Thursday, March 24, 2011

Frito Lay Flavor Kitchen Webisode Adventure!

It's been a week since I've been in Texas and I already miss the wonderful people I had the opportunity to meet and work with. So in an effort to re-live the fun I had, here's some pictures and commentary of my Frito Lay Flavor Kitchen Webisode Adventure!

The adventure starts off with an email from the lovely folks of Time, Inc. They are the company behind magazines including Real Simple, All You, Southern Living, Cooking Light, etc. One of their clients, Frito Lay, was looking to do a webisode and video shoot to highlight Frito Lay's All Natural Potato Chips and the Frito Lay Flavor Kitchen Cooking Series.


Ideally, they wanted 3 bloggers that were foodies and busy moms. I fit the bill! The other wonderful bloggers chosen were Michelle of The Domestic Mama and Leslie of The Hungry Housewife. Both of these lovely ladies have successful food blogs and they tackle the daily challenges of being a mom. Each of them have 2 children, leaving me as the newbie mom of Joel at 10 months old. It was so refreshing to be with these seasoned moms and hearing their experiences. On top of that, we share the same love of food! It's no wonder that we all felt like we've known each other for years. We had so much in common and we had such great chemistry on camera as we did off camera.


The setting for this webisode and video shoot was in Plano, Texas where Frito Lay is headquartered. It's situated on a beautiful campus and there, we all laid our eyes on Frito Lay's Flavor Kitchen - a gorgeous kitchen that's beautifully laid out. There's shiny stainless steel everywhere and cooking equipment smartly positioned so that up to 20 chefs can work effectively at the same time. In the Frito Lay Flavor Kitchen, chefs do a lot of culinary research and development for their products. This is where the flavors for Frito Lay snacks are created and tested!

This is a serious kitchen where it's even equipped with a cooking library to draw inspiration from, along with an impressive pantry housing an array of spices, seasonings and pantry essentials to work with. Outside, they have planters filled with fresh herbs and leafy greens. There's also a variety of cooking appliances available at the chefs' disposal including pasta sheeter, sous vide, cryovac and many more culinary toys I'd love to personally have in my own kitchen!

So now that you've got an idea of where we all were, let's talk about getting ready! Our day started at the Frito Lay Flavor Kitchen at 8am sharp. There we had our wardrobe selected for us, from a few items we each brought from home. Once our outfits were selected, it was on to getting dolled up. We all had our time in the chair getting our makeup and hair done... how I wish I could have someone do this for me everyday!



Then after makeup and hair, we all got got fitted with a microphone...

And then it was showtime! Each of us started off by taping our own little introduction. We did two versions - a long and short. I was the last of the three to tape our introduction. The benefit of this was that I had a chance to look over my suggested script, make some adjustments so I sounded more like myself and natural. Thankfully, I think I got both intros done in less than 7 takes total. Our director, Thom Higgins, asked me if I wanted to do it again even though the last time was "perfect," but I told him to keep what we have because I couldn't guarantee another perfect take lol!  Essentially for the introduction video, we introduced ourselves, our blog, and the Frito Lay Flavor Kitchen where we will be meeting with Chef Stephen Kalil...



Who's Chef Stephen Kalil? Well, Chef Stephen is the Corporate Executive Research Chef at Frito Lay's Culinary Innovation Center. He works with research and development chefs to come up with new flavors for Frito Lay products. How fun is that?! I was in awe of Chef Stephen's work - I would love to some day work in a research and development department of a food company. I find the pairing of food science and culinary arts so fascinating! In fact, Culinology is exactly that - the pairing of food science and culinary arts. Chef Stephens was also the past president of the Research Chefs Associate (RCS), a professional organization of nearly 2,500 members who work in the food product development industry. He's definitely not new to all the cameras either. Chef Stephen has been featured on Food Network's Unwrapped shows, is in Foods magazines, and presents at major industry events on the topics of Culinology and food product development. In my book, he's a culinary rock star and it was an honor to meet and work with him on this!
 
Once we finished our introduction taping, we started to tape the webisode with Chef Stephen. I don't have too many pictures of us in action but no worries - the actual webisode/video will be available to view on Frito Lay's YouTube channel and Facebook page. On top of that, all the magazine websites for Time Inc will have the videos posted on their websites and corresponding Facebook pages as well. You may even see our lovely little faces in their magazines too! However, I was able to take some pictures of the set where the taping took place...

Overall it was a fabulous experience! From the people I got to meet and work with, to learning about the Frito Lay product development, and just shooting a webisode/video for a well known, reputable food company, it was an experience I'll always cherish. A special thanks go to my new friends at Time, Inc. (Don Stuckle, Melinda Russel, Julie Christeas, Jennifer Zawadzinski, Stella Araya-Weil, Dawn Bar, Crew: Matt, Pete and Colin); Frito Lay (Christine Allen, Chef Stephen Kalil), our director Thom Higgins, and my foodie partners Michelle and Leslie.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks where I'll be posting the finished product of our webisode/video shoot. It should be completed and live on/around April 15th. And that's a wrap, folks!