Michel Roux's French Country CookingTV series for Discovery+
One of 43 Media’s primary goals is to act as a conduit for English speaking productions within France. This could not have been better demonstrated than with the Discovery Plus TV series Michel Roux’s French Country Cooking that we worked on in the summer of 2021.
Outline Productions, a multi award winning London based production company were in charge of realising the project and their production manager, Naomi Lamb, contacted us to see if we could assist them with the design and build of the main kitchen set for the production. This entire production was undertaken under the most extreme of the Covid restrictions and so we were ideally placed to facilitate all their pre-production needs.
The show was being filmed at a splendid Provence villa just north of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence and so we undertook a recce of the property as none of the London based staff had even been able to see it other than in pictures.
We measured up the main shooting space whilst hosting a live Zoom meeting with the production staff, running through their long list of questions about the property.
Building the main kitchen set
Having completed this task, Joe then took all of the information about the property as well as the specifications of the Samsung appliances that were to be used in the show and designed the overall layout for the shoot. This not only included the best ways to showcase the new line of Samsung kitchen appliances (the show was sponsored by Samsung), but also to camouflage some of the existing elements in the property that didn’t fit the design brief.
Following a few back and forth online meetings between 43 Media, Outline Productions and Samsung, all the design details were agreed upon and we went into the build stage. We had three weeks to get all the items built and painted before the delivery date, matching paint finishes from a distance between the existing kitchen and the new pieces of furniture. It was all systems go.
Everything was completed, packaged and packed with twenty-four hours to spare.
During the build process we had begun the discussion of possible drone footage that we could provide for the production and we agreed upon a four day schedule of formal shoot days as well as a brief to show Southern France off to it’s finest from the air. This is not quite as straight forward as it sounds as this part of Provence is situated directly at the intersection of five major national and international airports and has an extremely limited area that it is possible to fly in without major intervention, which due to Covid restrictions, we weren’t going to get.
We worked tirelessly to identify the perfect locations for the production to showcase the variety that the director and producers were looking for and requested and received all the necessary permits we required to get our shooting days nailed.
As well as shooting Michel’s Renault 4 driving through lavender fields and down alleys of plane trees, we took aerial shots of the beautiful house the series was filmed in. Then we took to the road and captured rivers and mountains, hay fields and castles. Every aerial shot in the series was filmed by 43 Media and was greatly appreciated by Outline productions.
The installation went without a hitch. The Samsung technicians arrived from Paris to install the ovens, hob and fridge-freezer … the moment of truth having worked from a distance with all the measurements they had given us – and everything slipped into place like a dream !
The French connection
However after the smooth installation of the set, it became clear that all was not well with the electrical installation at the house and so 43 Media donned their 35 years of electrical experience and arrived back on site, much to the relief of the English crew, to sort out all the problems.
Having been based in France for over a decade now, we were able to identify and solve all the electrical difficulties the production was encountering, and the value of having a French-based, English-speaking partner became evident – the Producer asked 43 Media to be there for the duration “to make sure we stay up and running”. So we did. For the next two weeks, we stayed on site and made sure that everything ran smoothly. Regularly being treated to the delicious food prepared by Michel – Joe even popped up in an episode where the crew enjoyed a BBQ!
This is what we do
By having Joe on site we were able to ensure the minimum of down time and the minimum of disruption to Production by liaising with the local hosts and the French support.
This is the very essence of what we do. If it needs sorting; we sort it. If it needs mending; we mend it. If it needs finessing; we finesse it.
The kitchen set looks exquisite, and the drone shots have played a major part in every episode. Currently screening on Food Network UK and Discovery Plus, the series has proved to be a huge success and 43 Media are in no small way a part of that success.