Son gives Marion mom a guest spot on cooking show

Mother’s Day was Sunday and one son has solved the age-old problem-what to get Mom on her special day.

Josh Wildin surprised his mother, Jeannie, with an unusual gift this year-a guest spot on a Topeka cooking show called “All in Good Flavor.”

And she didn’t have to leave her home to participate.

“The crew is going to be here after 11:30 a.m., and they’ll be taping their cooking show from my kitchen,” Jeannie Wildin said on a sunny morning two days into May.

“They’re age 20-something young guys that just do kind of a crazy cooking show. My son has been telling me about this show on Fox in Topeka.”

“All in Good Flavor” is on Fox-43 KTMJ at 10:30 a.m., Sundays, and the episode featuring Wildin’s Mother’s Day show experience aired May 12.

Wildin’s 4-year-old home is located on the east edge of Marion County Lake.

The program can’t be picked up in the Marion County area, but the crew promised to send her a tape.

Her son is majoring in music education at Kansas State University and will be graduating in May. Unable to leave his studies to attend the taping, Josh called his mom before the TV crew arrived to let her know he was thinking about her.

“He just totally had this idea because he thought the personalities of the guys and the way they do the show-it was something I would have fun with,” Wildin said.

Josh said he contacted the show at their e-mail address, isoar@, and requested his mom be selected for one of their in-home cooking visits.

He was initially turned down because Marion was out of the show’s Lawrence and Manhattan audience area, Josh said.

“But then they shot me a price of how much it would cost, and my dad went in on it with me.”

A crew of three descended on the Wildin household at 11:45 a.m., carrying bags of groceries for the unfolding culinary extravaganza.

Jon Mohr and Kevin Dobson arrived with video equipment. Keeping quality control to a minimum, the two share the duties of writers, videographers, producers and editors. The star of the show is Tony-with no last name.

“Like Prince, Madonna and Sting,” Tony said.

Dressed in a brightly flowered shirt and narrow black glasses, the tall, gangly Tony took possession of the kitchen from the start.

The 34-year-old chef said he learned to cook from his mom and grandmother-a past befitting a Mother’s Day-themed show.

“I’ve been cooking for about 20 years, and the show has been on the air for about a year,” Tony said.

The menu for Wildin’s show featured a three-cheese fondue, which included baby gouda, gueryer and Swiss cheeses. The fondue was spiced with curry and some ale purchased from a brewery in Lawrence.

But that was just the beginning. Tony also prepared to dazzle his viewing audience with such items as homemade vegetable and beef stock, lamb, smoked salmon, shrimp, and four breads from a Lawrence bakery-focaccia, ale, rye and kalamata olive.

“And we’re doing chocolate fondue with white and dark chocolate, and I’m putting some liqueur in it,” Tony said.

Before he got under way, the chef-of-the-hour also showed off some fresh purple asparagus to a group of Wildin’s friends and family gathered to watch the taping and taste the food prepared that day.

Those lucky enough to be joining Wildin in her adventure were husband Brad, mother Dorothy Widler, mother-in-law Joy Wildin, and special friend Marjory Sardou.

An eight-hour taping like the one at the Wildin home takes about 30 hours to edit and produces about 20 minutes of air time on the half-hour show, according to Mohr.

Before the taping was under way, Wildin had time to stop and talk about why Mother’s Day is special to her.

She and husband Brad have three children-Josh and two girls ages 25 and 22.

“Mother’s day is a day to celebrate the gift of being a mom,” Wildin said as tears welled up in her eyes.

Josh first approached one of his sisters to go in on the cost of the show, but she declined saying she already had a gift for her mother-she’s expecting a baby boy close to Mother’s Day, Wildin said.

That will be grandchild number four.

But Wildin said she could recall many Mother’s Days when it was a second thought.

“Josh especially would say, ‘I’m sorry, Mom, I didn’t have any money. You know how broke I am, but I love you.’ And then he’ll do something just off the wall and spectacular to make up for all those other Mother’s Days.”

Wildin recalled one occasion when Josh was 11, and he announced he wanted to do something special for her on Mother’s Day-he wanted to take her to a movie.

“I said, ‘Oh, that’s neat, have you picked out the movie you want to take me to?’ And he said, ‘Yea, I want to take you to ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.’

“And he paid his way and my way,” Wildin said.

Before the pots started to simmer and the TV crew prepared to roll camera, Josh explained over the phone why he planned this unique gift.

“She always said to me this line from a movie, ‘I do, and do, and do for you, and this is the thanks I get.’ So I thought about that phrase, and I wanted to ‘do’ for her.”

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