Always be prepared for anything on live television

This week I landed two cooking segments on a nationally syndicated television show, cooking quick and easy dinners between the holidays. Previous live television appearances have taught me to be flexible; anything can happen on live TV (and usually does). But I never prepared myself for the set destruction that happened during my second segment this week.

My first segment was cut a little short, from 3 minutes to 2:45. That doesn't seem like a big deal, but 15 seconds is like a lifetime when you're trying to cram a 30-minute meal into 3 minutes. I frantically tried to pull together my tomatillo chicken recipe in 5...4...3...2...1. I don't remember what I said, what I did to close the segment, but the phrase, "Here, eat this..." as I shoved a taco in the host's face, rings a bell.

We broke down the kitchen set during commercial, and I began to prep for my second recipe, carrot-ginger soup. The soup tasted amazing; I was really proud of it. And instead of filling great big bowls, I poured the colorful soup into tiny parfait glasses, creating soup shooters. I had the shooters arranged in neat little rows, topped with creme and orange zest, ready for their big debut. And then, out of nowhere, the grip rushed by with a long metal rod that had black draping rolled around it.

Like a scene from a Three's Company-you know the one where one of the characters is carrying skis on their shoulder, turns around and naively knocks everything to the ground-my beautifully dressed set was wiped out with one clean sweep. I watched, with my mouth gaping, as the entire stove top and set was splattered with bright orange soup. And then I looked down, as I heard glass crashing and pinging across the concrete floor, to see I, too, was covered in orange splatters. I couldn't decide if I was happy or sad I had worn black that day.

With four minutes to air time, I wiped my set as quickly as possible, refilled the parfait glasses, settling for three soup shooters, and ran to the bathroom to wash the soup off of my sweater and pants. I decided I was glad I wore black since it didn't show the wet fabric.

When I got back to the sound stage, the kitchen set had been put back together, we did a mic check, and we were on air, with viewers at home never the wiser.

I never expected my set to be knocked out like that. It was actually kind of funny, but in the future, I'm bringing extra of everything.

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            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
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