Always be nice to the assistant

by in View All Posts, June 18th, 2009

As Bob Tuchsman’s assistant my job is to manage his schedule (i.e. make sure he’s on time for meetings) and keep my eye out for the next big talent. Which is easier said than done since: A) Bob has a schedule that rivals that of President Obama and B) There is only one Rachael Ray. I’ve been his assistant for 2 and ½ years, and let’s just say that I’ve learned more than a couple of things:

1. Bob’s phone line is not the complaint hotline. phone
Yes, I know that your upset that Emeril was canceled, and I’m sorry that you’re having difficulty finding the latest Unwrapped episode, but calling the network and asking to be transferred to Bob Tuschman’s office isn’t the best way to getting your complaints heard. We have a complaint hotline, and the number is (865) 560-3663…for my sake, please use it.

2. It is a lot harder to be a Food Network Star than you think.
A lot of people come up to us on the street and say they should have a show on the Food Network. But they might think otherwise if they really knew what went into it. The 30 minute cooking show that you see on television actually took 12-14 hours to shoot…and imagine having that to do that for weeks on end…. AND then add all the media requests and other promotional obligations that are required of the chefs. Believe me – it’s not all chopping and yummo’s.

3. We aren’t supposed to have a favorite but I do…
…and her name is Sunny Anderson. Not to say that all of the other talent on are network aren’t amazing, but Sunny was signed around the time that I started working here, so I’ve been able to see how she went from obscurity to the star that she is today. So make sure you watch her show (if you don’t already)!

4. Even when you work for a TV network, it can be difficult to get your idea on the air.
The Programming department is made up of 13 opinionated people with very different personalities and viewpoints. It’s rare that we all come to agreement on a topic. But the great thing about this network is that the assistants here are actually encouraged to pitch our ideas and potential talent to the executives. Thus, giving us the chance to show chefs who we believe in and think would be great for the network. So in conclusion and most importantly….

5. Always be nice to the assistant.
You never know where your submission tape might end up and having a positive attitude when you deal with assistants, always makes it easier for us to champion your cause.

Christine, Bob Tuschman’s Assistant

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Comments (28)

  1. Lemur says:

    Hi Christine! Great to hear from someone behind the scenes. Can you please talk them into publishing that hotline number on the website? I remember trying to call a few months back and wandering all over the site without a phone number anywhere. Maybe that’s WHY some viewers think of looking up Bob’s personal office number and making yours a harder than needed day.

    Ooh! We know about Bob and Susie – who else is in charge of the decisions at FN and what can you tell us about them?

    Not all of us think the life of a FN chef is glamorous and fun all the time. In fact some of us are so downright intimidated that we wouldn’t CONSIDER submitting ourselves for NFNS even if we think we have the chops! Kudos to the chefs and those who had the guts to submit for NFNS.

    And kudos to you! I absolutely adore when shows like Emeril and Throwdown gave us a view into the background – the folks doing the shopping, testing the recipes, and yes, even answering the phones! As a small business owner I know exactly how necessary those kinds of folks are, and how much I wish I could afford a few of my own!

    Thanks so much for being one of the unsung (till now at least) heroes who make FN all that it is – one of my two absolute favorite channels (the other being Animal Planet) and the default that I turn to when I want to be informed, inspired or merely entertained.

    And yeah, it’s funny, you do look a lot like Rachel only prettier. (And she’s darn pretty!) Hoping to hear more from you and the other “little” (not so little) folks!

  2. Mary says:

    Hey Christine, I’m an Admin. Asst. also and you are right, if anybody wants to get on the good side of the boss, they become our best friends! One thing I don’t agree with you is Sunny A. Did you not see her “Dish” during last year’s NFNS? She was downright mean and nasty about a few of the contestants. I was totally turned off. Wonder how she would have done in the NFNS challenge! I am really turned off when these “chefs” get so mean and negative about others who are only trying to do what they themselves are doing… maybe she’s afraid the new star will bring a little competition? Sorry, Sunny’s not a star yet…. she needs to take a little pill called “humble.”

  3. Laurie says:

    I don’t have a complaint about Food Network. What I would like to know is if there is ever a chance that Food Network might have a program like they have on BBC, which is called Ready, Steady, Cook. What a fun program. Contestants bring something for under $10.00 and the celebrity chefs cook it. This would be a good idea for your Food Network Star program.

  4. Sally says:

    I have never seen a professional female chef in a restaurant with hair flying all over, why is it The Food Network seems to have all of their female cooks with long hair flying all over. Many times they seem uncomfortable and keep pushing the hair away from the face and then touching the food. Case in point Giada – she looked adorable with her hair piled up and Sandra Lee also cute with hair piled up. They looked like they were in a real kitchen cooking. Now both have gone with the hair all over. Who’s decison was this? You could take a lesson from Sara Moulton – exemplary.

  5. Greg Hall says:

    Christine, Hello…Wow, it sounds like you are not only up to the challenge/game, but are loving it.
    I have a really different ideal to share, and your boss being the one, LOL … would I get this ideal to him. thank you , and I realize I am not the only one with an ideal, but this is a new one..I assure you > Please….
    Greg Hall

  6. Jessica says:

    Excellent post Christine!

    As an assistant I LOVE the item marked number 5, about being nice.

    You just never know!

    Last year my husband and I were LUCKY enough to do a holiday show with Bobby Flay. From the casting director (Lisa Lee King) to Bobby Flay…I have to say everyone was great! We flew to NYC for the weekend and had an amazing dinner at Bobby’s restaurant the night before the shoot. Everything was a surprise and I have to say we REALLY were surprised. So many people asked us when we came home if it was a planned meeting, but Adam and I had NO IDEA, honestly! If we had known we probably would have freaked out! LOL

    The whole trip was such a memorable “event” and we truly enjoyed ourselves! So I just wanted to thank you and everyone at FN.

    You guys are the best, keep up the good work!

  7. Marla says:

    Hi, Christine. I'm very late to this blog, but want to know how in the world I can reach Bob by snail mail. I've sent two letters to the 75th Ninth Avenue, NY10001 address, but both have been returned for insufficient address. What I've been trying to say to Bob is that there are a lot of us out here who would appreciate seeing some of Ina's earliest shows, from 2002-2005 specifically. A list of episodes was included and I have e-mailed it to FN, but I'm pretty frustrated. If you'd pass this along, I'd appreciate it.

  8. Hi Christine,

    If we wanted to get info to Bob (just an email in the hopes of him reading) how would we do so? Does it go to you first, and then on to him? Any insight would be great! :-)


  9. Tim Miller says:

    Hi Christine – Like many other FN fans, I'm an armchair cook who will probably never have the opportunity to go to culinary school. FN allows me to virtually experience the behind-the-scenes of the types of restaurants I enjoy so much. Here's a show I'd love to see: Create a virtual reality show based around Joshie Berger (winner of Worst Cooks) going to a real culinary school. His personality is engaging, viewers would pick up training we're hungry for, and you could use it as a showcase for your other personalities making guest appearances. I'd watch every episode.

  10. Susan says:

    Hi Christine,
    If one were to be brazen enough to submit a tape for a show idea, would you be able to let me know how that is done? Thanks in advance for your help.

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