Shauna Minoprio

Executive Producer Shauna Minoprio gives you the insider scoop.

on Nov 15, 2006

The worst thing that could happen would be if the chefs were ready to serve their food and production held them up for any reason and thereby caused the food to spoil/go cold/congeal etc. God forbid anyone screw this up -- I'm a pretty easy going team leader but this is one thing that I am absolutely obsessed with. Ironically, the main reason this is so important is not so much that the judges can't judge the food as easily if it has sat for a few minutes -- they're all pros and can easily factor this into their thinking. No, the problem is the chefs and their perception -- if there is any possibility that they may feel that we are in any way responsible for them not doing well, regardless of whether that is in fact the case (it never has been), then we are all in a world of pain. In any case the well-oiled show machine operated at NASA level and the day went off without a hitch.

In actual fact, probably the most challenging thing that happened to me while producing this episode was getting stuck in the elevator with six other people at super-trendy Social restaurant a week before the shoot. We were only taking the elevator from the second floor to the first when it jammed after moving approximately two inches down, but the doors wouldn't budge. I was with TC Supervising Producer Scott, Senior Producer Margit, Director of Photography Craig, Gaffer Adam, Exec Chef Joseph and Jeffrey Chodorow's right-hand man Terry Z. LA was having an intense heatwave at the time and the elevator was small and not terribly well air-conditioned (it's an historic old building) -- so we took it in turns rotating around the space to get a different angle on the air supply and each other. Terry was very sanguine about the whole thing and continued to go through our the details for the shoot -- what a pro.

TC Producer Margit started giggling like a maniac after about half and hour and started trying to climb out of the hatch at the top (locked, thank god). Chef Joseph was on his phone with the restaurant staff pleading with them not to call the fire-brigade because they would break the mechanism and then his kitchen staff would have to carry their supplies down the stairs until it was mended again.