Sunny Dishes on Episode 1 of The Kitchen + Offers Behind the Scenes Photos

by in Behind the Scenes, Food Network Chef, Shows, January 6th, 2014

The Kitchen Episode 1by Sunny Anderson

Haaaiii! It’s Sunny Anderson on the FN Dish check-in. On behalf of Katie Lee, Marcela Valladolid, Jeff Mauro and Geoffrey “GZ” Zakarian, as well as the crew, set design, culinary staff, producers and more — welcome to The Kitchen. I’ve been asked to share some behind-the-scenes bits. Make sure to come back next week when Jeff shares what’s really happening on set!

I hope you enjoyed the show and found it to be something you can put to work in your very own kitchen. This is the first of what we hope to be many episodes that will share recipes, quick fixes and fun chats about all things food and entertaining. Speaking of entertaining, I am too excited that I got to share the Lotus Flower Candle with you today. I’ve been holding it for months wanting to blab all about it on social media. In a world where I tweet cute pics of my cats sleeping, it’s easy to say keeping this cool entertainment “gadget” to myself for so long was hard. I really like this show for that reason — it’s truly host driven, with a huge help of a production staff. We all bring ideas from our personal lives to share with you. It reminds me of show-and-tell in grade school. I still don’t know how the crew disabled the flower so it wouldn’t play the costly “Happy Birthday” song. Just know if you look for them online, all of the ones I’ve found play the tune, so hopefully you get it for someone’s birthday cake or you know someone crafty who can disable the music. Where’s MacGruber when you need him?

I recently saw a tweet asking if we had to use whatever appliances we were given or if we got to choose. We got to choose! This isn’t usually the case, but we were all asked what our must-have kitchen items were so we would have them on set to make us feel a bit more like we were in our home kitchens. As we go along, you’ll notice us using them or cooking with them; now you know it’s the stuff we like. It’s not an endorsement, just us in our new kitchen feeling at home, and we want you to know what that looks like. I can’t wait for you to see the wooden spoons Jeff Mauro had stocked on set; they’re my new favorite.

This first show was so much fun to work on. That sounds cliche, but it’s true. Months ago a few of us gathered for drinks to think up ideas for the show, and not long into the chatter and laughs, we came up with the “It’s 5 o’clock … somewhere!” segment. It made sense, we were all enjoying drinks together and we wanted to share that fun with you, if even for a moment. Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is the quintessential host, constantly in different locales serving great food and — now you know — great drinks. Let’s tackle the drink from Episode 1, which included him attempting to open a bottle of bubbly with a saber. What you saw, the bottle breaking, it happens. Funny thing is, we practiced that segment a few times to make sure the cameras were set, lighting was perfect — all kinds of technical stuff. So GZ, as we call him, actually properly sabered about three bottles before we shot the one you saw. It was just too funny for all of us after a long setup and plenty of practice runs for the “real” one to burst. Mistakes happen and we’re blaming this one on a warm bottle of bubbly. Make sure yours is chilled before you attempt a saber. GZ also suggests it rests on its side. And so you know, the saber isn’t sharp — it’s rather blunt. And be safe — like he says, “Point it away from people!”

Here’s a link to all the recipes from today’s show, starting with the drink!

Here are some photos I took behind the scenes:

Katie Lee Behind the Scenes on The KitchenKatie Lee practices what she preaches. This girl can eat and I’ve seen it. But she also works out plenty, anywhere she can. This is in our green room. I need to find a way to self-motivate like this.

The Kitchen Behind the ScenesGZ is checking on his empire as the rest of us chill between segments on a day of rehearsal. Notice how we are mostly dressed down, but GZ always shows up with a shirt, blazer and pocket square. We love it — he’s quite the dresser.

The Kitchen Behind the ScenesWe took this after a dress rehearsal and really just because we were all done up with nowhere to go. In the back of our greenroom is a huge white wall perfect for photo shoots. Our stage is actually, wait, can I say it? We shoot in a popular national makeup brand’s studio. This is behind the scenes, right? Bobbi Brown. Anyway, looking at her cool photo shoot backdrop I said, “Hey let’s all take a pic!” I wrangled everyone and this is one of just five frames in my phone. I passed my cell to Mecia Hollar to capture, so she gets the photog credit, but the silliness is all us. Looks like it’s planned, but it’s such a great candid shot. Take a look at the frames before and after the pic below that we all love.

The Kitchen Behind the ScenesFun stuff. That’s my look at The Kitchen behind the scenes. Next week we’ll be kicking off our cookbook club (come back to FN Dish for a chance to win a copy), and we put the slow cooker to work. We hope you tune in and watch us grow together. This is just the beginning of what we hope to be a fun show for you to watch and share. Tell a friend and join us on our social media accounts; we’re all excited to chat with you (@KatieLeeKitchen @ChefMarcela @JeffMauro @GZChef and @SunnyAnderson).

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Comments (41)

  1. Lemon leaf says:

    Sunny was using a hand made wooden spoon on the show over this past weekend. I am obsessed with wooden spoons!!! How do I contact the artist to order one?

  2. loxsmith1004 says:

    Caught a little bit of "The Kitchen," this past weekend. Delightful. On the segment I saw, Jeff answered a request from a guy in Pittsburg who wanted to "up his brunch game," and Jeff proceeded to present a spin on bagels & lox, which is a time honored tradition of the NY brunch table.

    Jeff's dish featured WARM POACHED SALMON as opposed to smoked salmon or lox. Yes, believe it or not, lox and smoked salmon are two different things. Both are salmon, of course, and to be fair, the term "Lox," has been adopted as a generic reference for all smoked salmons, but smoked salmon is smoked salmon and lox is lox.

    Lox is simply a cured salmon–generally in salt. This is where we get Belly Lox, which has a very assertive flavor and it is an acquired taste, for sure. There is also Pickled Lox and Gravlox, for which there are many preparations, but the one I'm most familiar with calls for the salmon to cured in vodka or aqua vitea and fresh dill.

    There is a similar mistake made with the term "Nova." The fact is, all types of Nova are smoked, but not all types of smoked salmon is Nova. To get a real education on the intricacies of the Appetizing World, you gotta go down to Russ & Daughter in New York City and talk to any of the good people there who work behind the fish counter, many of whom, I am proud to call former colleagues, and the owners–Niki Fedderman and Josh Tupper gave me an education in Appetizing and an employment experience that I still think of fondly on a nearly day-to-day basis. If I hadn't left to attend graduate school, I'd still be there.

    But I digress.

    Smoking is all about temperature–obviously. Most of the smoked salmons you'll find at Russ & Daughters (Gaspe Nova, Norwegian, Scottish, Irish, etc…) that we endearingly refer to as "Lox," (even though they are not Lox) are prepared with cold smoke temperature. As the temperature is turned up, the texture of the fish changes. There is a hot smoked salmon that is known as Kippered or "Baked" Salmon. Kippered salmon also goes very well on a bagel with cream cheese, but it is meant to be served, like virtually every other fish from the appetizing counter–COLD.

    Now, Jeff…bless his heart…is a man who knows a lot about sandwiches and I've been a huge fan of his sandwiching craft ever since he came on the the scene with "The Next Food Network Star," but I'm not so sure the "Appetizing" dish he presented as a "spin on bagels & lox" would really work…at least not with the salmon served warm. Poached salmon on a bagel with cream cheese sounds AWESOME, but if the salmon is served warm, the cream cheese is most definitely going to melt and take on this sort of gooey, runny texture. This is just one man's opinion, and I could be wrong…about the success of the dish. It's just been a while since I've had an opportunity to pontificate about Appetizing, so I thought I'd jump at this chance.

    I like where your head was at, with that one, Jeff. Keep up the good work. To the rest of the cast, the show looks great.

  3. Heather Cruz says:

    Watched the kitchen for the first time today 9/19. Great show!

    I need the black with white eyelashes winking tshirt that Katie Lee had on! So cute!! Where can I find that?

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