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Set Designer, Draftsman for Fox Television Pilot, Miami 2015. Construction of interiors, scenery, displays and props as a staff designer and coordinator for PBS, Univision Networks and Discovery Networks in New York, Washington and Miami. Credits include effects and table top product work for Pepsi, Planters Peanuts, Hebrew National Hot Dogs and Miller Beer.

Shop Craftsman and Scenic Painter
USA Network "Burn Notice" IMDb

Joe Saitta
(954) 961-7743

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"Death by Chocolate" Discovery Networks The Learning Channel

Produced at WPBT 2 in Miami, "Death by Chocolate" and it's companion "The Burgermeisters" aired on The Learning Channel for two seasons in Prime Time and on AM Saturdays. Host is C.I.A. Chef Marcel Desaulniers of the Trellis of Williamsburg, VA.



The popularity of "Death by Chocolate" and other cooking shows at that time was a fact not lost on the creators of the Food Network, launched in that same year.

A ratings hit from the start, "Death by Chocolate" was featured on a four and a half hour special with world premier episodes on Thanksgiving Day. Next was "The Burgermeisters", also a hit, featuring the best burgers from a "who's who" of the greatest Chefs in the world.

TLC producers Michael Dingley and Mary Ellen Iwata wanted the set for their new cooking shows to break the mold of the conventional cooking show. They specifically requested that the set not look like a working kitchen, but a sleek, ultra modern showcase for the talents of chef Marcel Desaulniers. With this in mind, I created the set using rich black marble faux treatments on curvilinear walls. Charcoal gray granite countertops with birch wood grain cabinets provide some warmer accents to a predominantly "cool" color palette. Recessed lighting adds texture and illuminates the props and set dressing. Colored backlight on the glass block wall allowed for changing background color to match the show's content.

"Death by Chocolate" and "The Burgermeisters" were difficult to produce, even for cooking shows. The shooting schedule began with morning prep, after which a straight run through, live on tape. After pickups, the production moved to product shots of the finished dishes. This required elaborate "vignettes" consisting of decorations, lighting effects, smoke effects, props and table settings on a swept light table top, all in an attempt to match the quality beauty shots from Marcel's wonderful books.

These cooking shows required working appliances, including gas piped in from external tanks and practical sinks and faucets in studios with no existing drains or water. Waste water was collected in holding tanks under the sink, filtered and pumped out. Hot water heaters were also in the center island counter as well as a practical sink and cook top. Behind the set is a full prep kitchen with refrigerators, stoves, prep tables, automatic dish and clothes washers. Hot water heaters are also needed for prep area and waste water was collected in holding tanks under the sink, filtered and pumped out.

To the right is a TV Guide ad for "Death By Chocolate" Show on TLC.

Design Resume Joe Saitta

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