The Dining Dish blog is Dara Bunjon's take on anything food, both national and in her hometown of Baltimore. Warning: this food blog can be harmful to your waistline.

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's a Wrap from Tubac

For those of you who haven't read the post just below I had an opportunity present itself to work as Steven Raichlen's assistant during the shooting of his new TV series for PBS. Steven called personally and I was able to adjust my schedule. It happened fast, on the 11th Steven told me it was a go and by the 12th I was in Tubac, AZ ( about 20 miles north of the Mexican border) at the Tubac Golf Resort.

When I arrived in Arizona the limo turned out to be a shuttle bus but at that late hour I was the only passenger. The driver was a chatty fellow, a part-time actor, who had appeared in the Bruce Willis movie made in Baltimore called 12 Monkeys. He played what Bruce thought was his alter ego in the men's room in the last scene (so my shuttle bus driver says). Whoa, a bobcat jumped out in front of the shuttle van but was out the way before we could hit it. That should have been the subtle hint that I wasn't in Metropolis anymore.

I get into my hacienda-style room around 12:30 a.m. - unpacked and unwound and to sleep at 1:30 a.m. (or 3:30 a.m. east coast time). Upon checking my cell phone there was a voice message from Steven to meet at the restaurant at 6 a.m. the next morning.

I have food styled for Steven twice, one-day jobs for MPT where I had recipes in advance, I styled the food and brought the dishes, platters, flatware etc. I was in for a rude awakening. A new production company, a new location, young chefs who have never done this before and me, coming in at the 11th hour and not sure of my responsibilities.

We were shooting in a field with cows who meandered as they pleased, the flys were outrageous and then the bees.

It was a tough shoot and when I was finally up to speed the shooting was over. There were days I could have cried because I wasn't getting it together in the exacting form I'm used to and being a personal assistant was different than a food stylist. At moments I felt like one of those ducks in a shooting gallery that changed direction so many times.

The only time I saw daylight was on set. I left my room in the dark and returned in the dark. On the last day of shooting I got off set before it turned dark and saw the courtyard and fountain outside the back of my room.

One morning I had a large animal jump out in front of me and run across the field. I wasn't sure what it was but it scared the living ***** out of me. I learned it was probably a "javalina", a giant rodent that looks like a wild boar. If they have young with them they can attack. Well after that I would make someone drive me to my room every night after that. Meantime I still walked to the set in the a.m. in the dark. Hey at the end of the day, I enjoyed not taking those extra steps.

There were laughs on set but it was pretty much down to business. Steven was and is such a gentleman with everyone when most would have been flipping out. The producer, Matt reminded me of Steven being similar in stature and coloring to Steven, you might have thought them brothers.

I got off campus one night when someone drove me 15 miles or so to a grocery store so I could find a pumice soap for Steven. The store didn't even have Lava soap. Thrilled to be off the resort I took the opportuity to buy bottled water and Milano cookies for my room - aren't Milano's cookies one of the core food groups.

As our time was running short at Tubac we went into night shoots. One day was 6 a.m. to 9:15 p.m. and the next 7 a.m to 8:15 p.m. The days were hot and very cool when the sun went in.

I still have notes to type up for Steven, changes in recipes etc. I did get off the premise the night before I left for a "wrap" dinner. I finally could kick back and show my sense of humor - it was a fun evening.

Click HERE for photos

1 comment:

Thistlemoon said...

What a great experience! Congrats!

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