Feeling at ease in front of the camera comes naturally for Kelly Camille Patterson, host of the Velveteen Lounge Kitsch-en web series—she’s a professionally trained actor, writer, and producer. But in front of the stove? Not as much.
“When we started the series about five years ago, I had no background at all in cooking,” she says. “My mother didn’t like to cook, and I didn’t learn how. But as our show has gone forward and gotten more attention, I felt it was time to get some formal training so our recipes can grow along with our audience.” So she enrolled in Skill Development Boot Camp.
The series, “a tongue-in-cheek look at mid-century entertaining” that “celebrates all that is fun and kitschy about food, drink, and party planning,” grew out of a marriage of three of Kelly’s passions—acting, writing, and collecting vintage cookbooks. Her husband, trained in film, handles all of the technical elements of the show, freeing Kelly to inhabit her 1960s alter ego on screen. Her goal is to make entertaining easy and unintimidating for her viewers. “I feel very strongly that people are afraid to entertain because they think they’ll do it wrong—but it’s supposed to be fun!”
And fun is what she experienced during Boot Camp—practicing her knife skills in the CIA kitchens, enjoying a fabulous lunch at The Bocuse Restaurant, and meeting people of all ages and backgrounds who shared her interest in food. There were also some surprises. “The most unexpected thing I came away with from Boot Camp was confidence,” Kelly says. “I discovered that there’s more than one ‘right’ way to do things—that was eye-opening for me. Even though the recipe said to do something on the stove, Chef explained that you could also do it in the oven, and it would still come out good.
“I did techniques in Boot Camp that I might have normally shied away from because I didn’t know what they were, like julienne,” she continues. “I also poached, which I had already done at home—I just didn’t realize that that’s what it was. There was this sense of giving names to things I may have already been doing. My big achievement was making fresh pasta. I was so proud of myself!”
Kelly and her husband also have much to be proud of when it comes to the success and growth of their series. “Our core audience is the retro community, and we’ve been expanding into the food and liquor communities, because we always feature drinks,” Kelly says. “With this new confidence I got from Boot Camp, I’m not scared to have them read my recipes anymore!”
Watch Kelly at www.velveteenloungekitsch-en.com, or download free episodes from the iTunes Store.
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