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Weave through the intricate maze of 20 different studio spaces, duck under cameras while hopping over thick yellow cables — but just try not to overindulge in the plethora of savory and sweet goodies that are always within arm’s reach here inside one of America’s most recognizable kitchens.
TODAY Food's next episode "Crazy Kitchens" takes an all-access look at the QVC test kitchens located in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
(David Venable works for QVC and the products featured here are sold through QVC.)
Over 1 million viewers tune in to QVC each week to shimmy along with channel host David Venable as he shakes and gyrates, happy dances his way through his namesake show: “In the Kitchen with David."
Food "sells" (TV jargon for QVC presentations) go through 12,000 pounds of meat, 7,000 pounds of seafood, 5,000 pounds of French fries and 30,000 pounds of fresh produce each year, but that doesn't mean it's all edible ... or that it can be rinsed off in the studio sink.
The studio itself is a true "Transformers" story with transitional sets that convert from a full living room or bedroom, into a luxurious kitchen in just 30 minutes. Due to the high-stakes nature of live on-air presentations where every minute matters, tables, kitchen islands and sinks are rolled into place between the 15-second transition from one product to another.
Of course, everything is not always what it appears to be, and sometimes functionality takes a back seat to aesthetics. Often, the crew needs to get creative, case in point: Venable's island sink that conveniently wheels in and out of place lacks running water. A pipe is outfitted to the sink's drain and everything simply flows into a metal bucket underneath. The bucket is dumped between sessions.
The prep kitchen churns out completed dishes by the hour, but each dish still needs to look its very best even if it must sit out for a while. To keep the food looking fresh for house, food stylists use several tricks of the trade.
For example, lasagna may get a spritz of cooking spray to help give the top a glistening, bubbling, "fresh out of the oven" look. And while those milkshakes and banana splits may look appetizing, the ice cream might actually be a thick cake batter: It'll look perfect for hours, even under hot studio lights.
"The only challenge I have as a host of all of these cooking shows, [is that] I have to be very sure that what I eat is the real deal," joked Venable.
After years in the spotlight, Venable knows a thing or two about what home cooks are really seeking. According to the host, busy home cooks love shortcuts and those tips and tricks formed the inspiration behind his latest book, "Comfort Food Shortcuts."
"Pre-packaged ingredients definitely help get you to the finish line faster," said Venable.
"In the Kitchen with David," airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET and Sundays at noon on QVC.
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