Thursday, July 17, 2014

Filming for NHK! Gretel no Kamado

I was recently lucky enough to be asked to take part in a programme on NHK's E TV - NHK is the Japanese national broadcasting, like Japan's BBC, and the E TV channel is their educational channel.

The programme, called Gretel's Magical Oven グレーテルのかまど / Gureteru no kamado, is a long-running series that looks at a new sweet-related story each episode, and in explaining about the dessert, shows information about it and how to make them.

This programme was to be about lemon meringue pie, and specifically Nigel Slater's childhood memories of the dish as detailed in his autobiography, Toast. They asked me to try to give a bit of insight into what lemons, not native to the UK, mean to British people, and to demonstrate a couple of examples of other lemon-themed sweets that are made at home in England.

I've never been on TV before, I'm not really the type to want do so, but I liked the idea that the programme is about the stories and culture behind that week's sweet. I felt it was a great chance to make progress in Mornington Crescent's aim of 'bringing authentic British baked goods and their interesting stories to people in Japan' - to many people!

I prepared some of the items in advance, and finished others off while they were filming. At around 2 hours it was all quite quick and efficient, just a couple lamps, camera and mic, and no famous タレント / tarento / talent were present to make me feel more nervous than I had to be. I was especially nervous before they arrived, but once we got going and I got used to ignoring the camera it wasn't too bad at all.

Behind the scenes...!

It was interesting to see behind the scenes of a programme - the decisions made about arranging items and backgrounds, how different shots are filmed, and what information they wanted to know. With the filming complete I felt it had gone ok. I just hoped they got what they needed, and that they wouldn't use the clip of me miming milking a cow when I tried to describe old fashioned syllabub! Oops. :)

Filling the butterfly cakes with lemon curd

In the end it turned out great! I watched the programme and got all excited when my jar of lemon curd was used at the beginning. Then, at the very end there was a "tea break" section of the show where they introduced me (wow!) and showed me making the butterfly fairy cakes with lemon curd, along with the other desserts I'd made. And no milking a cow shot, phew.

It was a great experience and I've already had contact with some people who saw the show and looked me up, how amazing! TV is really powerful in Japan!


  1. Hello, nice to meet you, I just found your blog and gound it very interesting.

    As you said, TV is really powerful in Japan, specially talking about food. I remember the time when I was with my Japanese wife having breakfast when suddenly we watched this filming about an okonomiyaki tiny restaurant. We just decided to take our car and to travel around 3 hours to go to that small restaurant, that already had a lot of newcomers like us making a line outside.

    Amazing, huh?

    Hugs! :)

    1. Hello! Nice to meet you too :) yes it's pretty amazing, people had looked up my email and were contacting me while the programme was still on air! Wow. Hope you enjoyed the little okonomiyaki place, sounds lovely.

  2. I did! Thank you!!

    I will be in Tokyo at the end of the year, I hope I can visit your little shop in Tokyo, try the cakes and of course talk to you!!!

    After NHK, I think I may need to take a picture with you!!! hehe