All Posts By Bob Tuschman

Bob Tuschman joined Food Network in 1998 as Executive Producer, and was promoted to Vice President, Programming and Production in 1999. He played a key role in creating the highly rated block of cooking shows airing on weekend mornings and daytime afternoons. Bob developed and executive produced the top performing series 30 Minute Meals, Barefoot Contessa and Everyday Italian among others. He was promoted to Senior Vice President in charge of all programming and production in 2005. Prior to joining the network, he worked at ABC News as a Producer for Good Morning America, as well as numerous specials and pilots. He also produced pilot and documentary projects for HBO, American Movie Classics and CNBC.

Bob’s Back! More Q & A

by in View All Posts, December 3rd, 2008

Which chefs shoot in their real kitchens?

Talk about kitchen envy. Ina now shoots in her elegantly welcoming kitchen on her property in East Hampton, New York. I keep hoping she’ll adopt me. Paula also shoots in her gorgeous and gracious home in Savannah. The Neelys have just begun to shoot in their brand new home in Memphis.

Bobby, Giada, Ingrid, and Aaron shoot in real homes, but not theirs, either because their kitchen wasn’t quite right to shoot in, or they preferred not to. Believe me, I wouldn’t want hundreds of pounds of equipment and dozens of crew members tearing up my kitchen either.

Tyler shoots in a studio kitchen that was designed to resemble the kitchen he had at his NYC apartment, before he moved to California. Giada now shoots in a studio in Los Angeles on a set that is inspired by her airy new home kitchen. Sunny, Sandra, Aida, Anne & Guy shoot either in our studios here in Chelsea Market, or close by.

Sunny Set Picture

Please tell me you don’t throw out extra food on your cooking shows.

Not a chance. We work with a fantastic group called City Harvest to donate some of the food to local shelters. Some prepared food goes to feed our crew and kitchen staff. The only food that is disposed of is that food deemed unsafe to eat because it has sat out too long under hot lights.

Why didn’t you respond to my e-mail?

Rest assured we read every single message. But the sheer number — 20,000 a month — means that unfortunately we can’t answer every single one.

That’s it from where I sit.

Thanks,
Bob

The FN Dish – Movin’ On Up

by in View All Posts, October 23rd, 2008

I’m not saying my colleagues are jealous that I get more mail than the USPS from this blog. But, they are taking notice. I’ve started receiving anonymous “stop hogging the blog!” interoffice memos. At Food Network — whether in our offices, kitchens or studios — there is always something going on, and apparently other folks want in on the act.

The good news is that their passion is in sync with your requests for more behind-the-scenes posts, more often. I could ignore my love of programming to join the ranks of bloggers like Perez Hilton (or Jacob from Food Network Addict), but I like my day job too much. Hence, it only makes sense to share the wealth.

My blog is joining forces with the The FN Dish. We’re expanding that web series to include a bigger, more frequent behind-the-scenes blog. You’ll still be able to watch Bruce Seidel‘s weekly web show and get great access to my other colleagues as well. Think more Food Network scoop from more contributors.  I’ll still post as well which reminds me — have you tried the Neapolitan Pork recipe yet?  Did it work out?

Check out our newly-expanded FN Dish right here.

Enjoy!
Bob

My Favorite Dish …

by in View All Posts, October 9th, 2008

One of you asked if I cooked.  Yep. Many times a week.  Below is my all time favorite dish for friends and family.

Saturday night dinner parties carry high expectations.  My week is stressful enough.  So I go for very casual Sunday night “family” dinners.   No candles, no tablecloths, no fancy centerpieces.  Guests bring cheese or hummus. I pop open a Shiraz or Malbec, never more than $15. Tumblers, not wine glasses.  If I can’t prepare the dish in advance, I ain’t making it.

Below is a stuffed pork recipe I adapted from a week’s cooking vacation I took in Amalfi, Italy at the beautiful  Luna Convento Hotel.  The chef who taught it was the charming Enrico Francese.  I heartily recommend Amalfi, the hotel and the dish.

Neapolitan Stuffed Pork (Braciola alla Napoletana)

Recipe courtesy Bob Tuschman

 

1 (2 to 3 pound) boneless pork loin

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup pine nuts

1/4 cup raisins

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 cup white wine

1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

1 bay leaf

Red pepper flakes, if desired

 

Take pork loin and lay lengthwise on a cutting board. Slice parallel to the cutting board, down the center of the loin, but only cutting about 3/4 of the way through, so as to open the loin up, like a book. Repeat process with each side of the loin, so as to open each side even further. You want a large flat surface to lay out the ingredients and then roll up.

 

Season the inside of the pork loin with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sprinkle Parmesan, pine nuts, raisins, chopped garlic, and chopped parsley on top of the meat. Roll the pork loin up, like a jelly roll, making sure to keep contents inside. Tie the roll with kitchen twine, once lengthwise, and a couple times around the sides. This will keep the roll intact while cooking. Season the roast with salt.

 

In a large high-sided saute pan over medium-high heat, add oil and heat until almost smoking. Sear all sides of pork loin, including ends, until completely browned. Remove to plate. Lower heat slightly and add onion, cooking until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste starts to bubble, about 2 minutes. Add white wine, and using a wooden spoon, scrape up bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for a few minutes to let the wine reduce slightly. Crush the tomatoes with your hands and add to the pan. Stir in the bay leaf and red pepper flakes, if using. Return pork loin to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.

 

Remove pork loin from the sauce and let rest for a few minutes. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper. The sauce will have reduced by half. Slice loin into 1/2-inch slices and plate. Spoon the sauce over the slices. Serve the remaining sauce alongside.

 

Yield: 6 servings

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 2 hours 20 minutes

Ease of preparation: Intermediate

Enjoy!

Bob

Ratings …

by in View All Posts, October 7th, 2008

First, thanks for all your posts.  I promise you, I read every single one.  As you can see, we have incredibly smart, passionate viewers. Who passionately disagree.  That’s inevitible when you have the large, diverse viewership we do.  Here’s a question that has come up a lot:

“How do you know what viewers like? How do you measure a ‘highly rated’ show?”:   

Like all networks, we use ratings provided by Nielsen.  They represent the 97 million U.S. homes that get Food Network and measure on a minute-by-minute basis how many viewers are watching each program on our schedule.  But we also supplement this with constant research by talking to our audience all across America.  Additionally, we read every one of the more than 20,000 viewer e-mails and letters that come in each month. 

You can imagine the broad range of interests, cooking levels, likes & dislikes of this incredibly diverse audience.  So we’re using every means at our disposal to make sure that we offer a wide range of programming that serves as many different sectors of our audience as possible.

 

In Our Studios …

by in View All Posts, October 4th, 2008

On the top floor of our offices at Chelsea Market are a series of state of the art kitchens where recipes are constantly developed, tested and prepared for shows, as well as our two studios. It’s here we shoot Iron Chef America, 30 Minute Meals, Guy’s Big Bite, Tyler’s Ultimate, Cooking for Real, The Next Food Network Star, Ultimate Recipe Showdown, Essence of Emeril and Secrets of a Restaurant Chef.

We just finished taping Season 2 of Ultimate Recipe Showdown : 24 of America’s top home cooks compete to cook the ultimate recipes in 6 different categories. Guy Fieri hosts, and it’s always a kick to have Guy in the house.  Bonus question, did you happen to see Guy sitting in the audience (front row, natch) of the season premiere of Saturday Night Live ? That shock of blond spikes rising from his head is unmistakable. (Ultimate Recipe Showdown premieres Sun,  January 4th).

Speaking of Guy, have you caught Guy Off The Hook? It’s a new show on Sundays at 1:30pm ET/12:30 CT.  Guy has wanted to do an audience show since he started on air.  In fact, the show he pitched when he won The Next Food Network Star was called “Off the Hook”.  (But we changed it to “Guy’s Big Bite”)  Last February, I sat in the audience at the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival and watched Guy as he tore up the house — a funny, electrifying, interactive cooking demo in front of hundreds of fans.  I knew then he was ready. We taped a first season of 6 eps to test out the concept, so let me know what you think.

That’s it from where I sit.  I’ll answer more of your questions shortly.

Bob

Check out this blog …

by in View All Posts, October 2nd, 2008

I read foodnetworkaddict.com just about every day.  Jacob Strauss, the creator, is a wickedly funny and perceptive critic of the network.  The guy often skewers us.  And me.  But even when he’s at his most merciless, most times he makes me laugh out loud.  And occasionally his criticism really hits home.  Check it out.

What I’m screening …

by in View All Posts, October 1st, 2008

I just saw the final cut of our new reality series The Chef Jeff Project.

Chef Jeff Henderson came to our offices more than a year ago, and we were instantly transfixed by his compelling personal story and his powerful presence. A teenage drug dealer, he was sent to prison where he learned to cook. He vowed to reform his life and ended up becoming Executive Chef of Café Bellagio in Las Vegas. Now he wants to help others. So he hires six at-risk young adults to staff his new catering company in Los Angeles, which cooks for high profile events. Can he transform the troubled lives of his young charges while running a high pressure, high profile business? Not without a lot of struggle.

While I don’t generally recommend crying in front of your staff, there I was streaming tears as I screened the first episode at 9:00 am on a Monday morning. How humiliating.

The Chef Jeff Project premieres Sunday, October 12 at 10pm ET/9pm CT

That’s it from where I sit.

Bob

Questions, Questions, Questions …

by in View All Posts, September 30th, 2008

Reading through your first batch of questions, I caught a couple of common themes, which I thought I’d tackle here:

WHY DON’T YOU SHOW COOKING SHOWS AT NIGHT?   I know there’s a large group who would love to watch our cooking shows at night.   But there’s a much larger group (quite a sizeable majority, actually) that prefers our evening programming to be more story driven and entertaining than straight instructional:  competitions, travel, docusoaps, food science, chef challenges.   That’s why we pack the weekends (til 2pm) and weekdays (til 7pm) with all our best cooking shows. Will we please everyone all the time? No, but try to remember the last time you got a few million of your friends to unanimously agree on something.

WILL YOU BRING BACK ROBERT IRVINE TO DINNER IMPOSSIBLE?  We’ve gotten tons of e-mail on both sides of this argument.  In any case, there’s no doubt that Robert is a talented chef, a compelling tv personality, and has earned a large fan base.  As we said at the time, we’ve worked hard to earn the trust of our viewers, and we had to address what appeared to be intentionally misleading statements Robert made about his culinary credentials.  We did say we would reconsider Robert’s involvement with the network down the line.  At this time, we’ve simply not made a decision about the future.

WE LOVE INA AND NIGELLA.  WHY AREN’T THERE NEW EPISODES OF EITHER ON NOW?  You’ve got good taste. I love them both, too.  We bought all of Nigella’s recent series:  Nigella BitesNigella Feasts and Nigella Express as well as a lot of her holiday specials.  Unfortunately, British networks tend to make far fewer episodes of series than we do.  So we’ve already put everything on the air we could get our hands on, and, along with you, we eagerly await Nigella’s next series …. 

Meanwhile, Ina has been busy taping an entire new season which we’re just about to launch on Sat 10/18 at 1:30pm/12:30c.  She’s calling this season Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics, and I’ve watched quite a few of the new episodes. I think it’s her best season so far. 

At a lunch we had last spring, Ina was brimming over with new ideas to amp up her ever-popular series: it’s chock full of new ways to include more tips and takeaways on shopping, cooking techniques and “turning up the volume” of simple ingredients to make you a cooking superstar. 

ISN’T ASK AIDA THE SHOW ADAM PITCHED ONTHE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR?  Boy, would my life be easier if the development and production process happened that quickly.  On average it takes 8-12 months from initial show conception to premiere on our air.  We had this interactive cooking show in development for more than six months before we even met Adam.

IS GUY FIERI THE ONLY STAR TO HAVE COME FROM THE NEXT FOOD NETWORK STAR? Au contraire, each of the 4 winners have found success.  Aaron McCargo’s show Big Daddy’s House is one of the most highly rated cooking series to have launched in recent years.  It was instantly renewed and new episodes will premiere in January.  Likewise, Amy Finley’s show The Gourmet Next Door was one of the highest rated cooking shows of last year.  It was solely Amy’s decision to not return.  I don’t usually beg our stars, but in this case I did.  Repeatedly. Humiliatingly.   But having moved on to a new life in France with her family, she simply did not want to tape any more episodes.   The first winners – Dan and Steve - were on the air for two seasons.  Given that the majority of most new tv shows never make it to season two, I’d say we’ve done did pretty well.

That’s it from where I sit.  I’ll be back shortly with more …

Bob

Welcome to Bob’s Blog

by in View All Posts, September 23rd, 2008

Wondering what this blog will be about? First and foremost: all your questions about the network will be answered. Programming. Stars. Behind the scenes. I’ll try to pack in as many as I can. So start sending me your questions now. Give me your best.

This is the place to hear it all first: what I’m screening, what’s taping in our studios, what’s going to be on our air, and all the buzz from the kitchens, sets and hallways.

Just so you don’t waste your questions, here are the Top Five I get asked most frequently:

Who is your favorite star? Hey parents, who is your favorite kid? You love ‘em all. But for different reasons. Even when they’re difficult. Even when their grades are low. Even when they crayon on the walls. But mostly because you see the unique talents of each one. And they’re your family. Same with me.

Who’s your least favorite star? See above.

Why don’t you weigh 500 pounds? Well, you’d think our offices would be overflowing with leftovers from the Iron Chefs, Rachael and Tyler. No such luck. While all the food cooked on shows is 100% real, it’s also 100% off limits to staff. After an episode tapes, food often needs to be held under hot lights and photographed for beauty shots. My lunch most days? A tuna or peanut butter sandwich while screening shows. So much for glamour.

What’s the worst pitch you’ve ever gotten? We’ve seen it all. Drag cooking shows. Puppet cooking shows. Silent cooking shows. But my favorite was Gladiator Cooking, complete with a dude whipping up recipes in full Spartacus regalia. So random.

Did you ever put on a show so bad you thought you’d be fired? Well, it is tv, so there’s still time. But the show that had me most nervous turned out to be a game changer and huge hit for us: 30 Minutes Meals. Rachael was the first non-professional, non-culinarily trained chef on our air. It was a huge risk, and I got hideously angry email from some longtime viewers. But I loved Rachael’s down to earth approach, her “can do” message, and her clever recipes. You know the rest.

Now it’s your turn.  Fire your questions to me.  I’ll be back shortly with all the news from where I sit.

Bob