Saturday, April 7, 2012

My Martha Moment

Martha with staff member, Lisa Wagner.  Thanks for the autograph, Lisa!
   As many of you know, Martha Stewart was the host of this year's Pillsbury Bake-off in Orlando, held a couple of weeks ago. I was there as a guest of General Mills, and covered the event as a freelancer for the Deseret News. 
   Martha's involvement created a lot of buzz, especially with  all the contestants (and those of us in the media) appearing on her show when the million-dollar winner was announced.
  Since I've been covering Bake-offs, past hosts have included Alex Trebek, Phyllicia Rashad, Marie Osmond, Dick Clark, Joy Behar, and Sandra Lee. And although they were all busy filming, most of them seemed more friendly off-camera than Martha. We were advised beforehand that she wasn't going to be granting interviews and answering any questions. 
  However, I was able to get her autograph a cookbook for my sister, Christi Nash, who is a major Martha fan.
    The night before the Bake-Off, she came to a media dinner at Emeril's Tschoup Chop (pronounced Chop Chop). 
   I bought one of Martha's cookbooks and brought it with me on the plane. I kept it in my purse, in hopes of finding the right opportunity.  At the media dinner I chatted with a woman who (I found out later) is supervising editorial producer on Martha's team (see my photo of her with Martha). When I asked her about the possibility of getting the book signed, she said, "Oh, I can make that happen...."

 Suddenly she was taking me over to Martha as I fumbled through my purse for a pen. I tried not to be too gushy when I thanked her, adding that my sister has been a fan since her early days, which she probably hears all the time. When she handed me back the book, she said, "And is this your pen?" and I said, "Well, it's actually the Peabody Hotel's," and she actually chuckled a little.
Martha Stewart interviews a contestant on the Bake-Off floor.
  Other than that, Martha seemed pretty reserved.  At the media dinner, held at Emeril's Tschoup Chop, she did a presentation for about a half hour about her new book about regional American foods. We hoped she was going to give out review copies (because that's what authors often do when they are promoting their books). But she only gave one out one copy, to General Mills' advertising director Mark Addicks, commenting that her assistant thought he was "hot."

   During the cocktail hour, people tried to get her to pose with them for a photo, and she gave in a few times. Then she said she would go around to each table during dinner for photos. But, she left early instead.

  Some of the food writers expressed disappointment.  But, I guess Martha doesn't really need the public relations anymore. She is who she is.
Martha Stewart prepares for her show in Orlando, where the Pillsbury Bake-Off winner was announced. Don't you love that hanging "chandelier" of whisks, spatulas and spoons?

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