ABC World News wants ME to make dinner. ME?? Now I’ve come to accept that there are things in this life that I have been blessed with, and then there are some things, well… like cooking skills- not so blessed.
I mentioned in this earlier post that I went through an OMG moment when I opened up my email box and read the words, “I’m a producer at ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer.” Initially, I thought it was spam. When I continued reading the email and it went on to say that they were working on one of their Real Money segments and they thought my family would be a good match. “The piece I’m working on is about fast food and on-the-go families. Our segment will be about faster and cheaper ways to make dinner?”
Bahahaha. If you’ve been following this blog for any bit of time, you know that I never write about cooking, recipes, or really, anything to do with the kitchen, since I don’t cook. While reading the producer’s email, I start thinking to myself, “This guy clearly has not read one word of the blog.” But then we spoke on the phone, and the producer made me feel at ease, explaining that they were going to focus on the fact that most families think they don’t have time to make a full meal and often times, just “go pick something up” out of convenience. Well, I can relate to that. The next thing I know, he tells me, “Ok, so we’ll see you on Friday.” Friday? (It was Monday.) Like in this Friday? Like in FOUR days?? OMG. The list of things that hit me- clean the kitchen, clean the house, do my hair, do my nails, buy something to wear….. And BAM! It was Friday!
First to arrive was Executive Chef Bradley Herron of The Genuine Hospitality Group, and his very busy assistant, Ellie. For those that might not know, The Genuine Hospitality Group is owned by Chef Michael Schwartz and includes Miami hot spots Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Harry’s Pizzeria and The Cypress Room.
I was now officially intimidated. I had the Chef from one of the hottest restaurants in Miami in my kitchen! Not normal. Chef Bradley took a look around my kitchen. “Do you have pots and pans?” he asked me. I opened a cabinet beneath the stove, to prove that I actually did own a set. “They’re brand new!” Next thing I knew the Chef was laughing hysterically. (They were new. I had just replaced my previously owned ten year set in December.)
Soon after, the ABC film crew showed up. The producers/camera people and Dave Zinczenko who would be the host and commentator for the show. They told me and my husband what our Real Money challenge would be. I was to stay home with Chef Herron and “whip up” a meal. My husband was to go with Dave Zinczenko to the nearest Pollo Tropical drive-thru window and pick up something there. We would be timed to see who would be done first. The tagline for the segment would be along the lines of: “Is fast food really faster?”
I’m not sure if my husband and the ABC host were really in it to win it, but on our side, Chef Bradley stayed as cool as one the organic cucumbers he had brought over to my house to cook. He explained that by using thinner slices of vegetables and fish, the food would cook faster. He cockily told the camera that we would not only finish cooking a complete meal before the other team got back, but, “We’re going to have the dishes done too.”
Twenty-two minutes later, we had a complete meal of vegetables and fish. With a side dish of green beans and quinoa. And the picture I didn’t get was the one of the Chef washing my dishes! We even had time to pour ourselves a glass of wine and make a toast!
Eleven minutes after our celebratory toast, the DH, the LO and Dave the Host returned from Pollo Tropical. The DH was shocked that they weren’t the winning team. Lol.
After that, the whole crew took me to Publix to learn how to shop smarter and wiser. They cut all of that out of the final segment, but they included Chef Herron’s tips on the ABC World News with Diane Sawyer website:Tip 1: Buy whole instead of pre-cut. Buying those premade bags of carrots can cost two to four times more. “You’re getting double for the same price,” Herron said. Tip 2: Buy in season. Whether it’s fruits or vegetables, “they are going to be cheaper because there are a lot of them,” Herron told ABC News. Tip 3: Download free coupon apps like Flipp and Ibotta. Tip 4: Choose fast-cooking foods like grains. “Grains are really small and they cook fast,” Herron said. Tip 5: Slice everything extra thin. “By cutting it thin, it’s going to cook quick,” he said. Tip 6: Cooking fresh is always faster than thawing frozen food.
I still can’t believe that it all happened. That this little “Miami Mommy Blogger” made it to the national stage with a segment introduced by Diane Sawyer. Actually, what I REALLY can’t believe, is that I made dinner. Check out video of our segment, “Real Money: Fast Food Versus Home Cooked Meals” here.