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Behind the Scenes of Hook, Line & Dinner

Ben Sargent of Hook, Line and Dinner

Ben Sargent holds up his catch while fishing with the Garcia brothers in Miami, FL.

I unexpectedly fell in love with the city of Miami while we were shooting last night’s episode of Hook, Line & Dinner. I hadn’t spent much time in the city before, but by the end of the shoot, I was telling everyone I was planning to move there. The city has something special going on. Everything that would be described as cheesy in New York City is a-ok in Miami: Lamborghinis and Ferraris, loud music and dancing, sunbathing and clubbing. It’s Latin, and it is wild. Everyone just seems to say “It’s OK here.  It’s Miami.”

It took a little bit of time for me (and my old BMW bike that had a tendency to leak oil and gas) to get into the rhythm of shooting this series. Long rides, a crazy shooting schedule and too much sunshine were a few of my challenges. Yes, even sunshine. Three-hour bike rides in summer resulted in some painfully pink arms! But in the end, it was worth it. I got to learn from expert fishermen and experience the challenges they face everyday; I was able to uncover the best seafood joints and cook with their chefs; I followed the day’s catch from sea to table and enjoyed the freshest seafood in the country. All in a hard day’s work.

So what was a typical day like while we were filming Hook, Line & Dinner?

Well, here’s a basic outline:

Ben Sargent from Cooking Channel's Hook, Line and Dinner

5 a.m. is wheels up.

This does not mean “coffee time.”  This means you have had your coffee already, eaten breakfast, have your game face on and all equipment is packed up and ready to go.  Then we’d start to ride, rain or shine.

By 7:30 or 8 a.m., we are either on a fishing boat or on a high speed boat out to meet a fishing boat already hard at work.

We tried as best we could not to mess with a good day of fishing for these guys.  To let them keep working, we often had to take a boat out to meet them and then figure out how to board the vessel in high waves. Trust me: this looks easy until you are jumping from boat to boat with heavy camera equipment. Quite the challenge!

At 10 a.m., we were off the boat and on our way to the processing plant where the fish we caught would be prepped before going to the restaurant.

Anything you think will take an hour during shooting — add 2 more hours to that and you will be about right!

When 2 p.m. rolls around, we are back on the road to go meet the chef.

We usually had just enough time to grab something to eat and then it was back on the road, winding our way down some crazy dirt road for an our or two to a hidden gem of a restaurant to learn the proper way to cook our catch.

By 4 p.m., I can’t feel my legs anymore.

And it’s time to get to work in the kitchen with the chef!

Don’t ask me how, but now it’s midnight and we are just about finished shooting.

The hours between 4 p.m. and 12 a.m. have flown by. I’ve cooked the same dish 5 times to be sure we get the shot, but I still haven’t been able to eat it!  I have to wait for the infamous “bite and smile” shots. Boy, am I starving.  Ben Sargent from Cooking Channel's Hook, Line and Dinner

Whew, now I can eat!

Time to go home, right? Not quite.

You can’t end the night without swapping stories and sharing a shot or two with the chef!

Almost every night ended with me rolling into bed after 2 a.m.  But the crew and I were still always ready to do it all over again bright and early the next morning! But trust me. It was worth every second of lost sleep to tell these fishermen’s stories.

Recipes from the Show:

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