dishes at the last minute.

While Aïda worked in front of the camera, I ran around—literally—staging
 ingredients and organizing tools, recipes, and props. Between takes, I found myself yelling all sorts of directions to Aïda—“Sauté the onions first!” or “Only the zest in that, no juice!”—just to help her keep the six different recipes straight in her head. And from the show’s veteran food stylist, I was given insight into how impeccable preparation and a good attitude make a 10-hour, backbreaking day flow easier for everyone.

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