Saturday, October 13, 2012

Eat St Films In Dallas: A Behind the Scenes Peek

Backtrack to July 4, 2011, in Austin, Texas. After the Independence Day festivities were over, several friends and I were flipping channels on the TV and stopped to watch The Cooking Channel, which was having an "Eat St" marathon. Talk turned to food trucks and the idea for a blog was born.  Fast forward approximately 15 months, to last week, when I received an email from the Eat St. production company asking if I would be interested in being interviewed as "a food blogger" for Eat St. when they filmed in Dallas.  The moment was surreal and one that I would not dream of declining. A quick check of my schedule showed that I could join the filming for Nammi and Good Karma Kitchen.

The Nammi crew filmed on Tuesday, at the University of North Texas campus. The Good Karma crew filmed on Friday at an office building in Uptown Dallas.  Both days, I arrived at the truck about 10:30 am and things were in full swing, no surprise since the shoot started before 8:00. Eat St had worked with each of the trucks to select their best items to feature on the show. For Nammi, this was the Saigon Sliders, Nammi Nachos and Combo Bahn mi.  For Good Karma Kitchen, this was Margherita Flatbread, Asian Noodles, and the Veggie Bowl. Both trucks also had one additional item that they prepped that day but because of time limitations, those items will not be featured on the show.

Good Karma Kitchen Prepping
Both days, for the first thirty minutes that I was at the truck, the producer and camera man were on the truck with the owners, filming the prep of the food. I don't know if you have ever been on a truck but to have four people and a large video camera on board makes for some tight quarters, especially then trying to get the right shot!

Filming the food
After the food was prepped, it was my turn.  First, we had to find the right spot for my interview, not too much sun, not too dark, not too much traffic around, do we need a reflector?  For each item, I was asked to take a large bite and immediately describe the taste to the camera.  Not easy! When I am sitting behind a computer, I can think of hundreds of adjective to describe food, when there's a camera, the thoughts instead are:  "I can't immediately talk, I have a mouthful of food", "do I have sauce on my face?"  "did the camera just pick up me dropping that piece of food on my shirt?"

Photo from UNT Dining Services Facebook Page
All of these thoughts are going on while a producer is asking questions, a camera man has a camera at various lengths from my face and a sound guy is working feverishly to get my voice but block out the construction noise happening ten feet away.  There was not a list of questions given to me in advance, so off-the-cuff, I am answering dozens of questions like, "what kind of person enjoys Nammi's food?"  "how does the cheese add to Good Karma's flatbread?"  These are not things I usually think about when blogging, so we will all get to see how I respond under pressure, with a camera documenting the entire process.

At the same time the Production Assistant is either holding a reflector next to me or, if the sun is in the right position, going from person to person, who are ordering their lunch, asking if they are willing to appear on camera; not just to talk to the camera but to also eat on camera. This is actually more than finding people willing to eat on camera, its finding people that have ordered the food they need to profile for that next shot, can't have too many people eating flatbread and no one eating veggie bowls!

Once all the blogger/customer interviews were done, the primary content of the show is filmed with the interview with the truck owners.  The crew brought the owners off the truck and filmed their answers to  the hows and whys of their truck story. Why a truck? How did you come up with the name?  How do you create menus? All of the questions that let the viewer see the passion that the truck owner has was asked, in ways that brings out the owners' personalities.

I would be remiss in not giving a shout-out to the production crew. These guys were great!  I found out Friday that they had never worked together but on Tuesday I had no indication of that. Of course, they were professional, as you would expect but they were patient, fully explained what they were doing and seemed to really enjoy interacting with the truck owners and guests and made each person being interviewed  very comfortable with the camera and mic.

This week has been one of the highlights of my blogging experience.  It really seems like things have come full circle, since as I said, Eat St was the inspiration for the blog. Even before I watched Eat St that July night, I had eaten and fallen in love with Nammi and had begun to establish a friendship with Gary and Teena. To bring it all together was not something I ever dreamed would happen. Being a part of the profile of the unique food that Good Karma Kitchen produces was really more than I could have asked. To know that Jack's Chowhound, Green House, and Three Lions  were also having their moment in the spotlight sent the entire experience over the top! I am so glad Eat St was able to come to Dallas and film these trucks and show all of North America that the food truck scene in Dallas is vibrant and tasty. I am told the episodes should begin to air in March, stay tuned, I will let you know the exact dates and times as soon as I know!
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1 comment :

  1. So happy for and proud of you! Congrats on coming full circle ... and here's to even more adventures ahead.


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