I've been asked to do a cooking demo on our local TV show. It's my first time doing this. Any words of wisdom?
– Abby Singh, Owner and Manager, Canteen 900, Forty Fort, PA
Some people enter the restaurant business with dreams of being a food television star or reality cooking show winner. Most of us, I suspect, simply want to deliver quality food and drink and make some money.
With the explosion of food media—local, national and web-based—it is only a matter of time before someone puts a camera in your face and expects you to do something interesting.
For those of us who are most comfortable selling a private party, developing a menu item, or otherwise immersing ourselves in restaurant operations, the thought of speaking and cooking before an audience of thousands or millions can range from intimidating to petrifying. But as a promotion opportunity, it is difficult to top.
Lisa Ekus, whose Hatfield, Massachusetts based firm provides media coaching among other PR services, advises, “Choose a recipe that is easy and simple! Remember you have only three to four minutes to demo, talk and get your message across. Determine your key message points in advance and identify ways to incorporate them into your interview. Practice. Time yourself. Keep your hands moving so you complete the recipe. Think about your interview as a conversation with your host. Look at your host or food, not at the camera. Have fun. Exude energy and passion."
Be sure to be able to succinctly communicate the restaurant’s name, location, website and a description of the concept. Choose a recipe that does not need to be fully cooked on camera so you can fit it into the available time. And like anything else in our business, organization is key. Looking around for a utensil for a few seconds on camera will seem like minutes of bumbling to the viewer.
Finally, it can be helpful (if a bit nerve wracking) to record a practice session and watch it with some colleagues, friends or a professional media coach for feedback.