I know you’ve been counting down to the Chefs vs. City premiere tonight. In each episode, Food Network chefs Aarón Sánchez and Chris Cosentino challenge two local foodies to locate that city’s biggest, boldest, most unexpected food places.
When we asked super fast runner and Chefs vs. City co-star, Chris Cosentino, how to describe this new series in five words or less, he shot back, “exciting, funny, humbling and super competitive.”
Here’s a two-fer interview with Chris, and Photo Coordinator for Food Network, Melissa — two people who just happen to share a home city (keep reading to find out where), and spent an exciting day at a photo shoot. Like the stars on Chefs vs. City, let’s get things running.
SOMMER: Each Chef vs. City episode is in a new town with a new set of challenges. Which city was the most difficult to compete in and why?
I can’t say enough great things about What Would Brian Boitano Make? Sorry if it seems like I’m being insensitive to the fact that you haven’t seen it, but man it is really good! There are theme parties, crazy costumes, the beauty of San Francisco, and of course, first-rate instructional cooking. That said, you can T get your first taste of the funny foodie force that is Brian Boitano this Sunday during The Next Food Network Star finale at 9pm/8c, which should hold you over until the August 23rd premiere of Brian’s four-part series.
But until then, check out these blast-from-the-past spots that inspired Brian Boitano’s comedic genius in the launch. Drink beverages whilst watching at your own risk, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Working at Food Network leads to personal experiences and opportunities that sometimes are unimaginable. So I decided to share one of my own and be the warm-up act for bigger, better stories to come later in the “series” from the rest of Creative Services.
In promos, sometimes our chefs share the spotlight with surprising co-stars: the graphics. The Viva Daisy! spot is no exception, as we’re hoping you’ve already seen on-air. I casually stalked Senior Designer Christopher Clarke and Writer/Producer Steve Tardio paparazzi-style from start to finish as they collaborated and created this promotional piece. Now I am excited to share my roomy front-row seat with you…
Christopher and Steve first brainstorm graphics ideas while reading over the script. The overall concept they developed highlights Daisy’s “spice” and “flourish” through the dynamic movement of the camera, as it twists and turns through Daisy’s world. Christopher creates the graphics portion of the promo, and Steve pulls show footage from Viva Daisy! to incorporate into the spot.
Greenscreen isn’t just for summer’s big budget action movies. It’s also used to place your favorite Food Network stars in worlds beyond their kitchens and imaginations. For example, take Claire Robinson’s show promo for the first season of 5 Ingredient Fix. One of our producers, Olivia, developed this spot after talking with Claire about her culinary point of view, and then shot it on a greenscreen backdrop back in March to highlight the entire season.
Like kernels transforming into summer movie popcorn, here is the before and after:
Ancient Roman Philosopher, Marcus Tullius Cicero said “Cultivation to the mind is as necessary as food to the body.” Well, hopefully most of us definitely agree with the food part, but the mind needs inspiration as well, especially to cultivate a promo.
On her 9th anniversary at Food Network, I asked Writer/Producer, Olivia Mazyuk, to share some little known facts on where inspiration comes from for a Food Network promo, in regards to one of her most challenging spots to date, Feasting on Waves — to promote a 4-part series featuring Alton Brown’s personal journey exploring the Caribbean.
- For the initial brainstorming session, everyone involved took an afternoon trip to Chelsea Piers to literally watch the water move for ideas on how to begin. They watched the current, the flow of the Hudson River, observed the atmosphere – all in an attempt to find ways to evoke these themes into a graphics look.
- The original script was written as a first-person narrative for Alton to record. Alton, being Alton, recorded something different, and we then adjusted it to a third person account. This collaborative effort is the version that went on-air.
- The idea for the look of the spot, was inspired by the movie Stranger than Fiction starring Will Ferrell. The team wanted to express Alton’s unique point of view, so each video clip contained a graphic expressing Alton’s thoughts – similar to what was done in the box office film.
- The original music was composed (in-house) at Food Network, and inspired by reggae songs like “Holy Mount Zion” by Alborosie and “Tranquility” by Gentleman.
- The collaborative effort is the most inspirational; it took about 120+ hours, and about 8 people to create the 30 second promo.
Sommer, Creative Services
It’s 8:00a, and there is a Food Network crew setting up a photo shoot in (Olympic ice skater) Brian Boitano’s house, and he’s not home. What does Brian Boitano have to do with Food Network? Well, as it turns out, not only is Brian Boitano an Olympic athlete, he’s also an outstanding home cook and an entertainer extraordinaire.
Enter Joanne Harmon, Design Director for Food Network, or actually enter me, into Joanne’s office to chat about hanging out with the star of our newest show, What Would Brian Botaino Make. Here’s the skinny from casa de Boitano:
We are all the buzz about Daisy Martinez’s “In The Kitchen” show, Viva Daisy. Right now in my department, Creative Services, we are all busy working on promoting the next season.
I literally just sat in on a brainstorming session with the producer and designer of the launch spot (a promo that lets you know when the new season is going to air and highlights the overall season with copy writing and footage) for the new season, as they discussed (top secret) ideas for the new spot. More to come on that later…
I was lucky enough to tag along with (Michael) Feimster on my first show shoot in the studios here in Chelsea. As you remember from Feimster’s first appearance on The FN Dish, he is tasked with shooting behind the scenes on all of our shows. We then use that footage to promote the shows and talent. So who knows, maybe some of the below footage we shot on Daisy’s set will finally get its day in the sun? From Feimster’s camera, to my amateur editing skills, to you:
Everyday in these hallowed halls, I walk past our logo, encompassed in our fabulous new graphics look. The colors and textures of the logo you see that accompany Food Network shows on TV, or on print campaigns (like billboards or on taxi’s) are all created by my department – Creative Services. Toot, toot.
Then one day it hit me like a crème pie filled with hand whipped lemon meringue, what’s up with the logo?! Where has it been over the years, and why did it go there?
The Food Network lobby is a happening place. A couple of weeks ago, I was waiting for the elevator, and a golden-blonde woman was pacing in the waiting area. When she turned around, it was Sandra Lee, aka Aunt Sandy. She was obviously awaiting a meeting (probably about her new show Sandra’s Money Saving Meals), and I knew she would not be joining me on my elevator ride to the 1st floor.
But this reality of sharing the lobby with talent, or passing them occasionally in the halls, means that odds are higher than normal, of taking an elevator ride with them. Usually this Food Network Lobby elevator: