WellesleyWeston Magazine

SUMMER 2012

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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an interview with ming tsai Hawaii, Beijing, whatever. I haven't gotten one good enough to jump. But five years from now, I'm sure I'll have another place—not necessarily in Boston. WW: How is the "Cooking On the Fly" concept on your show, Simply Ming, different from previous seasons? MT: "Cooking on the Fly" does exactly what chefs do at home. We get into the mind of the chefs. We all have a repertoire of what goes with what. I have my guest chefs [which in the most recent season included Boston favorites Jacques Pepin, Michael Schlow, and Joanne Chang, as well as some filmed on location in California and Singapore] articulate why they're adding pars- ley with bread crumbs or whatever. There's always a story. The chefs literally did not know the two secret proteins that they would be cooking with. I gave them a choice of the two. I wanted instantaneous creation. This is really real. You came home, you have two kids, your husband is back in 20 minutes, and you don't have time to do two-hour dishes. WW: How is cooking on Iron Chef different from "Cooking on the Fly?" Both require improvisation. MT: On "Cooking on the Fly," we're working together. There's no winner, there's no loser. In general, I let the guest chefs do their thing because I really wanted them to show off their style of food. For Iron Chef, we practiced. You know a month out three [possible] secret ingredients. For me, it was duck, squab, and chicken. We prac- ticed on Sundays — we used to be closed on Sundays. It's all rehearsed. Without that, there's no way you can do five dishes in an hour for four people. WW: What you do you think it takes to be a successful chef on television these days? MT: The Food Network was just barely a year old when I started. None of us was very good. I was very lucky. I got to jump on Emeril's train. He showed America how to make a better meat loaf, a better mac and cheese. He made cooking entertaining and fun for kids two years old up to grandmas. The learning curve was pretty fast because you know in that tight time [of taping] you have to see the final product of your dish. Either it looks succulent or it doesn't. You know, when you're being taped, if you kept screwing up, you'd have to keep stopping, stopping, stopping, and the show would become really choppy. Once you start doing your five and seven minute takes without stopping, you know you're nailing the show. That has to happen. If you can't get it done, they move on to the next guy. Everyone wants to be on TV. The reason I left Food Network is that 48 WellesleyWeston Magazine | summer 2012

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