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The world of cooking on TV

The world of cooking on TV
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What you see isn’t always what you’re going to get. A lot of what you see on your television screen is thoroughly planned out and when you try to replicate it yourself, it won’t be the same. Reader’s Digest went behind the scenes to hear from your favourite chefs on TV to learn their dirtiest kitchen secrets.

Many TV chefs don’t write or develop their own recipes

Many TV chefs don’t write or develop their own recipes
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Some don’t have time. Others are more focused on being on TV than on cooking, so they would rather pay someone else. And a few just don’t know how.

The grill marks on meat don’t just appear magically

The grill marks on meat don’t just appear magically
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Wonder how there are perfect grill marks on steaks and hotdogs so quickly on TV? The fire grills are pre-heated on high before so that when you put the steak on the grill the marks appear in seconds.

Here are 20 things you’re doing in the kitchen that chefs wouldn’t.

If you want the food you make to look as pretty as mine, don’t fill the plate

If you want the food you make to look as pretty as mine, don’t fill the plate
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Putting something small on a bigger plate always looks better, especially if you stack the foods or lay them against each other.

Cameras never get super close to the food

Cameras never get super close to the food
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For live TV, we use a mirror above the cooking surface to get the shots “in the pan” so no camera is ever that close to hanging from the ceiling. They simply focus on the mirror and then flip the image.

When a chef forgets to say something important, we have to do what’s called a voice-over

When a chef forgets to say something important, we have to do what’s called a voice-over
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That’s when you’re watching and all of a sudden, you don’t see the chef’s face. Instead, you see a close-up of the bowl or their hands and you hear them saying, “Now add a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon.” With the best talent, you’ll almost never hear a voice-over.

Find out professional chefs’ least favourite foods. 

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Some close up shots aren’t even of the celebrity chef

Some close up shots aren’t even of the celebrity chef
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Many of the close-up shots of mixing, serving and presenting are done after the main talent is long out of the studio and the hands you see are another producer or actor. They try to limit nail colours and jewellery so those shots aren’t too noticeably different. Sometimes the close-up shots aren’t even filmed in the same studio. One of the assistants stands by taking notes on everything from the angles, bowls used, and hand used to stir, pour and gesture to make it seamless in post-production.

Obviously, we’re not all going to sit around twiddling our thumbs waiting for a roast or a lasagne to cook

Obviously, we’re not all going to sit around twiddling our thumbs waiting for a roast or a lasagne to cook
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So there are people in a second kitchen behind the scenes cooking a bunch of versions of the same recipe so it will be ready to go at different stages. That’s called a swap-out.

Sometimes, the dishes we taste on screen are stone-cold because of a swap-out

Sometimes, the dishes we taste on screen are stone-cold because of a swap-out
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So we may be saying, “Mmm,” but really it tastes awful. We just smile and stomach it.

We don’t account for prep time so when you make the same recipe, it’s going to take twice as long

We don’t account for prep time so when you make the same recipe, it’s going to take twice as long
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Everything is prepped and ready to go on set. Meaning, vegetables are washed, dried and chopped. Salads are washed and spun. Meats are trimmed and ready to wear. Things are already measured out and ready to use. Often times there’s the token carrot that is chopped in front of the camera, but it’s rare things are being measured out as they go. Those easy “ten minutes” recipes are rarely even close to ten minutes when you take time to prep into consideration.

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Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, we hope to have the April print issue available by the middle of July, and the May, June and July issues available by the end of July, but this is dependent on when local lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team