FUN IN THE KITCHEN. Sodexho General Manager Sarjit Singh (top) prepares a dish with partner Lynne Joyce on the Ripon Cooking TV show.
Sarjit Singh has spent a career-in college dining, the last two with Ripon (WI) College, where he serves as general manager for campus dining services provider Sodexho Campus Services. But he now has a sidelight career as well, as a TV chef.
For the last few months, Singh and Lynne Joyce, wife of Ripon's president and a cooking enthusiast, have been co-hosting a cooking show, Ripon Cooking 101: Cooking With Flair, on Channel 19, a local public service cable channel. The halfhour segments, which are filmed in Joyce's kitchen, focus on "how to make elegant looking meals in a short period of time and just get people over the fear of cooking," Singh says.
Singh and Joyce were " discovered" by the school's director of media & public relations, Scott Wilson, while they were collaborating on campus catered events. "He saw us working together and how we interacted and he said, 'You know, you guys would be great on camera together,'" Singh recalls.
"We were like, 'Okay, whatever..." he laughs. But they started filming in January, and will do eight shows.
The prep and filming for each segment takes about three hours, Singh says. He and Joyce come up with a theme and then brainstorm recipes. They then go through the prep and cooking to make sure they come out right. Then the actual filming begins.
One show featured a champagne chicken dish, while another focused on six different hors d'ouvres. There was also one on cheesecakes (including savory cheesecakes that can serve as appetizers) and another on tapas.
Though the target audience is community-wide, Singh feels a special mission to serve the Ripon student body. "We do it for the college students who may not have the money to take somebody out on a date, so here's something you can cook at home."
Soon, however, the audience may be expanding, as would Singh and Joyce's celebrity. The show recently signed a contract with Wisconsin on Demand, a Time Warner local digital cable-channel with over 400,000 subscribers, which would bring Ripon Cooking 101 to viewers in Northeastern Wisconsin and the Milwaukee area.