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Tonight on TV, Gail gets saucy

The stars, at Whole Foods. (Emeril Green)

It's not "Top Chef," but to Gail Fast it's just as exciting. Watch "Emeril Green" tonight at 8 on Planet Green and you'll see the District resident shop for ingredients with Emeril Lagasse, then get a lesson on how to make sauces.

How, you may ask, did all this come to pass?

As it happens, the famed New Orleans chef was shooting episodes of the show at the Whole Foods Market in Fair Lakes. The program's premise: A home cook needs help with some aspect of food preparation. Enter Emeril, who takes the cook shopping in the store before the two of them tackle what has been a problematic dish. Along the way, Emeril advises and instructs.

Months ago, Gail saw a call for local participants for the show. Those applying were asked to present a culinary challenge that Emeril could help them with. Gail wrote that she had trouble making sauces; she guesses they liked the idea, because she was scheduled to shoot an episode in March. While interviewing with the show's staff, Gail told a story about a gravy battle that had been waged at her family's Thanksgiving table one year.

On filming day, she met Emeril early. "He's really nice," Gail said. "He comes over, he introduces himself. He knows your name. He's extremely personable. And he does a great job of calming your nerves."

The next step: shopping. "The two of you walk around the store with a cart. That was one of the best parts. He's so knowledgeable."

Here's what they cook on the show. (Emeril Green)

And finally, the main event: "like having a private cooking lesson with a famous chef." They buzzed through recipes that included salad, vegetable puree and pork chops. "Then at the end, he said, 'I have a surprise for you.' And we ended the show with the two of us making gravy."

I couldn't resist asking: Did Emeril yell out a trademark "Bam!" during the show? No, it turns out, but Gail did. Now she has a bet going with a co-worker (she's head of health promotion for a health management company in Falls Church). If they show her saying "Bam!" during the episode, she wins $5. Can't wait to see what happens.

Filming for the show's current season has wrapped up, and next season's schedule isn't firm, according to a spokeswoman for the Discovery Channel, which owns Planet Green. If and when the call goes out for more Washington area volunteers, we'll let you know.

-- Jane Touzalin

By Jane Touzalin  |  December 21, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Television  | Tags: Emeril Lagasse, Jane Touzalin, television  
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