It’s been several weeks since I’ve returned from New York City and the Martha Stewart Pie Show. I still feel elated by just being there, as it was truly one of the most exciting things a foodie like myself could ever be invited to attend.
The moment I received the invitation to bring my own homemade pie to be judged by some of the best pastry chefs in New York, I was excited and nervous, to say the least. What kind of pie should I make? What kind of pie would withstand a 13-hour + car ride? How would I protect the pie while in the car? What ingredients should I use so the pie wouldn’t have to be refrigerated? So many questions to answer, and all I could think about was the thrill and nerve-racking idea of being at the studio where Martha would appear to tape her show that day. What if my pie was chosen? “I would probably faint”, I thought to myself.
The night before the show, we arrived at Chelsea Studios in New York City to scope out the place and find out where we needed to go in the morning since we commuted from our hotel in Queens. I’ve never been happier to arrive in a city, having such purpose and a raison d’être.
The morning of the show we arrived early—as did just about everyone else- pie in tow. Some tucked theirs into Longaberger baskets with pretty cloth napkins; others cleverly packaged their pies in cardboard pizza boxes. Mine, on the other hand, were brought in durable plastic Crate & Barrel pie tows, then topped with aluminum foil, just the way the Martha crew ordered.
Soon after, the crew arrived with stainless steel carts to collect our entrance ticket: the homemade pie. I handed it over as if I was handing over a child for adoption, reluctant, but believing it was for a good cause, that the pie would have a better life in the hands of the Martha taste testers—and hopefully win. It would be well worth the sacrifice.
Without our pies, women began asking each other what kind of pies were brought, in a definitely competitive tone. One woman in the bathroom line ahead of me even turned around to asked what I brought, but was more interested in telling me the exact name of her unique pie. She ended up talking to Martha on the show, describing the contents of her pie.
In the pre-production room, we were able to sit down and watch Martha shows on small plasma tvs or even buy Martha Show products while we waited for directions about what to do next. While waiting, Joey stood right in front of us and came to our side of the room to fire up the crowd and give us a strict instructions: no gum chewing, no getting out our seats during taping, all items should be under the chairs & be quiet during taping. No pictures or videos, either. Next thing you know, he excitedly addresses one of the audience members, supposedly famous (I had no idea who she was)- Marjorie Johnson- sitting two rows behind me. Little did I realize at this point that she would be going home with the coveted blue-ribbon prize. Did any of us have a chance to win? Have you seen how many blue ribbons this woman has won?
After being directed into the actual studio where the taping takes place, it’s easy to see that this show is quite a production- very well-organized, an absolutely beautiful set, and much thought to make it exciting and fun for the audience members, as well.
I tried to scope out my pie as I walked into the studio. I think I saw it. Maybe. There were a lot of apple pies on the long pie-tasting table. I think I saw it on the tvs that were placed in front of our seats. I even think one of the judges, Sarah Carey of Everyday Food, nodded her head with a mouthful of my pie to say, “Yumm, that’s good.”
Ok, maybe it was wishful thinking. But I know the pie was tasty. It just had to be. Think positive. Always. Right?
the winning pie and baker with the Martha Show crew
In the end, Marjorie Johnson did win Martha’s 1st Annual Pie Bake-Off. I’m glad someone with her amount of baking experience was the winner. I’m sure I can learn a thing or two about baking from her. After all, pie crust always has room for perfection…