Executive Producer Shauna Minoprio gives you the insider scoop.
Let's talk about this week's show. Hawaii! An amazing and magical place. The lunch with Alan Wong in Waipio valley was a really fantastic experience for everyone - production and crew included. While the chefs got to fly in and out by helicopter the rest of us had to driving in down the steepest public road in the whole of the US, across two rivers and past wild horses.
It was worth it! Some might question why we did all that for a 'food' show but I really wanted the chefs to have an experience of 'Hawaii' that would be unforgettable and inspirational. Honestly it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Doing so much shooting outside was extremely nerve-wracking because of the unpredictability of the weather. While we were shooting the finale, every other island in Hawaii was experiencing typhoon warnings and flash-floods. By some miracle, the area on the Big Island where we were was the only place not experiencing torrential rainfall. The day the production team arrived we had a traditional Hawaiian blessing for the whole enterprise with all of us there - it was a pretty cool moment - like the blessing the chefs got only with about 50 of us. It did rain the day before we actually started shooting - and the day after we finished. I'm not religious or even superstitious, but still.
Honestly with the weather on our side it was a great place to shoot - and a great place to shoot a food show. The amazing ingredients they have there - the fish, the beef, the coffee, the fruit, the incredible variety of wonderful vegetables - it's like the garden of Eden. Also, I have to say all the Hawaiian people we met were just so lovely and charming and happy for us to be there. I honestly think that as a producer, it was the best shoot experience of my life. (Or maybe it just felt like that after the previous episode...?)
I have no idea what Tom, Gail and Padma are writing on their blogs but from a production this judges table was a marathon. I think one camera operator might actually have fallen asleep while shooting because it went on so darn long. You know when judges sometime say 'it was a really difficult decision blah blah' - well this one was a doozy. I'm thinking there might be a bit more hate mail coming our way because of the decision they finally made... maybe I'll just head back to Hawaii for a while...