The Green Gourmet

Caterer and cooking teacher Diana Welsch sees writing and starring in her own ACAC cooking program as the natural progression of her food career. The former commercial photographer segued into a cooking career so she could spend more time at home with her young son. After cooking for clients and teaching classes at venues as diverse as Fall Creek Vineyards, Central Market, and Boggy Creek Farm, Welsch saw a cooking show as the next logical step. "I love cooking shows," she explains," so I decided to try it and see where it would go." Already a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) when she began the program, Welsch also joined Toastmasters to help build confidence in her public speaking abilities.

After completing 14 shows in 1996, the Green Gourmet is now in its second season with one show in the can. Diana is responsible for story ideas, scriptwriting, and recipes. Executive producer Gina Hines helps with organizational details and is busy looking for sponsors. Producing a show from concept to filming can take anywhere from 24 hours to 30 days, depending on the schedules of the talent, the producer, and the camera operator. Besides the time Welsch invests in the project, her only out-of-pocket costs are for videotapes and groceries. Interiors are filmed at the Seton East kitchen and several programs have been filmed in the fields at Boggy Creek Farm.

Just as in her catering business and cooking classes, Welsch has an agenda when she takes to the airwaves. As the name Green Gourmet implies, her cooking aesthetic is defined by the use of fresh, seasonal, organic products whenever possible. She is also an active proponent of families cooking and eating together. "I think of family dining as the grounding element in my life," she says. "I'd like to get more people cooking at home."

Now that the second season of her cooking show is underway, Welsch's goals for the future are to find a sponsor for the show and a publisher for the cookbook she's working on. To that end, she recently attended the Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Foodwriters in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, taking seminars and networking with other food journalists. And Welsch took inspiration from the most prominent guest at the symposium, a woman who has accomplished all the goals she has set for herself as a cooking teacher, author, and television personality -- the legendary Julia Child. -- V.W.

Green Gourmet can be seen on ACAC at 8pm on Tuesdays, cable channel 16.

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