Cooking up a TV show
Camera in hand, Meredith Andrews started on what was for her a first — a television credit.
It could be argued that Moveable Feast with Fine Cooking, the show she worked on this summer, would not have been made without her.
The Boston film crew was in desperate need of waterproof camera equipment but could not find any on island.
The local photographer offered hers.
“They couldn’t use mine for insurance reasons,” she said. “So they asked me if I would use it, and help them film.”
The Bermuda episode of Moveable Feast premieres on Saturday on WGBH Boston. The PBS series, which is made in conjunction with Fine Cooking magazine, highlights food and traditions from around the world.
Farmer Tom Wadson, mixologist Stefan Gitschner and spearfishing record-holder Taylor Barit all feature in the show.
“When I’m on a shoot and I hear people talking over a problem — the need for a new location, or a new model — my mind goes into overdrive trying to solve the problem,” said Ms Andrews, who was invited by the Bermuda Tourism Authority to act as a “fixer” for Moveable Feast.
“I think it’s a holdover from my early days working as a freelance photography assistant in London. In Bermuda, it’s not always easy to source things so it’s really about having local knowledge. Sometimes I think I’m a producer trapped in a photographer’s body.”
The equipment was only one item on a long list of things she had to source before the start of filming at the end of June.
“It had things on it like three different types of oil. I ended up going to every grocery store on the island. One of the unusual things on the list was grapeseed oil. I’d never heard of that before, but I now cook with it.
“They also wanted yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit. That was the only thing I couldn’t find. They weren’t upset. They are pretty adaptable.”
Her biggest concern during the four days of filming was the unpredictable June weather. The first day, spent just to the west of the island at Eastern Blue Cut, was sunny, but a little windy.
“That made filming the spearfishing a little more complicated,” she said. “But we managed.”
The weather turned the next day, but only after they had finished a shoot at Wadson’s Farm in Southampton.
“The heavens opened up just as the director said cut and wrap,” Ms Andrews said.
The show’s featured chefs, Michelle Bernstein of Miami’s Crumb on Parchment and Gavin Kaysen of Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis, prepared hogfish and snapper caught by Ms Barit. The highlight for the crew, however was fisherman Michael Barnes’s catch.
“For their wrap party, the crew, being foodies, wanted authentic food, not a white tablecloth dinner,” Ms Andrews said.
“I took them to Woody’s [Drive In Two]. I think they have the best fish sandwiches in Bermuda. I called ahead and asked the manager there if we could bring a filleted fish and grill it. Chef Bernstein made all these mise en place sauces, Woody’s did their thing and made spectacular fish sandwiches on raisin bread. I think the crew had a great time and ended up swimming off the dock.”
Ms Andrews has shot pictures for the likes of Delta Air Lines, Nike and Fortune magazine. She also exhibited in London’s National Portrait Gallery’s Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize in 2008.
In terms of cooking, she confessed to not being a confident chef. She lost her sense of smell about 20 years ago, possibly from being around photography chemicals and, as a consequence, has a dulled sense of taste.
“I like very sour or salty things,” she said.
She is excited about the exposure Bermuda will get from the Emmy-nominated PBS series.
“To make that association between Bermuda and fine dining is great,” she said.
“I know there have been other shows that have come down here, but this was more about the produce we have on the island and what a chef could do here. I think that is great.”