Massive Burritos and $175 Burgers: Tom Pizzica Talks Outrageous Food

by in View All Posts, November 5th, 2010

This burrito may look intense, but it's nothing compared to the six-footer Tom will sample on tonight's episode of Outrageous Food.

You probably recognize him as the funny-guy runner-up from Season 6 of The Next Food Network Star, but Tom Pizzica is back on Food Network in a big way. To celebrate tonight’s premiere of Outrageous Food (10 pm/9c), we chatted with Tom about his new gig, his favorite on and off-camera memories from Star and even the menu from his recent wedding.

You got a first glimpse of the show along with fans during last week’s sneak peek, featuring a 105-pound burger. Where’d you watch?
I was in Minnesota with the production company. We had a big party, and my mom came, which was really nice. Seeing the show was as much fun as I thought it was going to be, it comes off as fun as it was to film. It’s going to be awesome—a fun way to spend a Friday night.

Of all the cities you visited, what were your top three favorites and why?
I really enjoyed Minneapolis, a great town. It’s just a nice little city. It kind of looks brand new but it’s not. It’s got a cool little downtown, fun little bars and the people are really nice. I’d never been to Chicago before and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a great food city and I finally had my first real deep dish, which was fantastic. And I gotta say, New York was fantastic. It was my first shoot, after the Next Food Network Star finale aired, and my first time being in New York as a kind of a “star.” I had a lot of nerves going on, but everything worked out well.

What did you miss most when on the road for the show?
I missed cooking my own meals. Eating out every night is just brutal, after a while you just want a home-cooked meal. I like to make my famous chicken cutlets, some rice…my wife makes a lot of pasta. She would eat pasta every day of the week if she could. So we do real simple, traditional stuff. Homey. Sometimes I get an itch to get really creative and there are a lot of great markets around me, so I just get to the market and put something together.

What were some funny moments from traveling and filming that we may not get to see?
We had such a great time with the whole crew and the cast…well, I guess I’m the only cast member, but all the camera guys and the sound guys and the whole crew, we got along really well. I don’t know if there are bloopers that are really PG, but we had a lot of fun on the set.

Favorite memories from The Next Food Network Star?
The food truck was one of my favorite things of all time, when we did Dick Bombay. Being in the top three, doing the pilot with Rachael Ray, that was unbelievable. Off-camera, we had a killer Super Bowl party. I was trying all kinds of beers from around the world. We were all in L.A. and I think only two had been eliminated at that point. It was a real day off so we let loose and had a really good time.

How was making this show different from the NFNS experience?
A lot less stressful! It was your own show— that just makes it that much more special. All the work I put in during NFNS to earn me this show really made it worthwhile. The content is really different, and it’s right up my alley. I’m not getting judged. Well, the public will judge me but there’s no direct evaluation after every show for my performance!

You got married shortly after wrapping NFNS. What was on the menu for your wedding?
We had some really good food but I don’t think I even ate that night! We got married in Napa and had around-the-world stations: A dim sum station that was really killer, a Napa Valley springtime station with some halibut, some lamb, spring pea puree. It was really nice and everyone enjoyed it. I just didn’t get a chance to try much!

Personal favorites from tonight’s episode of Outrageous Food?
There’s a $175 burger, which was the coolest thing I ever saw. Kobe, truffles, foie gras…it’s so rich. The one $30 bite I had was enough!

Catch Outrageous Food tonight at 10pm/9c to see that decadent burger for yourselves, plus a 72-inch burrito, alligator corn dogs and more.

More about Tom Pizzica:
Tom’s Website
Tom on Facebook
Follow @BigChefTom on Twitter

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Comments (14)

  1. luvcookin says:

    Well, I saw the sneak peak and I guess that’s all I’ll see. The Scripps Network will not put in writing terms that had been agreed on verbally with my provider so all Scripps channels are now off of my television. According to my provider, Scripps wants to charge double to my provider what other smaller competitors are paying. The network is punishing its own viewers for leverage in programming negotiations.

    • The JillyBean says:

      It seems all the cable/satellite providers are playing hardball with the broadcasters and cable channels. All of them are asking double and triple the rate. They're desperate to make up for the internet and other competition. It's just like the recording industry, they can't come up with anything to keep viewers so they try charging more for the same crap.

      although I'm kind of confused by programming such as "Outrageous Food" and "Meat and Potatoes" in the face of epidemic rates of NIDDM (Adult onset Diabetes), Hypertension, Cholesterol and obesity in the American population. As much as I found Ellie Krieger annoying, programming that focuses on better food lifestyle would be much more prudent. We've already got DDD, which in itself is cardiac arrest inducing after a 30 min episode. We really don't need more shows visiting restaurants that are basically a McDonalds on pocketbook steroids.

      Maybe next time TPTB make a programming decision, they should consider a series that will focus on finding restaurants that source locally, sustainably and good for your body. We all like eating out, but lets face it, most restaurants pile on the fat, salt and other unfriendly ingredients that eventually contribute to bad health, even for people who otherwise maintain "healthy" lifestyles.

      • Sweden says:

        I agree with you on the need for programming focused on a more healthy lifestyle. I would have been happy if Herb got his own show…the idea of healthy cuban cooking was intriguing. Unfortunately, many people in this country consider healthy cooking boring or bland. They also have no idea of portion control (enhanced, no doubt, by the shows like DDD). Fresh, locally grown food can taste amazing with little need for extra salt, fat, or sugar. I really think Americans (at least those in the mid-west where I live) need to be re-educated on how good simple food can taste…a freshly picked apple beats the pants off Mcdonald's apple pie and is far more nutritious.

      • luvcookin says:

        I agree that the cable/satellite providers are playing hardball with the distributers. They, Scripps, are trying to charge AT&T U-Verse double what they charge smaller markets in the hope that AT&T will buy the programming and pass the higher charge on to the customers. What they fail to understand is that they, Scripps, provide life style channels, not “need to know” channels. These are some lean times we are going through. I will not pay more to see a 175 pound hamburger, Aarti chop up weenies and throw some cumin on them, or Guy stuff his face and talk with his mouth full. The programming on FN has been so poor lately that I haven’t really missed watching the network the past couple of days. There are too many other options. Guess I’ll head over to PBS (FREE) and watch Ming Tsai and Lydia Bastianich.

  2. bobby_fillet says:

    Congrats to Tom. The real winner of the Next Food Network Star. FN is finally admitting that they made a huge mistake in selecting giggling Artyyyyy Partyyyyy.

    • The JillyBean says:

      like it or not, Aarti was the "real" winner in that she's the one who ultimately won the contract, as it was a decision that was made by the network, not viewer votes, it's not really disputable. Tom and Herb were the better chefs, better show ideas, but they did not win over the "deciders" at the time of the contest.

      The best viewers of TNFNS can hope for is that the ratings for OF decimate AP to prove the point, that FN was wrong in their decision. Personally I won't be watching it because it's essentially a redux onTravel Channel's "Man v Food." I find the idea of oversized portions of food being served and consumed, then aired on a television show to be incredibly distasteful.

  3. LisaM says:

    FN was totally wrong for crowning Arty the NFS! Tom should tell them to take that crappy job and stuff it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. bobby_fillet says:

    Great guy, horrible show. Those 10 kids trying to eat a 110 pound hamburger was just plain stupid.

    • The JillyBean says:

      on the upside, they'll make great cholesteral and hypertension medication customers in a few years! This show is a bad idea, in view of the obesity epidemic in this country. Not to mention it's a rip-off of Travel Channel's "Man v Food." Is this programming desperation? Because I'm getting the distinct feeling that FN is no longer cutting edge food programming.

  5. The JillyBean says:

    I'd like to know how many of these FN personalities are on medications for high blood pressure or cholesteral. Because seriously the amount of salt and fat used in the recipe's is astounding. When I first saw "Down Home with the Neely's" I was flabbergasted by the amount of sugar and fat in their cooking. Particularly since it was a show geared to blacks, who have extremely high rates of dendrochronological health problems. Show's like "Outrageous Food," the Neely's and DDD do nothing to add to the food conversation.

  6. KevinG79 says:

    Totally Agree with you, Jilly. Couldn't have said it better myself. I am happy Tom got a show on FN, but the show they gave him SUCKS. It's too much like DDD. If they really wanted to air this show so bad, they could have gotten Guy to do it. He's real good at stuffing his face full for fat, sugar, and salt and saying "That's Money, Gansta" while chomping down on total crap… Poor Tom. I bet he has to work out for 12 hours straight to burn off all the pure crap they are making him eat (I know I would). He actually had really good ideas for food, and most of his recipes were on the healthier side. But like everything else in this messed up land, FAT and processed sugars (i.e. HFCS… notice how the Corn Refiners Assoc advertises heavily on FN with their stupid "HFCS is the same as cane sugar" BS) are "interesting and cool." Eating healthy is considered boring. It's not 100% FN's fault, though. After all, (sadly), these type of shows that praise gluttony and watching fat slobs getting fatter, is what a majority of this (lazy) country wants to see. Until that changes, you won't see much healthy cooking on FN. I am with the others and will be going over to PBS to watch Ming. I love that guy! Anyone remember when he used to be on FN waaaaaay back when? Those were the days…

  7. buttercup says:

    I'm getting the same feeling Lisa, besides the reruns, no new good cooking shows…also, Iron
    Chef, who cares. PS Sandra Lee has to go, or her "glorious tablescapes", nah, both of them.

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