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  • Caitlin O'Sullivan

SUPERVISOR SPOTLIGHT: Ashley Gadd X Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars

This week I sat down with Ashley, to mark the premiere of Series 2 of Gordon Ramsay's Food Stars. Ashley has worked with Gordon for over five years, so we got all the tea on what it's like to work with the superstar chef, not to mention an extensive breakdown of the shoot's technical set up.

So, Ash, what were your highlights from working on this show?

I think what I love the most about this show is that every episode is so different. It makes the shoot challenging, but it’s also what makes it so enjoyable. We went from a night shoot at the Savoy, rigging RF over the whole venue, to filming live sales at the Excel centre and food truck challenges at Battersea. It was chaos - but fun chaos!

And what would you say was the biggest challenge of the shoot?

The biggest challenge was the amount of planning that went into it. There were a lot of unknown elements that we had to account for, planning down to the last detail so that we were prepared for anything. For example, we knew that there was a challenge with food trucks, but we had no idea exactly what equipment the trucks had that we’d have to work around. Equally, the shoot at the Savoy had a really short rig period and required enormous attention to detail and planning. I knew that if something went wrong, or if we weren’t as prepared as we were, there would be no way out of it. 

Who was your MVP of the series?

My MVP has to be Gordon himself. I’ve worked with him for 5 years now and I’ve come to realise that to match his level requires me to be two steps ahead. His professionalism makes me thrive because it makes me turn up to every shoot over prepared and ready for anything the production requires. Working with him puts me at another level. You see Gordon’s work ethic and you want to match it. I see him and think: ‘He’s the best in the business and so should I be.'

Give us a breakdown of your kit set-up on the show.

Because of the high standard of this show, and the way we needed to team split in multiple variations, every Freshie needed to have a full set of kit so that they could each deliver on whatever they were covering. That meant that everyone had the standard set-up of: mixer, 2 quad receivers, and a boom. But then, additionally, we had 30 radio mics to play with at all times. Without that pool of radios we would never have been able to record everyone. We always had extra contributors and special guests to think about - not to mention the 8 crew splits we needed to keep on top of.

Whilst the show itself was fairly standard in terms of kit, the real challenge was making sure that all of the crew could hear what they needed to. Each camera also had a streaming platform that needed audio, so that the network and the editorial team could watch and hear in real time. So, really, recording the show was almost the simplest bit - making sure everybody could hear what they needed to was the real challenge. 

In terms of extra pieces of kit, Episode 1 was huge. We were working with over 42 channels of audio, had antennas everywhere, and had mixers running to listen to ISOS and IEMs all over the place. The Savoy also needed its own antenna structure, whilst the studio was its own shoot in theory - it had its own set up which added a double layer to the shoot. For such a simple record, we had an astronomical amount of kit to think about. 

And what is the piece of kit you couldn’t live without on this shoot? Spotlight on one piece of kit that stood out for you/saved you on this shoot?

Having eight Series Mixers (888s and a Scorpio) and the newest Wisycom products meant that we were able to achieve things that we could never have done before. Without this premium level of kit and the quantities that we have, this show wouldn’t have been possible. Being able to offer the newest products, the newest updates, and everything that this integration gives you, has transformed the way that we are able to provide for a production. Fresh Audio gives us the flexibility to make a production the highest quality possible. The team operate at a standard unrivalled in the industry right now, always giving their best with a positive attitude. In a Supervisor position, you need a team as top quality as this to rely on - and the Freshies always deliver.

Gordon Ramsay's Food Star's airs on Discovery+ on 22nd May 2024.

Fresh Audio Team:

Ross Abell

Joseph Day

Ashley Gadd

Charlotte Homeshaw

Liam Pellegrini

Manon Peregrine-Lewis

Chris Pramthai-White

Ross Yule

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