Lights, camera… cook! – by Kath, Jessie, Helena and Matt at Diabetes UK

Behind the scenes, filming ‘The Food you Love’

They say the way to someone’s heart is through their stomach, and it came as no surprise to us that food came top of the list of subjects people most often ask us about. So food is at the heart of our new campaign, The Food you Love, which launched on 22 May – we hope that by now you’ve seen the ads on TV, social media and your favourite websites, and signed up to get the free recipe videos.

Good food habits are vital for anyone with diabetes, so this is a chance for us to help people make changes to improve their health. But it definitely isn’t just a dry public information film, and one of the things we love about the campaign is that it’s real, rather than scripted.

All the people in the ads and the videos are people affected by diabetes and they all bring their unique personality and experience of diabetes with them – whether that’s Folake who has found a way to make chips more healthy and paints a brilliant picture of her family, supporting her in her diabetes journey – or Mick the chef, with his own take on apple strudel and life as a dad of a son with Type 1. These are real people living real lives. And that’s the key, and what makes these recipes uniquely suited to anyone living with the condition.

On-set diary

Everyone likes a peek behind the scenes, so we thought we’d share the ‘making of’ the TV ad and recipe videos.

Day one on set

It’s day one and we’re off to a great start. After a tiny staff hypo… (we had hypo kits stationed on set, which were very handy, alongside our Medic, Phil) our first star chef Robin took to the chopping board, to film one of his personal favourites – Bang bang chicken Salad. Robin, who has Type 2 diabetes, (pictured above) talked us through his approach to making the straightforward, tasty option at home and also shared his journey with Diabetes UK.

With our trusted dietitian Emma on set with us, and by working closely with the production crew, we were nicely on schedule for our first day of shooting. And healthy snacks are keeping people energised for a long day behind the camera. But it’s not all glamorous behind the scenes on a food shoot. Some of us spent 20 minutes simply watching a pot of water, slowly boiling away, on a tiny screen…

Day two on set

It’s day two and there’s no better way to start the day than with an apple strudel. This morning’s star chef, Mick, used to live in Austria so he’s an expert in strudeling (is that a word? We think it should be).

Mick’s son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was five years old. Mick tells us about their journey from diabetes novices to experts – now even Jacob’s little brother knows how to carb count. Every recipe is filmed twice, once for the interview and once for the close-up shots. As lunchtime gets closer, we become curious… just how many strudels are there? Nikki answers “three… and none of it’s going to waste.” And as Mick teaches the crew how to dab (especially for Jacob) we break for lunch… and strudel.

In the afternoon Dan, who has Type 2, puts on the Diabetes UK apron to make Masala fish curry, which went down really well, with lots of the crew saying they were going to try it at home themselves. He did a great job of not baking under the pressure and the lights as it got hotter and hotter in the studio.

Day three on set

It’s the final day in studio and Amy takes over cooking duties with our vegetarian option, Mixed bean chilli. Amy, who has been living with Type 1 diabetes since she was 11, was a bit nervous on set at first but turned out to be a complete natural, nailing the shoot and proving very popular as it meant we were ahead of schedule and broke for lunch early.
Our final star chef in front of the camera is Folake, who has Type 2 diabetes – and what could be more appropriate for a Friday than Fish and chips? It’s a classic and our version is a healthier option.

As Folake keeps everyone smiling showing she’s a natural on camera, we remark how brilliant our famous five have been. None of them are professionals but you wouldn’t know it.
After a gloriously sunny three days in our kitchen, we managed to film a commercial, five recipe videos, as well as lots of additional content. It was a great three days – then it was into the edit suite to bring our campaign to life…

Sign up for mouthwatering recipes

It’s not too late to sign up for the recipes – and we hope you will share with your friends and family so they can sign up too.

Read more about the food you love campaign

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