Week 21: One Minute of Fame

It was over before you knew it. My one minute of fame had come and gone just like that…wait, let me snap my fingers on my right hand, it’s much louder…okay, gone just like that!




If you haven’t noticed, I silently skipped a blog post last week. You know how it is during this time of the school year, we decide to pack it up with events and fundraisers. But it was for one of those fundraisers that gave me the opportunity to be on TV. I’m chairing the Taste of the Triangle event on May 2, which is EdUCate!’s biggest fundraiser and I’m the chairperson. We have 20 restaurants participating during this 20th anniversary celebration. And Jessica Gago from Fast Forward, a PR company, set up the television appearance on San Diego6 The CW’s morning San Diego Living segment.


I became the designated spokesperson. Lucky me. Did anyone vote on that? Well, I had some warning about the appearance, but I really didn’t tell anyone beforehand. I didn’t even tell my family the day before at our Easter gathering. Although I’ve spoken in front of groups and crowds in the past, I’ve never made a real TV appearance and deep down inside I didn’t want anyone to witness what I thought for sure would be some sort of embarrassing moment, you know possibly tripping over a cord into some chef’s dish.


Luckily, fellow EdUCate! board member and Taste of the Triangle (“TOT”) Vice-Chair (meaning she’s the one that really does all the work) Diane Lueke agreed to come along for moral support. We get there well in advance of our designated arrival, and shown to the Green Room. To the door is as far as we got. There was a group in there getting ready for a fashion show, so between all the models, stylists, hair, makeup folks, there really wasn’t any room. Plus with all that hairspray smell in the air, whoa, we preferred the hallway.


Monday morning and it’s crowded in the studio. There are some guys with a fire and flood prevention service bringing in machines that I have no idea what they could be used for. While waiting, Diane and I go over some other TOT details; there really is a ton of work that goes on to put on one of these taste events. Soon, Tiffany Frowiss, the segment producer, comes by to introduce herself and brings us out to the back lot where we are having the cooking segment.


The chefs have all arrived and are figuring out where to stake their territory. Now, we have four chefs here, and when I had told a friend of mine, who’s also a chef, about the TV segment, his comment was “egos will fly.” Well, of course, they all happen to be men. But, actually they were all very nice and cooperative, exchanging business cards. Chef Michel Malecot from The French Gourmet, I will say is quite comfortable in these settings and is a real pro — he has been supporting TOT since the beginning!


The fire/flood guys are ahead of us, so they take up the outdoor grass area first, and when they are done, then Chefs Michel and Aron Schwartz, from the Marine Kitchen, have to roll their set up over, then the Bella Vista Social CLub and Caffe guys, Chefs Jose Ledesma and Michael Garner have to take the other table, clear it off and put together their set up. Meanwhile, Cozymel’s Chef Miguel Flores and General Manager Amber Johnson have already set up their table, with a few bottles of tequila — is that just for decor? I guess it’s unusual to have so many chefs together for this type of segment.


Soon enough, I’m getting hooked up, cord through my shirt, small microphone clipped on the front of my blouse, and the receiver thingy held in back. I’m sure you see it all the time on TV on the morning talk show hosts. For me, I was like ya, ya no big deal, I do this all the time, but really, it was panic time. Was I going to be able to answer questions? How much were tickets again? What is our website domain? Who am I?


One of the hosts, Laura Cavanaugh, comes out to introduce herself everyone. A very vivacious woman, she asks some off-camera questions to gain a sense of the purpose of EdUCate! and why the chefs would donate their time and food to our cause. When she talks to me I realize, one, she is very tall and good thing I was at least wearing heels — otherwise I would have looked like a munchkin next to her. Second, her ease in having a conversation with you prior to going on air was very comforting. I later felt that it was her way of prepping us all into feeling we were just having a friendly chat together.

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Okay, everyone in place, we are quiet, Laura is nodding her head to someone, I assume those in the studio, a countdown was started, and here we go. She begins talking to the camera about TOT in general, then she introduces me and starts to ask me questions. Now, as a board member I pretty much know what’s going on, and I gave quite a bit of info to her beforehand. I feel that I am talking fine, then whoa, what was that question you asked me, I don’t remember discussing that beforehand, okay let me think real quick, I try to find the words (to me this questioning seemed to be taking a really, really long time), and I have a full conversation in my head while this is going on: Jemma think quick…what does the funds we raise buy…she already mentioned Math Academy, so what should I say now…didn’t I anticipate this question before, what was the answer I thought of, oh yes outdated science equipment and what else for Kindergarteners…oh what was that, I think she sees the panic in my face…a rug for kids to sit on…well that really wasn’t the answer I wanted to give, but good enough for now…too late, I already said it on live television.


Whew, Laura goes on to the chefs, and my cue to step aside. I’m done. My one minute of fame completed.

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After this first segment which showed The French Gourmet and Marina Kitchen, anchor Marc Bailey comes out to join the group. During the second segment, Bella Vista Caffe and Cozymel’s dishes were shown and Marc went around and ate more food. They were quite funny and the chefs did great. Soon it was done, everything quickly put away, and yes we got to eat the food afterwards. Thank you’s and hugs were given, and we all looked forward to meeting up again at the Taste!




Later that afternoon, the segment video was available. I guess I will watch it. I’m getting nervous again. Let’s see…I said uh huh in agreement all the time, I noticed my hesitation during that conversation about the funds, oh and I kept talking when I stepped away forgetting about the mic on me, luckily the studio technicians were on it and cut me off — who knows what I was saying next!


Then, here it starts…the self-criticizing. This is why I hate looking at photos (and now video) of myself, and listening to my voice. Is that really how my voice sounds? Why did they film that angle of my face? I should have worn foot high heels. And why are we so self-conscious? People start sending me the compliments, yet I always feel uncomfortable about getting them. Instead of just saying thank you, I always point out something negative about myself. Why is that?


And I’m not alone. I think many of us, especially women, get very down on ourselves. The way we look, talk, dress. Why are all the pictures of our kids are with their dads? Oh mom is taking the pictures, and we don’t want to be in them anyway, right? Why are we so ingrained in the idea of what society is considered beautiful? Why have we let society, and ourselves, define beauty in such a way that somewhat unrealistic looking models and celebrities grace newsstand magazine covers?


In my day job, we value intellectual property, which includes a celebrity’s right of publicity. Part of our valuation of celebrities includes what we call a Q score, which among other things rates their “attractiveness” from surveys. But what really is attractive? Isn’t the woman that works two jobs to raise her kids beautiful? Isn’t the man that works all day and night, raises his son alone, and feeds the homeless handsome? Isn’t the woman who takes care of her handicapped child day and night without any respite gorgeous? These are people who should get celebrity status. And inside all of us is a celebrity that deserves time in the limelight. Maybe I’ll start a new magazine about everyday celebrities. Would you read that? Honestly?




Aside from my self-conscious issues, I was on TV for a reason: to promote the Taste of the Triangle. So here’s a shameless plug for the event. Buy your tickets and come to the event, 20 restaurants providing tastes, lots of auction baskets (who’s going to bid against me for the dinner with the firemen), music from our local kids, bar for adult beverages (sodas too), and dancing! Yes, let’s get loose at the end of the night, because by that time I won’t be self-conscious! And if you want to join in with me for a champagne toast at the VIP reception to celebrate 20 years of the TOT, send in your generous donation. Support EdUCate!…it’s for the kids!




Notebook: EdUCate!’s 20th Anniversary Taste of the Triangle, $75 per person, $85 at the door, www.uc-educate.org. 20 tasting restaurants, 100+ auction baskets, music, drinks, dancing, and best of all spending time with friends. If you can’t make it, go online and make a donation, buy it now auction items, or sponsor a teacher.


To see the TOT segment, click here: http://www.sandiego6.com/san-diego-living/food/Taste-of-the-Triangle-Exploring-Local-San-Diego-Cuisine-256046711.html


Tastes from the Channel6 San Diego Living Segment were:

Marina Kitchen – Stingy nettles with pork belly

The French Gourmet – Braised beef cheeks with mashed potatoes and sauteed celery root

Bella Vista Social Club and Caffe – Jambalaya

Cozymel’s – Mini taco salads

Stay tuned, next week we’ll be promoting TOT on KUSI with more chefs and tastes!