Secretary Confidential & the Exec [Chef]

by in View All Posts, January 16th, 2009


What do you get when you mix breakfast cereal, a passion for food and a keen ability to multi-task? Rob Bleifer, the executive chef who manages 15 different Food Network shows. I caught up with Rob for a rapid-fire round:

SC: Thanks for your time. I know it’s hectic right now with Sunny taping. Love her! So, if you could be any Food Network talent, who would you be and why?
Rob Bleifer: Too many to choose from… Maybe Alton? Who wouldn’t want to host Iron Chef? Or Bobby? Who wouldn’t want to be an Iron Chef and still Throwdown across the US? Then again, as Michael Symon, you could be an Iron Chef and still pull off Dinner Impossible. Maybe Mario…but I’m not sure I have the temperament for shorts and clogs all year long!

SC: How long have you worked here and what’s the best part?
RB: 13 years. The best thing has to be working in the heart of the most food-centric place in US — or for that matter, the world.

SC: Excuse me for a second, Rob. What’s that? (We’re in the kitchens, and I’m drooling over what looks like an irresistible ball of fried dough, encased in sugar.)
RB: That’s a test for Food Network Magazine. A twist on a beignet. Would you like one?
FN Dishers mark your calendars for the July/August issue — wow…delicious!

SC: And we’re back… What experiences stand out from your tenure here?
RB: Let’s see… Once I put out an actual fire in Kitchen Stadium. A fry pot of oil got too hot and ignited. Actually, the best was being one of the chefs during a full Iron Chef tech rehearsal. Everyone was there but the competing chefs. We were able to do a pre-tape rehearsal and show off the culinary talents of the FN kitchen staff.

The kitchen staff divided into two teams and a coin toss determined the chef for the rehearsal. The rehearsal secret ingredients always err on the goofy side: spam, breakfast cereal, etc. “Battle of the Breakfast Cereal” was our secret when I was up. Alton loved our dishes — raved! I made an oyster po’ boy with Corn Flakes and the opposing team made shrimp tempura with Rice Krispies. Alton noted, “Two of the best dishes I’ve had in long while.”

SC: Hmmm, fish and cereal. I don’t think I am that adventurous yet. I have to ask for your catch phrase. Anne’s got “Bye-bye, my Sweeties” Rachael and “Yum-o,” Emeril has “Bam.” What’s yours?
RB: “Live to eat!”

Oh, that’s good. Cool, if I borrow? LIVE TO EAT, my friends.

Yours truly,
Secretary Confidential

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Comments (9)

  1. Dear Secretary Confidential, Your posts are mouth-watering delicious. I am sure I’ve gained a pound just imagining the fried balls…

    For the record, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Alton Brown. If he wanted to cook for me, I’d have to consider going off my diet, for sure.

    Toodle Noodles, for now. Drool … you keep writing about food and I’ll keep eating it!

  2. Carrie J. Sullivan says:

    GREAT article SC! I want one of those beignets…

  3. Josie says:

    You sure do get the “dish” (pun intended) when you roam the kitchens at FN. Keep it coming SC.Look forward to you mouth watering posts.

  4. Michael Hayes says:

    I loved the interview SC but I’m not down with fish in my cereal. I’m sticking with fruit.

  5. Lisa says:

    I love reading your posts; FN secrets, inside the chefs head, recipes and so much more! It’s like “inside edition”, a look that we would not otherwise see. Thanks SC!!!

  6. I am just waiting for my Lemon Tart shell to come out of the oven and taking advantage of the “20 degrees below zero” temperature outside and loving reading about “behind the scenes” scoops. Can’t wait for the next one! OOOps, timer………..gotta go.
    P.S. Michael Hayes, is that fruit on your cereal or with your fish. I think either would work well. That’s another SC story though.

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