Backstage at Hallmark Channel + L.A. Trip

I recently returned from a whirlwind trip to the City of Angels!  I was invited by the Hallmark Channel’s talk show, “Home & Family,” to film a segment talking a little about my life and making my passionfruit macarons. It was such an amazing trip, because I felt like I was walking in my purpose! Preparing certainly took a lot of work—like nailing down the purple color in the macarons--but being on set just felt magical!  And if you missed it, don't worry, the segment is below:

The set of Home & Family is an actual house.  It’s located in the Universal Studios backlot—nestled between the “Wild Wild West” and “Little Europe.” (Westworld is filmed in the Wild Wild West area.) In fact, as I was roaming around, I saw tour groups from Universal Studios rolling by in the little trams.  (They were taking pictures of me, and I was taking pictures of them!

 A tram giving a tour from Universal Studios

A tram giving a tour from Universal Studios

 In the Wild Wild West

In the Wild Wild West

 In front of the Home & Family House

In front of the Home & Family House

But I digress—back to the actual segment.  I worked with the super talented culinary producers before arriving, and it’s really nice to have everything all set up for you!  All I had to focus on was having fun!  Well.. having fun while making sure I get through the various steps of making the macarons.  The show is filmed live, which pretty much means, anything can happen. Even though I briefly rehearsed the steps of making the macarons, there was no preparation for the many questions from the host and the team tasting the macarons.  

I always find the sheer amount of energy radiating from television hosts fascinating.  There’s a saying that the cameras basically suck the life out of whatever you’re doing, so to appear “normal” you have to actually be like, 50% more energetic!  So basically, it’s some of the most extroverted people you’ve ever met, who all love to talk (like me), under one roof. As an extrovert who is fueled by other people, I left feeling completely rejuvenated!

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 Everyone was wearing pink! With Ali Fedotowsky.

Everyone was wearing pink! With Ali Fedotowsky.

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 The lovely trailer/green room where I hung out until go time

The lovely trailer/green room where I hung out until go time

Oh, and everyone loved the macarons!  In fact, the host Debbie was like, “You should sell these.” And I’m starting to think maybe I should…

While I was in L.A., I also hit up one of my favorite hangouts from when I was a college student at USC—Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. We ended many a nights out at this Pico and LaBrea mainstay.  I ordered the #13, the Carole C. Special, “one succulent chicken breast and a delicious waffle.”  So much has changed since I last lived in Los Angeles eight years ago—but being able to pull into that super cramped parking lot, walk into the dimly lit restaurants, and order without even having to consult the menu, offered some solace to all of the uncertainty in my life!

 Chef Rahanna!

Chef Rahanna!

 Lodge Bread Co.

Lodge Bread Co.

 Republique

Republique

  Husbands that Cook

 Husbands that Cook

I also discovered some new places. Since I’m presenting the “Outstanding Baker” award at the James Beard gala (more on that later!), I decided I should go check out some of the nominees. I stopped by Republique more times than I’d care to admit (nominated for outstanding pastry chef). Their selection of pastries is outta this world, but get there early. They run out pretty early in the day! I also ventured to a wonderful little bakery in Culver City, Lodge Bread Company.  The breads here were all incredible, but they're also known for their pizza (pizza crust!) Lastly, I met up with some of my “foodie friends”—I had lunch with “Husbands that Cook” and even met Chef Rahanna (finalist from Top Chef Junior).

And I’ve already booked my next trip back to Los Angeles!