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TV Cooks -- Funny Faux Pas the Editors Didn't Touch

I was watching Ciao Italia, and Mary Ann Esposito had a guest cooking with her -- an amateur lady. She had been in charge of squeezing lemon juice into the almost-finished sauce. When Mary Ann goes over to add some final touch, and it is being poured in, you can see tons of lemon seeds in the sauce. Mary Ann said not a word, acted like nothing was wrong, and went on to plate it.

Today, with Ming Tsai, he added some soju to a skillet, then tilted the pan to flambé, but he poured the soju out and the flame was not so much in the pan as under it, around the gas burner.

I just thought it might be fun to "catch" some unintended moments to share here.

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    1. Most likely tons of these things happened all along and before the advent of the big-screen HDTV we were blissfully unaware!

      1. In the Mario Batali Chefography, Mario describes one of his first cooking segments on FoodTV - he was grating something (carrots maybe?) and grated his knuckles. It was a low budget, single shot show, with minimal editing, so he didn't want to stop filming. Before anyone noticed, he plunged his hand into a bowl of whole canned tomatoes to "crush them" so there he could throw to commercial and the cameras could stop.

        1 Reply
        1. another one that i just remembered....julia and jacques... making some sauce.... jacques pours in 1/3 cup of wine, and julia says, "oh no, more than that," then jacques says, "well it's your recipe," and she says, "that's not MY recipe."

          1 Reply
          1. re: alkapal

            Most of The French Chef episodes are full of mistakes and rambling and messes. I like it. When I see Julia make messes it makes me feel better about my own abilities in the kitchen!

          2. My all-time favorite is Graham Kerr in his original version (Galloping Gourmet) from around 1970. He used to swill wine while filiming and apparently it got the better of him during an episode when he dragged a kitchen towel into the burner flame and it caught on fire, which he didn't notice for the better part of 30 seconds.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Mayor of Melonville

              Also on the original Galloping Gourmet, he poured a whole bunch of oil into water and set it on high heat to boil away. Well, the oil covered and sealed the water, preventing the steam/heat from the boiling hot water to escape, so when Graham went to stick a spoon in it to stir it, hot oil and boiling hot water exploded all over. Then a cut and edit to later where Graham explained what happened and assured everyone that he was okay and not too terribly hurt, just some burns from the oil or something.

              Even with the audience participation in that program and some of the kooky things Graham did, it was the first and only time I ever heard an audience gasp so loudly.

              1. re: yfunk3

                He was making raised pastry for a meat pie, I think? I remember that.
                Side note: someone commented on a thread on CH on a show being particularly good, especially since it was made in Canada. WTH is that supposed to mean? Galloping Gourmet and the early Martin Yan shows were filmed there, as well as many many movies. It's not as if there's no TV in Canada!!!

            2. My mom and I were watching Nigella over the weekend (we don't usually, just happened to flip by) and she was freehanding ingredients as she baked..."a half teaspoon of vanilla" (GLUG)...my mom and I both looked at each other right off the bat like, "No, not quite!" She continued to freehand multiple ingredients, quite visibly NOT what she was saying they were, and make a mess with the flour to boot. Funny! Of course, SHE has a TV show and we don't...

              1. I always find it amusing when a celebrity chef says "a tablespoon of oil" and then proceeds to pour in about half a cup. I do find it enjoyable when little mistakes are let go. It makes the chef more human. I love when Ming Tsai has his mother on the show. She always seems to say something that catches him off guard.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jhopp217

                  Justin Wilson used to freehand, and once he poured a "teaspoon" of salt into his hand, then remarked that it *was* a teaspoon and proceded to measure it. Pretty darn close.

                  "Lock the door, we're gonna eat this ourselves."

                  1. re: Akitist

                    I remember that episode! I learned to freehand ingredients from Justin Wilson.

                    1. re: mpjmph

                      I remember him on David Letterman's show, and David rolled his eyes when Justin threw a teaspoon of something into the pan and said, "Oh come on now, I've seen you do that, that's NOT an accurate measurement. . . " Justin poured it into his hand again, grabbed a teaspoon, sifted it into the teaspoon, and it was exactly level. Letterman cracked up and the audience applauded.

                2. Sandra Lee adding rum to a punch recipe...the other chef says to add about a cup, and she glugs in about 3/4 of the bottle.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Funny, I never watched her, but I may now ;)

                    1. re: gaffk

                      I *despise* her recipes, and abhor the concept of piling together a bunch of packaged crap and passing it off as homemade (the real thing wouldn't take any longer) And her tablescapes? Oh my god.

                      But she always has a cocktail recipe, and it's almost always some concoction that would leave you cross-eyed after one drink.

                      She's like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

                      1. re: sunshine842

                        If you know anything about her background, her parents were alcoholics and she was raised by her grandmother. She herself paid and raised her siblings. You would think she would know better. I think she is a good person at heart and admire her accomplishments, but agree she isn't much of a cook. She is like a low budget Martha Stewart.

                        As the BFF of newly sworn in NY governore Andrew Cuomo, you have to wonder what the Governor's parties in Albany will be like? Will she be creating talescapes and matching accoutrements? Will be funny to follow.

                      2. re: gaffk

                        Just don't do any of the drinking games that have cropped up in conjunction with her shows.

                        You'll end up comatose. ;-)

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          I don't think I can watch her long enough to be comatose ;)

                          1. re: gaffk

                            It's best to watch her while comatose.

                    2. Not so much in her cooking, but Lidia Bastianich (or her writers) can make some whopping mistakes: once, she said she was in Civitavecchia, near Rome, when she was in Civitanova Marche, across the country on the Adriatic; she referred to Sardinia's opulently touristic Costa Smeralda as Costa Azzurra, which is in Spain (Azul). Told us Lambrusco was made from trebbiano grapes, which it is not. The latest show titles refer to the city of "Cantanzaro", which you can't--it's Catanzaro. And other things--not all that important in the end, and I love watching her, but disappointing (and preventable) from such a dominant voice for Italian everything.

                      1. today, claire robinson on her show "five ingredient fix" was repeatedly using her black hot pads for wiping her hands after washing them. she never used the paper towels by the sink.there. she even wiped her hands on them after cracking an egg to poach it. <btw, that egg was not cooked right, the white was still close to raw-gelatinous>

                        man, they are putting the makeup on her. but they haven't done the total tart-up, 'cause they're keepin' her "a little bit country, a little bit rock n' roll." i have to laugh at how much the camera is focused on her face (talking and making wide eyes and dramatic exclamations), rather than the food or the cooking. but hey, it's their network, and i don;'t have to watch. i'll bet the jimmy dean company is happy to sponsor so much of the advertising on the show, though. it seems like a correct fit of sponsor to programming.

                        1. jacques was making a cognac sauce for steak au poivre, and held the cognac bottle with his thumb on top to pour into the pan and flambé. it was fine, of course.

                          then julia had to admonish viewers NOT to do that "direct pour" from the bottle, because the flame could "go right back up the stream into the bottle, blow up and blind you." jacques was taken aback at her exclamation, and just paused a second, looking at her, and went, "wow."

                          that cracked me up. i LOVE that man!

                          1. Saw a really bad edit once on one of the Jacques and Claudine shows.

                            I can't remember the exact quotes but they are cooking in the kitchen. Claudine states something along the lines of she doesn't drink wine in her apt as she live alone. She goes out to do that with friends. CUT TO: The interview part of the show a minute or two later. Here Claudine is talking directly to the camera against a black backdrop. Here she say something like 'I alway have a bottle of wine in the fridge so I can have a glass when I cook.'