I Want My Own Kids Cooking Show.
I want my own cooking show. Words I have repeated for as long as I can remember. I truly have always wanted to have my own TV show, whether that was a talk show (because talking is my favourite thing to do + I am nosy) or a cooking show (because, I love food and I love to teach). Moreover, I had really wanted to host a kids cooking show. Let’s be honest, kids are comedy in the purest form. No filter, little patience and REAL. My kind of show. When I returned home from MasterChef Canada I knew that “one day” I would somehow make it happen, I just didn’t realize it would become a reality less than 2 years later.
Let’s repeat those words. I want a cooking show. Simple in theory, almost an unsurmountable task in practice. Especially when you think about what goes into making one. Think about any cooking show we watch on TV. Then IMDB it and see that they literally have HUNDREDS on staff. When “insert anyone from Food Network” reaches for an ingredient, chances are they have been passed what’s been purchased, washed, chopped, diced and prepped by an entire team. I was a team of ME. Well while that’s not entirely true, for whatever reason that didn’t stop me from forging ahead with a plan to make this kids tv show happen.
What About Just One Bite?
I would need a name. Just One Bite seemed appropriate, although to this day I can’t remember who came up with it. I think my former co-host/brother Mike Alan one day in between songs on air. He’s still waiting for royalties I am sure…keep waiting Mikey! Just One Bite became our little show name and the core at which everything else was built around. The reason I loved that title was because it always came back to my motto for the show. “You can’t say you don’t like something, if you’ve never actually tried it. Come on, JUST ONE BITE”!
Meg Tucker: Access Producer
Next I would need someone to help me make this into an actual show! That’s when I approached Shaw TV in Red Deer, Alberta. I created 5 different show ideas , then took them to coffee and walked them through my pitch ideas. Luckily, Shaw was looking for Access Producers who would come with ideas and help build shows and of the 5, Just One Bite peaked their interest. It seemed the most viable. It had kids. We could use local. It had family. It had heart. It checked all the boxes.
When I was given the green light, that meant a few things. Shaw would supply the film crew which included cameramen, floor director and director. Then in post, they would assist in the editing. Who are we kidding. I would sit with them while they did ALL the editing. My initial creative map, their technical wizardry. PS Melanie Timms is the greatest. Make that Melanie, Chloe, Jim, Kyle, Chas, Dave, and all the SHAW Volunteers. Amazing.
Ok wait. We haven’t even scratched the surface I need you to truly know how many hours goes into editing a half hour show. We are talking days. And days. And days. Every time you see someone’s mouth move, it has to be lined up with the actual audio/dialogue. When you have Meg + 4 kids on set, that’s 5 different audio tracks, 5 different angles of cameras being shot, 5 different levels, everything. Each syllable had to be matched. Colour coded. Colour corrected. White balanced. Properly lined up. Guys, this is massive.
We Need a Just One Bite Set!
Now. Where would we shoot this? Well a few places immediately came to mind and after a location tour with Shaw, our final destination ending up being Trail Appliances in Red Deer, AB. Inside this massive appliance store, they housed a beautiful test kitchen, completely outfitted with top of the line equipment. We joked that I was going to just move in, I still miss it.
Trail also had a prep kitchen area that we used as our dressing room/food storage. The boardroom served as a kid wrangling tent and the store so graciously allowed us to shoot some of the episodes before they were open, so we had this incredible space all to ourselves. What we had to factor in however, was that it was still a store and largely in part a showroom. We couldn’t really move lighting or fridges or tables. That’s again where this gang from Shaw shone so brightly. They made it happen.
Bring On the Kids!
Are you wondering yet when I was going to think about the kids for said cooking show? Right! Well, in our 2 seasons of Just One Bite, we grew. Season 1 we put a call out on Facebook and the kids came. Enough to fill the cast, all between the ages of 4 and 7. For season 2 we stepped it up and did a more formal casting call with Shaw. Kids and parents arrived in droves to a group audition, complete with judging panel to keep it fair and fun. We ended up getting another round of “mini foodies” and were set. AMAZING mini foodies I might add. Clever, smart, hilarious, zero filters, stage nerves, stage moms (no just kidding), and a TON of love. I still maintain I need to do a “Not So Mini Foodies” where are they now episode!
So now we film? No. I still needed supplies. Scripts. Shoot schedules. Production scripts. Safety training on set. Release documents. Press releases. Merch. Sponsors. A logo. A jingle. Rolling credits. Food. Duplicate food ready to go for the “magic of television”. Recipes. Clothing. Makeup. Hair. Hair for kids. Clothing for kids. Lunch on set. Volunteers. Ideas.
This was only scratching the surface.
Oh and did I mention I was also getting up at 3:45am every day to co-host our morning radio show? To say I was busy was an understatement, but I just kept swimming with the help of my ROCKSTAR hubby Wade and a TON of determination and support we somehow managed to pull it off.
For 2 SEASONS.
Creating a television show is one of the biggest undertakings of my entire life and without question the one thing I am most proud of achieving. Just One Bite is really my other baby. My little idea that happened.
Watch Just One Bite today!