You’ve surely seen him on television as a Chopped judge and as an Iron Chef America superstar in Kitchen Stadium, and you may have even seen him in person at some of his restaurants. But come tomorrow you can hear from Geoffrey Zakarian in one of the most unlikely of places: the radio. For only the third time ever, Geoffrey is teaming up with SiriusXM radio to host a Food Talk broadcast, and the latest show premieres tomorrow, Wednesday, at 7am EST on Stars Channel 106.
This past weekend brought together the most renowned names in the culinary industry at the sixth annual New York City Wine & Food Festival, and Geoffrey kicked off the celebration last Friday by bringing together some of your favorite Food Network stars, including Bobby Flay, Sunny Anderson and Jeff Mauro, plus his fellow members on the Chopped panel, for relaxed chats — and plenty of laughs. Huddled in a studio at the SiriusXM headquarters high atop Manhattan, Geoffrey and his guests munched on sweet and savory bites from his restaurant The National, and dished about some of the most-talked-about topics in the food industry today.
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Why So Sunny?
One of the things fans love about Cooking for Real star Sunny Anderson is her bubbly personality. During a break from shooting in Studio A at Food Network’s Chelsea HQ, Sunny shared some insight on how she keeps her positive attitude and energy.
For starters, Sunny explains that what motivates her is the idea that “no matter how bad you have it, someone else has it worse.” Her optimism is served up with a healthy helping of perspective: “The stress I have from day to day is good stress.”
A cool fact about Sunny Anderson is that she grew up as an Army brat traveling the world, indulging in the local cuisine. As an adult, she served as a Senior Airman in the Air Force. So how then did she end up on Food Network bringing you deliciously down-to-earth meals? “The jobs that are on the outside are also on the inside,” Sunny explains. She started broadcasting while serving and soon became an award-winning military radio host and news reporter. Cooking was something she did for friends on the side while she was working on her broadcasting career.
Sunny jokes that she thought “if I started charging people instead of doing it for free, then they would stop asking.” Instead it led to a successful catering business, “Sunny’s Delicious Dishes.” A smart connection through her new business landed Sunny a special guest spot on Emeril Live and ultimately brought her to Food Network.
When it comes to the company she keeps, Sunny says she makes a point to surround herself with positive people. Not surprisingly, in the space of just a short visit, she’ll make you feel like you’ve just done the same.
Studio A at the Chelsea Market offices regularly changes faces for the filming of Iron Chef America, the Next Food Network Star Finale and a ton of in-the-kitchen shows, from Guy’s Big Bite to Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. But this week, for one afternoon, Studio A was transformed into a kitchen wonderland, a dream world for cooking-enthusiast bargain shoppers. It was a charity auction for Share Our Strength, and it was beautiful!
Items on sale were leftover from shows, equipment from the kitchens and Kohl’s products donated by the culinary department. At high noon, Food Networkers (including Sunny Anderson!) swarmed into the studio and started grabbing (mostly politely) and bidding – small items priced as marked and larger items auctioned off to the highest bidders.
The August/September issue of Food Network Magazine is on newsstands now, with over 132 new, amazing recipes (all online, here) and tons of behind-the-scenes dish.
Remember the “girls night out” photo shoot that Noah Starr crashed? Here’s the story to go along with the photos, complete with cocktail and finger food recipes. Also, check out Sandra’s swanky South Beach get-together.
And, featured below, food writer Alan Sytsma tours the set of Guy’s Bit Bite with Guy Fieri himself. Get the scoop on Guy’s custom kitchen, the rock-and-roll toys and all that California, hot rod style.
Things are busy buzzing in our studios!
We are using all areas of Food Network (Studio A, Studio B, and green rooms) for the preparation of The Next Food Network Star FINALE shoot, happening tomorrow (sorry, I can’t give you ANYmore information than that)… Well, if you’re interested, I am waiting to hear if the director needs two more cameras and extra drapes (exciting, right?!).
The picture above shows you a peek at the finale set construction – I can tell you that the finale will be, by far, the most shimmering, dazzling finale of Next Food Network Star yet! Let’s just say, I keep waiting for Fosse to stroll on stage.
Kendra, Operation Foodie
This past week has been super busy for not only FN’s Studio A, but also a few outside shoots, as well!
The Big Bite personality that is Guy Fieri has been cooking up a storm with some of his closest friends (hint – there are TONS of special guests in the upcoming episodes of Guy’s Big Bite). But not only that, Tyler Florence is back with another special, and it’s all about burgers coming in May! And this past Saturday, I got to hang out with Daisy Martinez of Viva Daisy. We shot around the Union Square Green Market and a few amazing locations in Jackson Heights, Queens (not too far from where I live!). One of the most classic moments happened at Daisy’s shoot when Mario Batali walked right pass all of us – we weren’t rolling at that moment, but it was still pretty hilarious.
Now that you’re caught up with whats been keeping our cameras busy, here’s an update on my little garden! While fairly upset that I had no sprouts last week, I started dreading the idea of only having 2 large pots of dirt on my desk. My friend Jon built me a shelf which lifted my spirits, but still, no sprouts… just bowls of dirt. And then it happened!!! This morning I came in to find some green stems popping their little heads out of the soil – BASIL! (Thankfully my little garden at home is strong, green and beautiful!)
Until next week – Cheers!
Kendra, Operation Foodie
Update here from a really great talent test I managed in the kitchen last Thursday and Friday. First of all I have to admit that my favorite place to shoot is in the kitchen. I think you get so much more out of the chefs as far as personality and the producers/directors get a real look into their ability to work in an uncontrolled environment.
When I asked Rob (Bleifer) if the kitchen was available for us to shoot in his response was “yes, as long as my team can go on doing their work”. Of course they could and they did! In the background we heard the bam-bam-bam of tenderizing chicken breast, food processors mixing on high, pans deglazing with a loud sizzle – it was amazing and I’m pretty sure everyone agreed (even Curt, our Audio Engineer).
Here are a few images I managed to snap.
1. Karen Berrios, Producer and Casting Director — main photo.
2. Eggs!!! I told you we scrambled a ton of these.
3. Camera view. See! This isn’t intimidating in the least!
As for our Studio A, the fabulous Ms Sunny Anderson is back.
Cheers and till next time!
Kendra, Operation Foodie
Sometimes I feel as though as our Studios A & B never sleep.
Right after Secrets of a Restaurant Chef (or as we call it: SORC or Secrets) wrapped up last week in Studio A, a few of the producers and I headed over into Studio B for a quick run of Talent Tests. Studio B, as most studios, wear a variety of hats. Just by redirecting the lights away from Next Food Network Star’s (aka: NFNS or Star) lounge like set (don’t worry, you’ll see those orange walls soon enough) and setting up some monitors and cameras, we were ready within a few hours with what looked like a completely new set!
The 3 ladies came in the next day, did a fantastic job… and now Studio B is back to being NFNS ready! It still amazes me how versatile a blank canvas can be, sometimes completely unrecognizable from week to week.
Next up on my plate: another Talent Test shooting in our Kitchens (any reason to hang with Rob Bleifer is enough reason for me to come to work) and then Guy’s Big Bite in the end of March!!
A couple of important notes:
1. On the Rob Bleifer front, I did his makeup last week for a webisode! Ok, I put a little bit of powder on him (courtesy my friend Kathleen who is our Make-Up Artist) – but STILL! It was awesome.
2. Congrats to a new Good Food Garden that went up over the weekend in South Beach!!! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you better check out the link!) Way to go, Sarah!
Kendra, Operation Foodie
Greetings, Food Lovers!
This week we have Chef Anne Burrell in Studio A whipping up some of the most delectable dishes. I have to mention that last night after shooting the commercial/restaurant kitchen scene (you’ll recognize this from the opening of the show) we were presented with some of her chocolate mousse! It was out of this world – so rich, not too fluffy, and topped with perfect choco-covered espresso beans. The perfect treat to the end of a long (but very successful) day.
I followed this up with a cup of tea and conversation, courtesy Ms Wendy Waxman – a delicious orange & apricot herbal tea. Very relaxing.
And to think that was the end, ha! I went into our FN kitchen to chat with my friend Ricky (by the way, he makes an incredible Jamaican jerk sauce) and noticed a huge pot of chicken cacciatorre (my fathers favorite Italian meal). I inquired what we were going to do with all of these leftovers – Ricky handed me a plastic container and said “go for it”!! Needless to say, I called my father bragging – he has the recipe now and is very excited to try it out this weekend.
Today, Chef Anne is putting together some sandwiches and soups. In my opinion, the most comforting food on a chilly, rainy, New York day. I simply can’t wait to taste!
Kendra, Operation Foodie
While sitting in my cubicle today, my mind began to wander upstairs…soon my feet followed my mind, and I found myself in Studio A of Food Network, the largest studio in the building. This is where Rachael Ray tapes 30 Minute Meals, where Iron Chef America battles, where Guy Fieri takes big bites, where Sunny Anderson cooks for real, and unlike my cubicle, it’s where ALL the magic happens.
But the magic doesn’t happen all at once! After each show tapes, usually a couple weeks depending on the series, the crew breaks down the set and rebuilds for the next show. So there will always be just one show taping in the studio at one time. The question is…..who’s in there today?
Can anyone use their Sherlock Holmes detective work or their Spidey-Sense to figure out what set our crew is finishing for tomorrow’s shoot?
Associate Producer, The FN Dish