Wow, it was so cool to be on Martha's show today! i've never been in a studio audience before and would really like to do it again. i didn't get bored or antsy to get up and walk around (they wouldn't let you anyway). The show was supposed to take about an hour to tape, but it took well over two hours. This was the first annual Pie Bake-Off for the show. It was great to be a part of that.
i got to the studio around noon, thinking it would be a good idea to get there early. I shouldn't have been surprised to see such a long line of people who had the same idea. I walked to the end of the line and stood patiently, trying to balance my pie while holding an umbrella. A sweet old lady named Marjorie got in line behind me. We struck up a conversation when I overheard she had just flown in from Minnesota. We chatted the whole time we were on the line outside and later, sat together inside what I call the "holding pen", a couple of rooms with a lot of chairs and some flat screen TVs playing Martha's show. It was great to hear about her life and all she has accomplished. She has well over 1000 blue ribbons from the MN State Fair and has been on various shows from Rosie O'Donnell to Jay Leno. She also had a copy of her book on hand, Blue Ribbon Baking, which I spent some time flipping through.
When it was time to walk into the studio, I had to leave Marjorie behind, as we were to be seated in different sections. She was part of a big group, the American Pie Council. I didn't know such an organization existed. I got a great seat on the center aisle, so I had a perfect view of the set. I was so impressed with Martha's studio, everything was so perfect, just as you'd expect from Martha. I took pictures of every corner, amazed at the details. If i were to design a kitchen, I would probably use her set as the model.
There were a total of 170 pies in the bake-off. All the pies were nicely arranged on two long tables. Some pies were showcased on a cake stand. I was pleasantly surprised to see my pie on one of the pedestals! I recognized my red ceramic pie dish from Sur La Table almost immediately as I scanned the pies from my seat. I took several pictures of my pie as it stood there in all its glory. As the cameras panned across the tables, i could see the images on the big flat screen TVs in the studio. I was so pleased to see my pie showcased, but it never made me think I'd have a chance at winning. The reason is that when they asked how many of us made apple pie, about half the audience stood up. But at that point it really didn't matter, I was just really excited to be participating.
Martha had several pastry chefs judging the pies, including Karen DeMasco, the pastry chef at Robert DeNiro's restaurant, Locanda Verde. She has a new book out called The Craft of Baking. I'd recently seen this book online while I was doing a lot of research on pies, and had made a note to see if my company carries this book. Lucky for me, one of the items in our goody bag was a copy of her book! I was thrilled. In addition to that, we each got a Pyrex pie caddy, which includes a glass pie pan, and a Martha Stewart pie top cutter -- another item I'd been eyeing recently. Plus there was a bag full of other useful things, such as hand lotion (3 varieties!) and two blocks of organic baking chocolate -- nice!
During the show, Martha called on a couple of members of the audience to talk about their pie. One of them was my new friend Marjorie. I thought this was a good sign for her. There were two other women from the American Pie Council who were interviewed. I began to wonder how I could join this secret society of pie experts and vowed to look into it.
Later in the show, Martha herself got over to the pie tables and began sampling several pies. I never saw her taste mine, but i did see one judge take a bite and immediately reach for some water. I thought, "that can't be good". Slowly they started taking some of the pies off the table and placed on carts. I figured these were the final contestants. I saw another judge taste my pie, and I saw him hesitate, speak to someone and then moved on. My pie never made it on that cart. I was too happy to be disappointed about that. It was so much fun being on the show that the actual contest seemed unimportant at that point.
When it came time for Martha to announce the winner, I honestly had no idea who it could be. I was beyond thrilled when she said Marjorie's name! I felt she really deserved it, having come all the way from MN and having won so many awards in the past. It seemed completely appropriate and I was proud that a fellow Minnesotan won! Now she will go back to the show tomorrow to tape an episode where she makes her pecan pie with Martha. I can't wait to see it.
I also look forward to seeing the Pie Show on Monday. During the taping, there were several shots taken of my pie, I am anxious to see which make the final cut. There was one fade to commercial break with only my pie in the frame. I hope that stays in. I really hope Martha makes this an annual event, i would love to participate next year! And I am already thinking about new pies to try out.
Waiting on line outside the Martha Stewart studio
Me and my pie
Me and my new friend, Marjorie