Behind The Scenes With Sam The Cooking Guy
It’s an ordinary house in a nice neighborhood in San Diego. But for the past 12 years, or so, one of the best real food shows has been coming out of its kitchen. I was sitting outside of Sam The Cooking Guy’s home, thinking that it much much too early to go in and set up already. I was 30 minutes early to the time we had arranged, so I just sat in the car and worked on my computer… looking like a stalker. Ok, enough of that, let’s go in anyway, people are beginning to stare. I had been asked to come and watch a taping of The Sam Livecast with Nick Novak, kicker for the San Diego Chargers. Pretty much a dream come true.
Sam, came to the door with dogs in tow, and was just as nice as I had remembered him from years ago. Sam is genuinely as nice of a guy, with sarcastic wit and humor, as you see on his cooking show “Sam The Cooking Guy” or “The Sam Livecast”. You cannot fake that personality for this long without stories getting out of the real you.
The set of the show is not a set. It really is his kitchen, and he really interviews guest at his table or living room. The dogs wander around looking for a little attention from people, after all it is their home, not a set. Max, Sam’s son, is there setting up the lights and cameras around the kitchen and living area. These are usually out just pushed against the wall when they are not filming. It was Max’s idea to do the livecast after listening to podcasts while in college. Why not do that with the cooking show? Throw it online, then everyone can watch it, not just people that subscribe to certain cable companies.
There was one person that I was surprised to see. I had temporarily forgotten that Lynn Chyi worked with Sam and Max. Fans of Master Chef will remember Lynn Chyi from season 4. He runs the board out of a den next to the kitchen, and met Max while they were both interning at a law firm. Crazy! The trio of Sam, Max and Lynn are professional, but still keep things light and fun during the entire filming.
Before Novak arrived Sam was in the kitchen prepping for the two shows that will be filmed. Do not let the fun of the shows fool you, these shows are planned out, there is a schedule they stick to, and there are sponsors to promote. There is room for spontaneity, though. Sam refrained from asking kicker Nick Novak certain questions until they were filming to keep things interesting. You have to hold on tight to hang with Sam. He knows what he is doing, well except when he can’t find a spoon or dish, and he will do his best to drag you along with him if you miss a beat.
Want to see Sam cook in person? Attend one of his cooking classes!
The cooking for the Sam Livecast is done in real time. REAL. TIME. He might prep things a little bit, especially if they take longer, like tater tots, but the cooking you see on the show is real, the food at the end is exactly what he makes, and it’s delicious.
The Sam Livecast is a spontaneous affair, with lots of humor and food that is not only delicious, but I can make it. In fact I made the tater tot hot dish last night for dinner. Sam, Max, Lynn, Sam’s wife Kelly the dogs film a show where they live their lives and that felling of being with a long time friend who is making dinner, or breakfast, or a great late night snack comes through the screen.
Thank you Sam for allowing me to be in the background and for interviewing ME on the show, to Max for inviting me to the show, Lynn for introducing me to the book Ration, Louie for keeping my lap warm and Kelly who seems to humor all this going on in the house throughout the day. I had an amazing time, and cannot stop telling people about it, in a good way of course.