On Wednesday, I was given the opportunity to appear on TV Tokyo
. I was told by the producer that it was the "Japanese equivalent of the Today show, at least for the business community. Think of it as Squawk Box, but with a much bigger audience" and was seen by 8 million viewers. I was dressed in my BBQ-Brethren
hat and apron with my KCBS
CBJ Pin on my shirt pocket.
So I smoked 3 racks of baby back ribs over cherry wood rubbed with Head Country
and glazed in a home made Kansas City style sauce. I also brought 2lbs of pulled pork with me, to which I added a home made Carolina style mustard sauce. Part of the original plan of the show was to exhibit different regional styles of Q.
I was picked up by a limo and driven to Dumont, New Jersey where the show was staging a "typical American barbeque party," complete with "a typical American family" enjoying the barbecue. My driver who was Korean spent a good thirty minutes explaining why and how Koreans eat and prepare dog. He should have been paying attention to the driving, he got us lost.
When I arrive, I am met by the producer who explains that he wants me to talk about what true barbecue is. He asks me to explain the differences between grilling and BBQ, what Americans eat and the regional differences. Sounds good.
I meet the star, nice guy, but I can't get his name straight. Everyone says it differently. I think it was something like Skipstarson. We do a rehearsal and they tell me that my explanation of barbeque is way too long to do in both English and then Japanese. They take my words and translate them into Japanese and give them to Skipstarson to say.
OK. I was then asked to grill some beef and chicken kabobs for the promo. Hey - this isn't BBQ, but what the hell. I grill them up and they film me with Skipstarson saying something next to me while the camera zooms in on the kabobs cooking on a gas grill.
Once the kabobs are done, we take out the ribs and pulled pork and put them on the gas gill for the show. I protested that we should use the charcoal Weber
kettle, but I am over ruled. So we do a run through of the show. Skipstarson blathers on in Japanese for awhile, while I attend to the ribs and pulled pork. The only words I understand are Kansas City and Carolina. As soon as he says Carolina, I'm to step back and let him take some of the pulled pork. He takes a fork full (it was ice cold at this point) puts it in his mouth and makes some sort of gesture that I assume means he likes it.
A panic goes up about the time, and I light the gas grill up again to get the ribs and pork back up to temperature. Skipstarson goes to another end of the yard with some of the kabobs and does some sort of tease for the show. (It was a lot like how in a news show they cut to a reporter and he gives a brief "later in the show, I'll be eating food," type of thing.) He's there holding a kabob in one hand and a fake Cosmo in the other and laughing and joking about "American" and "barbeque"
It's supposed to be 15 minutes between that bit and the real piece of the show, so we do another rehearsal. I have no idea what I'm supposed to say, because they took my topics away. Yummi the assistant producer comes over and says, here's your line. "In America, barbeque is an occasion for people to come together, party, cook and eat meat." Hmm, for this I'm being billed as "the expert?"
This was a live segment. We finally get the go ahead and Skipstarson is filmed talking and walking up the driveway of the house until he "finds" a typical "American Barbeque" Part of the segment was Skipstarson explaining the differences between charcoal and gas grills. Jack Daniels
must be a sponsor, because he holds up bag of JD chips and talks about them for awhile.
I'm supposed to wander over the grill at some point like I just arrived and we do the bit. I open up the grill and move around the ribs and pork while Skipstarson is talking and gesturing and finally says "Robert Fernandez." and I spout my line! (3.5 seconds of fame! Woo HOOO!) The segment ends with Skipstarson calling out to the family to come over and eat. It was a lot of fun, and I’d do it again in a heart beat, even it wasn't what I thought I was there to do.
If you want to see it, here’s a link to a poor quality clip. WhiteTrash on TV Tokyo
Click on the “film” icon on the right side of the page.