All Posts In Behind the Scenes

Taking the Oven Mitts Off: Duff and Lorraine Face Off in the New Series Worst Bakers in America

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, October 2nd, 2016

Lorraine and DuffDuff Goldman and Lorraine Pascale have teamed up to coach teams of terrible bakers in the new series Worst Bakers in America, premiering Sunday at 10|9c. Even though the two are longtime friends and colleagues, appearing together as judges on Spring Baking Championship and Holiday Baking Championship, when it comes to a competition, they’re in it to win it no matter the cost. Lorraine will coach the Red Team, and Duff the Blue Team. Every week the baking challenges will get harder and harder, until only one member is left on each team to bake in a bakery-themed final battle for a chance to win $25,000. And for his or her mentor, there will be infinite bragging rights.

FN Dish caught up with both mentors on the set of the show to chat about the competition and find out who thinks he or she can win. And these two weren’t afraid to talk a bit of smack.

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Judge Sandra Lee Sheds Light on the Sinister New Season of Halloween Baking Championship

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, September 26th, 2016

Halloween Baking Championship judge Sandra LeeExpect some gore, some surprises, and lots of scintillating sweets on the new season of Halloween Baking Championship, premiering Monday, October 3 at 9|8c. The seven multitalented bakers competing sure know their way around Halloween tricks and treats, and baking feats. But what may be even scarier than the challenges are the three intimidating judges: Carla Hall, Damiano Carrara and Sandra Lee, whom everyone knows as the maven of Halloween entertaining. This season comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham hosts with a deftly creepy hand, doling out good and bad news to the bakers competing for $25,000.

FN Dish recently chatted with Sandra about the new season. In this exclusive interview she details the difficulties involved in judging a baking competition, and reveals her favorite things about the hallowed holiday, her favorite costume and more.

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Ted Allen on What Makes Chopped So Popular, and Why He’d Never Compete

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, June 20th, 2016

Ted AllenWhat makes Chopped such a successful competition show, one that, to this day, still excites fans and keeps unsuspecting chefs on their toes? According to host Ted Allen, a number of factors add up to make Chopped great television, but at the heart of it is an unyielding passion for food that’s on display every time a chef opens a basket of mystery ingredients. Whether you watch Chopped, Chopped Junior or the tournaments (Champions, All-Stars, Grill Masters or Teens), the format is the same: There are three rounds of mystery baskets, and each chef has only so much time to cook the ingredients. What changes are the chefs, who each bring their stories to the kitchen and cook with boundless energy and deep passion that emanates in their plates. That’s what makes Chopped one of the best food competition shows on TV.

FN dish caught up with the indomitable host to chat about what makes the show so special, what goes into preparing for an episode, what’s changed over the many seasons — because he’s been there since its inception — and what would happen if he suddenly had to compete. Hint: Ted characterizes his skills as the complete opposite of the competitors’ abilities. Find out what he had to say about the long-running series and more.

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Behind the Scenes: All Is Quiet in the Chopped Kitchen

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, January 4th, 2016

Behind the Scenes: All Is Quiet in the Chopped KitchenThe wildly popular show Chopped films here, in New York City, right next to Food Network Kitchen in a giant studio that houses a chaotic frenzy of mystery baskets, eager cooks and expert judges. But there’s an entire behind-the-scenes crew of incredibly talented people who keep the machine that is Chopped well oiled. There are a million moving parts to the show, and rarely is there downtime on set, so I took advantage of one of their small breaks and took some photos of the eerily quiet kitchen (I hope they don’t mind!). Take a look at these insider photos below.

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Behind the Scenes: Food Network Kitchen’s Gingerbread House

by in Behind the Scenes, Holidays, December 17th, 2015

The Secret Roof CompartmentIn case you missed it, last week FoodNetwork.com and HGTV.com came together in the Scripps Lifestyle Studios to host the ultimate live holiday cookie party on Facebook (watch the three segments here, here and here). Justin Warner hosted the event, and I had the pleasure of nerding out with him and Michelle Buffardi, from FoodNetwork.com, on chocolate chip cookie recipes.

One of my favorite parts of the day was the unveiling of the gingerbread house that recipe developer Melissa Gaman and FoodNetwork.com’s Eric Kim (with special help from Mory Thomas and Miriam Garron) worked on ALL DAY! Viewers had a ton of questions about the construction of the house, so here are some of their building tips:

The Secret Roof Compartment (pictured above): Melissa cleverly turned our house into a surprise cookie jar. Here’s how she did it: She cut one of the roof sides into two pieces and “glued” the bottom piece, with royal icing, onto the house. The removable piece simply sat on top without needing to be affixed to the house. Then the whole roof was decorated in almond shingles that covered the seam to the secret panel!

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Go Behind the Scenes: It’s Bananas in Food Network Kitchen

by in Behind the Scenes, December 3rd, 2015

Go Behind the Scenes: It’s Bananas in Food Network KitchenI wish you could actually smell the photos here. We had nearly 700 speckled bananas in the Food Network Kitchen walk-in just a couple of weeks ago, and their intense perfume almost knocked my socks off. They were that perfect kind of ripe, ideal for banana bread (which these guys were destined for). Culinary Purchasing Manager Jacob Schiffman had ordered about 100 unripe bunches nearly a week before and had patiently let them ripen at room temperature. But measuring out the ingredients for 200 loaves of banana bread, for a special event, takes time, so to keep them from overripening he moved the bananas into the cold to slow down the process.

Jacob also shared a great tip for keeping your bananas from ripening too fast: Break them apart as soon as you get them home, since a single banana can ripen the whole bunch (he’s got a million handy produce tips like this). And unless you’re planning on making banana bread, it’s a great tip for getting more life out of your fruit.

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Go Behind the Scenes: What Hangs on the Walls at Food Network?

by in Behind the Scenes, November 4th, 2015

Go Behind the Scenes: What Hangs on the Walls at Food Network?In our 22 years of producing and airing cooking and food television shows, we’ve amassed quite a collection of props in our vast prop room, everything from fine china to vintage utensils (there’s even a ukulele). We recently decided to dust off some of our more interesting pieces and hand them over to artist Deniz Asutay, who masterfully converted them into large-scale collages. She created 16 in all, and now our office walls are adorned with eye-catching pieces that help tell our story in a way that’s every bit as visually appealing as the food the props helped make beautiful these past two decades.

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Behind the Scenes in Food Network Kitchen: Vivian Chan, the Home Cook Advocate

by in Behind the Scenes, October 4th, 2015

VivianYou may have heard of Food Network Kitchen, which is housed inside the famous Chelsea Market in NYC. But what is it, exactly? Well, FNK (as we like to call ourselves) is a team of about 30 people who develop, test and edit recipes, write about and photograph food, and work as culinary producers on many of your favorite Food Network shows. From the moment we step into the kitchen/office, we are completely immersed in all things food. And it’s awesome.

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A Food Network Kitchen Field Trip

by in Behind the Scenes, September 14th, 2015

A Food Network Kitchens Field TripOn a warm afternoon a few days back, the Food Network culinary team took the F train to the banks of the Gowanus Canal, Brooklyn’s very own Superfund site, for a private tour of Gotham Greens’ third New York sustainable farm. “Don’t touch the greens,” Nicole Baum, Gotham’s marketing and partnerships manager, tells us on the way up to the roof. This is a rare event — to keep the facility sterile, the farm is closed to the public.

It’s hard not to rub a leaf or two between our fingers as we wander through rows of spiky lettuces and purple baby kale. We can smell the basil as we walk toward the herbs; Nicole says that during the daily morning harvest, the whole roof fills with the smell as workers snip and pack it to sell in the store below. That’s hyperlocal distribution, and it keeps GG’s carbon footprint to a minimum. (And allowed Gotham to deliver locally when Hurricane Sandy shut down most access to the city.)

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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Michael Symon

by in Behind the Scenes, Shows, July 22nd, 2015

Michael SymonMany people know Michael Symon as the meat guy on Food Network. If you’ve ever heard him talk about meat, you would never think he even eats vegetables. So when FN Dish caught up with the host of Burgers, Brew & ‘Que and asked him to offer up some surprising facts about himself, Michael was a little skeptical, saying, “I feel like I’ve been on TV so long that they know everything.” However, even we were surprised to hear some of the facts he revealed: Let’s just say even the meat guy gets in his greens.

Get to know Michael Symon better and discover some aspects about his life that might surprise you.

Michael reveals seven facts about himself