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Tamasin Simpkin: a lot on the boil

The Katering Show producer Tamasin Simpkin spills the beans on being part of an internet sensation, and how the Ones to Watch program helped with Season 2.

Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney are the stars of The Katering Show

It’s been more than a year since The Katering Show first hit the sweet spot with viewers, racking up millions of views (and laughs) online with episodes about quitting sugar, food porn and the Thermomix.

The insatiable appetite of fans for more content, meant the Kates (McLennan and McCartney) and producer Tamasin Simpkin, put together an update, showing they had been a tad busy with some buns in the oven.

Now fans of the foodie McLennan and her food-intolerant friend McCartney can rejoice, with news Season 2 is in the can and is set to air on ABC iview from April 15.

Simpkin says you can expect more episodes (eight instead of six) and more from the Kates (the eps are also longer).

“I’m just really excited and intrigued to see what episodes people will like,” she says.

Because they know from Season 1, certain episodes can just take off.

“With Thermomix, I don’t think we picked that as being the one that people would run with,” she says.

“And then it was the one that went crazy.”

The Katering Show was originally made thanks to the Screen Australia multiplatform funding and quickly became a runaway success.

All six episodes were put online on Tuesday February 10 and Simpkin can remember watching the views tick upward to 10,000.

She and the Kates were constantly checking the stats in the following days, when all of a sudden on the Friday, they skyrocketed.

“It went from 10,000 in a day to 100,000,” she says.

“It went crazy and then just snowballed from there.”

Suddenly, the emails began flooding in with requests and their “little” web series was an internet sensation.

Simpkin was faced with the dilemma of navigating all these suggestions of partnerships and work.

But luckily, as part of the SPA Ones to Watch program two years ago, Simpkin was paired with a mentor – Matchbox Pictures producer Amanda Higgs – who she was able to turn to for invaluable advice.

Now going into its fourth year, the Ones to Watch program gives emerging producers access to the Screen Internship (with Screen Australia) and SBS Kickstart, matches them with an accomplished mentor, and helps them to network and pitch projects at the SPA SCREEN FOREVER conference. Applications for the next Ones to Watch program close Friday April 8.

Simpkin says of all the various things that come with being one of the Ones to Watch, the mentorship was crucial.

“When you go from self-funded projects that you’re making with friends and colleagues to much bigger scale things, where you’re getting funding, and having to do all the contracts and legalities, it’s invaluable to have a mentor,” she says.

Tamasin Simpkin behind the scenes

“Off the back of Season 1 of The Katering Show, where it just kind of blew up and we were getting emails from people all the time wanting to work with us, it was just so good to have someone to ring, ask questions and be a sounding board.”

With Season 2 just around the corner, Simpkin admits they feel the pressure to live up to fans’ expectations, but they’re using it to their advantage.

“We do feel a bit scared. It’s actually a bit of a theme when you see episode one – the amount of pressure following a successful first season and then having everyone wait more than a year,” she says.

Nerves aside, Simpkin admits they were never short on ‘ingredients’ for each episode, from exploring the term “Yummy Mummy”, to trialling Paleo, Raw Food and the 5:2 Diet, to testing tablets that counteract lactose intolerance.

“About 90% of what’s in the show comes from is the Kates’ real experience, so they’ll choose things they’ve tried or their friends have,” she says.

“But there’s a plethora of things to make fun of.”

The Katering Show Season 2 will be available on iview from April 15.

Apply here for the Ones to Watch program, which closes Friday April 8.