I am taking a break from my "Meet the Chef" series to tell you about a trip to see a chef that I didn't actually meet.
Recently, the phone rang.
"Anita, I thought of you first," I heard my friend Bonnie say. "I have an extra ticket to see Rachael Ray in New York on Tuesday; can you make it?"
Oh busboy. Make it? Rachael Ray? Live food show? New York City? I said I would most certainly try.
I have never been to the taping of "The Rachael Ray Show," but I have always been a fan. We have a lot in common. OK, I don't have a daily show on a major network, I don't have my own magazine and I haven't won two Emmys, but we both are upstate New Yorkers and both like food.
So on Tuesday, Bonnie, her sister Laurie, my friend Mona and I boarded the $13, 7:30 a.m. Megabus in Albany and headed to the city. Seated on the top level, we discussed the show. The emails from the show had directed that members of the audience dress their best in business casual, no shorts, capris, tank-tops, ripped jeans, flip-flops, sequins, hats, busy patterns or white. We were advised to wear jewel-toned colors (deep blues, reds, greens, etc.), and of course after calls and care we all ended up mostly in red.
We were in the audience for the noon taping. When we got to New York we decided to go directly to the studio on 26th Street, a short walk from the megabus stop at 28th. Arriving at 10:30 a.m., Laurie and Bonnie waited in line (seats are first come, first served). It was a cold day, very cold and damp. Mona and I headed for food. We settled on a small deli with a buffet of Asian wonders. As Ray might say, "Yum-mo."
Later, while waiting with the others, my feet froze in my "business casual" required thin stockings. When were were finally let in, we showed our IDs and passed safely through security. We were ushered into a large waiting room with access to an important item - a bathroom. After that, 15 of us at a time were directed to the tiered audience seats that faced the set - Ray's recognizable kitchen. Many large cameras moved between the audience and the kitchen set.
The most fun of the day was the "Clapper," a comedian who directed what the audience said and did. Before Ray came out we learned to "ooh" and "ah" and clap loud and clap soft.
The audience wasn't told who the guests would be or what was going to happen (but you can be sure everyone there was hoping for a car giveaway).
When Ray arrived, we were all poised and ready. We clapped and shouted and clapped louder as the Clapper raised his hands higher. As Ray walked in, we all eyed what she wore (all black with high heels), interested in what she looked like in real life.
I don't know how much I can tell you about the show, as it hasn't aired yet. I will tell some and leave some for you to check out tomorrow. Lucky for us the show happened to be the St. Patrick's Day show that will be airing tomorrow at 3 p.m. on NBC. If you are watching, look for the friends dressed in red at the top of the tiers.
Ray's guest, Curtis Stone, looked very good in real life. If you don't know Stone, he's that cute Australian chef who appears a lot on "The Today Show" and hosts "Top Chef Masters" on Bravo, among other things. I'm a fan and enjoyed watching him as he assisted Ray with the food prep.
The food was geared to St. Patrick's Day leftovers. I guess they thought that you probably had your St. Patrick's day all planned by 3 p.m. The idea was to use the underutilized waffle iron. Breakfast started with a blood orange and tangerine mimosa (they did not share), and included spinach and crisp prosciutto on a waffle topped with a poached egg. They even made Irish soda bread on the iron and chocolate cake waffles for dessert. The main meal was a reuben pizza featuring leftover corned beef hash over sliced potatoes. It will be on the website after the show. It was a marvel how they cooked and talked and joked and looked at the camera all at the same time.
Ray's second guest was from a show I don't watch and was an actor I never heard of, but the audience loved him. It will be on the website after the show.
I know you are thinking: "That sounds like fun day; how do I get tickets?" Bonnie and Laurie emailed the show and at first received tickets fairly quickly. They were unable to make it on the day selected, so they put in another request and voila, five years later Bonnie received an email with a choice of three shows, all on the same day. Ray's website gives all the information needed. You can also go directly to the studio and wait in line.
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