When asked if I’d be interested in shooting some recipe videos for Tropical Foods, I said YES without really thinking about how much work goes into preparing, planning, and executing a video project. I said yes before I had a chance to think about standing in front of a camera and how sweaty that might make me. I said yes, because, well, for better or for worse I have a hard time saying no to opportunities, and honestly who could say no to the chance to work with a large, well-established Charlotte-based company like Tropical Foods?
To prepare for the shoot, I did what any self-respecting accountant would do: I input all the recipe ingredients into an Excel spreadsheet. There were columns for the description, quantity, recipe to which it related, and the corresponding grocery store aisle. Organization was key. Each recipe was cooked and tested three times prior to the shoot, and each round began with a massive grocery shopping trip. After I had my initial practice round with the recipes, I used the second and third go-arounds to verbally talk myself through the steps. “Ok, now we’ll melt the butter. Mmm buttterrrr.” “Give it a good stir.” “It’s ok if it looks like poo, it’ll still taste great!” I also found myself asking questions. I know Rachael Ray always de-stems her chard… but why? What’s the stem taste like anyway? What’s the difference between black and red grouper? What if I can’t find wonton wrappers at the grocery store? I jotted down questions as I went, and spent a lot of time researching ingredients and cooking processes.
The night before the shoot, I measured all of the ingredients into small containers and labeled what was what, then loaded each recipe’s ingredients onto a separate sheet pan. Even with all this prep, it took us about five hours to shoot all four recipe videos!
I had two major takeaways from this project. First, it’s important not to beat yourself up if you mess up. There were lots of moments where I stumbled over my words or went completely blank, plus a few times I just started laughing for no good reason. But after each of these fumbles, I recentered, cleared my throat, and started over like nothing happened. Secondly, it’s important to be yourself! Looking at the videos now and seeing the final product, I see spots where I wish I’d smiled more, slowed down, or interjected more “MARY” into the moment. I love the learning process, and that’s exactly what this video project was to me. Not only was it my first time being videotaped, but also my first time cooking with wonton wrappers, Old Bay, chard, and grouper. I learned a ton!
Here’s the third of the four recipe videos, in which you can see me chop chives with the world’s smallest knife (the very knife I managed to stab myself with during the shoot)!
Make sure you enter the Tropical Foods Bold giveaway below! Three winners will receive one bag of each of the following How Bold Can You Go mixes:
Honey Roasted Buffalo Nuts
Ranch Buffalo Nuts
Blue Cheese Buffalo Nuts
Sienna Cream Crunch
Are you team buffalo nuts or team sweet heat?