by Chocolate" Discovery Networks
The Learning Channel
at WPBT 2 in Miami, "Death by Chocolate" and it's
companion "The Burgermeisters" aired on The Learning
Channel for two seasons in Prime Time and on AM Saturdays.
Host is C.I.A. Chef Marcel
Desaulniers of the Trellis of Williamsburg, VA.
popularity of "Death by Chocolate" and other cooking
shows at that time was a fact not lost on the creators of
the Food Network, launched in that same year.
hit from the start, "Death by Chocolate" was featured
on a four and a half hour special with world premier episodes
on Thanksgiving Day. Next was "The Burgermeisters",
also a hit, featuring the best burgers from a "who's
who" of the greatest Chefs in the world.
producers Michael Dingley and Mary Ellen Iwata wanted the
set for their new cooking shows to break the mold of the
conventional cooking show. They specifically requested
that the set not look like a working kitchen, but a sleek,
ultra modern showcase for the talents of chef Marcel Desaulniers.
With this in mind, I created the set using rich black marble
faux treatments on curvilinear walls. Charcoal gray granite
countertops with birch wood grain cabinets provide some
warmer accents to a predominantly "cool" color
palette. Recessed lighting adds texture and illuminates
the props and set dressing. Colored backlight on the glass
block wall allowed for changing background color to match
the show's content.
by Chocolate" and "The Burgermeisters" were
difficult to produce, even for cooking shows. The shooting
schedule began with morning prep, after which a straight
run through, live on tape. After pickups, the production
moved to product shots of the finished dishes. This required
elaborate "vignettes" consisting of decorations,
lighting effects, smoke effects, props and table settings
on a swept light table top, all in an attempt to match the
quality beauty shots from Marcel's wonderful books.
cooking shows required working appliances, including gas
piped in from external tanks and practical sinks and faucets
in studios with no existing drains or water. Waste water
was collected in holding tanks under the sink, filtered
and pumped out. Hot water heaters were also in the center
island counter as well as a practical sink and cook top.
Behind the set is a full prep kitchen with refrigerators,
stoves, prep tables, automatic dish and clothes washers.
Hot water heaters are also needed for prep area and waste
water was collected in holding tanks under the sink, filtered
and pumped out.
To the right is a TV Guide ad for "Death By Chocolate"
Show on TLC.