A few weeks ago, we were all hard at work in our prep kitchen gearing up for fall. Fall is a busy time for us as we were up to our chins in peaches! In just a few short days we had to blanch 500 lbs. of the best Palisade peaches! In the midst of this, the phone rang. The caller ID said “ABC – The Chew”. What??? Yep, “ABC – The Chew”. We answered the phone and the man on the other end introduced himself as a producer for the ABC daytime talk show “The Chew”. You know, Mario Batali, Michael Symon, Carla Hall, Daphne Oz and Clinton Kelly. Well, if you don’t know, it is a pretty big deal for a small little jam production place such as our prep kitchen. The Chew airs nationally and is a show about food, restaurants and pop culture. They are focusing this season on the way the food can change lives and they were interested in what we are doing in our prep kitchen!
Over the course of the next few weeks, we spoke back and forth with the producers and settled on a date for the shoot. Although they were not sending out any of the hosts, they did send out a crew who filmed us for an entire day. They arrived on Wednesday, September 2nd with 4 people to shoot our prep kitchen! Everyone wanted their chance to be on TV, but everyone was nervous also. Before the shooting, we had a quick employee meeting. We got everyone together and talked about how this is their chance to show the world (THE WORLD!!) that people with developmental disabilities can be the productive, efficient, and wonderful employees. This is their chance to show other companies that they could – and should – hire people with developmental disabilities. This is their chance to shine! Together we were going to sell some jam, and I couldn’t have been more proud.
Everyone stepped up, did their job and showed their true colors. They were focused, funny, and worked hard. They were not frightened by the camera’s; they were all calm, cool and collected. The crew spent 4 hours filming in our prep kitchen and 4 hours interviewing one and one and filming in the restaurant. I was also impressed with the crew and the producer from The Chew – Becky Horvath. They made our workers feel calm and comfortable in front of the camera. They treated each employee with dignity and respect. We are hopeful they were able to capture the true essence of our prep kitchen and our restaurant and can show others what fun we have. For those of you who haven’t been in our prep kitchen, I hope they were able to capture just how amazing it is. To walk into a full, commercial kitchen and see 20 people of all varying abilities hard at work is such a moving experience. To then walk across the street and see a restaurant bursting with customers eating that food is even better. I hope they were able to capture just how cool that is.
We aren’t sure when The Chew will air our little segment, but it is possible it will be in October or November. We do know that after 8 hours of filming, it will likely be 2 to 3 minutes. We don’t know if we will be invited to the Studio in New York, but we are hopeful we will be. We would love to take a group of our employees to showcase the awesome abilities people with developmental disabilities have. But even if we don’t head to New York, I know that we are on the right path. And many thanks to The Chew for taking the time and effort to film that path.
And even bigger thanks – from deep in my heart – to ALL of our employees. You guys make this place great, each and every one of you. I know I am the luckiest girl in the world, thank you!