07 Jul Behind the Queens: Creating Our ‘Now Serving’ Video
– Tracy Asalita, owner of The Queen’s Head
It was Thursday afternoon when I first got the word from my marketing company, Hashtag Creative, that I was going to be shooting a short video where I prepare a dish from The Queens Head menu. I was immediately curious as to what the experience would be like and started brainstorming. Do I want to highlight a popular dish? A new dish? An entrée or a dessert? Something easy or complicated? I sat and thought about each of my dishes and narrowed them down to three entrées and 1 dessert. It was a tough choice, but the film producer ultimately had the final say, as he knew what would work on camera.
By Monday I met with the film producer, Bobby Marnelli, with Now Serving, a concept created by West Bay Films. We began right away and his professionalism shone through. He had a script prepared, so all I had to do was follow his direction. Once I understood what was expected of me, I got right to work in the kitchen gathering ingredients for my Tagliatelle with short rib ragu.
I was excited he chose this item from the menu. I was looking forward to giving viewers a look at what goes into this fan favorite dish that I have perfected over the years. It’s important to me to walk the viewer through the steps — showcasing the fresh ingredients, spices, and details I use. From the making of fresh, hand-rolled pasta to the savory sauce to the tantalizing, marinated short ribs; the final product demonstrates the love and creativity I put into each dish.
It was Tuesday morning — shooting day — so I chopped onions, washed and peeled carrots, sliced celery, measured spices, and prepared pasta dough. The film crew got to work setting up a makeshift kitchen prep area within my indoor restaurant dining room. The kitchen certainly would not have allowed for the equipment and lighting they needed. It was pretty cool to experience the work that goes into these types of productions.
I followed each direction step by step. I couldn’t lean into or in front of the camera. I had to place my hands in a specific viewing area only. With ingredients, I had to reach in, dump, pour or stir and pull back out. It was a very specific, but very interesting process.
Five hours of video production became a 90-second final cut that I’m extremely proud of. I have shared this video over and over online and in the restaurant with customers. I have to share this little story: One night I shared the video with a visiting couple sitting at the bar who were deciding on what to order for dinner, then the couple next to them were curious about what it was and I showed them. The couple next to them asked about it too. It was a chain reaction, and they ALL ordered the dish for dinner that night!
If shooting a video of this type interests you, not only do I highly recommend the guys I worked with at Now Serving, but here are a couple tips I learned:
- Plan your dish with each detailed step written down.
- The more action the better and look for a recipe that offers a variety of techniques used.
- Keep the complexity of the dish to a minimum.
- Get organized as best you can and gather kitchen utensils and equipment needed.
- Prep and pre-measure each item; lay it out ahead of time.
I have done several cool and fun things in my career, but I have to say, the making of this video had to be one of the most interesting experiences I have had in the industry thus far.
Check out the video here and come try my homemade tagliatelle with short ribs in person! Let me know what you think. Also, I would love to get your feedback about the next recipe video I should create. Comment and let me know what you’d like to see next!