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SC Job #7, Interviewer

by in View All Posts, December 12th, 2008

Move over, Barbara Walters. Secretary Confidential thought it would be fun to interview intriguing FN staffers. Check out Part I, when she chats with scheduling manager, secret FN tour guide and roasted broccoli enthusiast, Joe Moseley.

SC: If you could be any FN Star, who would you be and why?
Joe: Jamie Oliver. The first time I watched him, I felt an amazing calm wash over me, instant valium! The real star of his show was the food, as it should be. I wanted to be in his garden, eating it all. What I truly love about Jamie is his generosity. He mentors youth at risk; turning them into food professionals — awesome. He even challenged the UK to rethink school lunches with fresh, healthy alternatives.

SC. What was your most memorable experience with the talent?
J: When I brought my daughter Alexine to see Emeril Live. We had front row seats and were fed like royalty. I was so happy to bring her backstage to meet him personally. She’s 14, is a huge FN fan and I was pleased to give her that unique experience. I felt like a real cool dad that day. One of my all-time favorites, Jacques Pepin, was the show’s guest and I got to meet him as well.

SC: How long have you worked here and what’s the best part of it?
J: I’ve been here since September ’97 — the network’s grown so much since then. The best part about FN is the people. Everyone loves food and cooking, we eat lunch together (even watch Bourdain on No Reservations—shhhhhh!). I’ll know many of these folks for life. I even met my wife here. What can I say?

SC: Anne loves “Bye-bye, my Sweeties,” Rachael says “Yummo,” Emeril’s got the “Bam.” What’s your food catch phrase?

J: “Soup’s on!”

What’s your cooking phrase, FN Dishers? We know you have one, so share!
Happy Holiday Plating…
Secretary Confidential

Simulacra, Simulation, and Sevruga

by in View All Posts, December 11th, 2008

My pal Nico just sent me a thoroughly-non-work-safe picture of the first course he was served at Le Bernardin last night. It was salmon tartare topped with caviar, plated in such a way that I totally can’t post it. Regardless, it led me to wonder about the phenomenon of food pareidolia — which is to say, food that looks like not-food.

For example, there’s something very charming about this eggplant’s day out, the whole bento box phenomenon is worth a post of its own, and we’re fond here of the art of Saxton Freymann.

But to what extent does cuteness/anthropomorphicness factor into deliciousness? Is this like Easter bunnies, where the post-beheading guilt detracts from the experience? Or are these like those sugar-coated Easter marshmallows, which would be totally inedible if they weren’t cute? Also, why is this only discussable in Easter terms?

Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer

Sunday Sauce to Turkey Mole

by in View All Posts, December 11th, 2008

Operation Foodie here, with an insider look at production — on set at the Food Network Studios.

Just as recipes range from second-nature to baker-perfection, so does food television production. The dependents upon what make it a cinch vs. the need for more elbow grease vary… Shows like 30 Minute Meals are well-oiled machines that literally take about 30 minutes to shoot. The crew is small, Rachael is very low maintenance, the set practically builds itself, and the days fly by. These are what I consider the “Sunday Sauce” shows: consistently good and something the whole family finds comfort in.

Others take more managing, prep, and creative organizing. I call these the intricate “Turkey Mole” shows. The ingredients are particular, measurements precise, timing is specific, and attention to detail is immense.  Our “Turkey Mole” shows range from the new, like Guy Off The Hook, to the veterans, like Iron Chef America. Crew sizes are much larger and there are a million things on the stove at once (literally and figuratively).

Guy Off The Hook was my first show in larger Studio A, and I recall how much prep work was required just catering for the audience.  I was amazed at how much our team genuinely cared about the experience each guest would take home. From the moment Guy walked on the stage to wild cheers, I knew we’d achieved much more than we had hoped for.

That’s all for now! Back up to the studio to check in the crew for Tyler’s Ultimate!

~ Operation Foodie

Hot Fresh Cookies

by in View All Posts, December 11th, 2008

Once a year, our Ad Sales team throws a huge cocktail party to thank their top clients.  A regular holiday party just won’t do for us, so we combine a cocktail party with a full-on holiday cookie decorating experience, where guests can decorate gingerbread or sugar cookie men and women in all kinds of colors.  In addition to the food and cookies, they always want cocktails; this year’s signature cocktail was the “Sidewalk Santa,” a truly intoxicating blend of top-shelf bourbon, Lillet, cherry liqueur, and a few other secrets.

In the end, 400 cookies were decorated, some in ways that we never could have imagined, as reported by several of our staff who were a little surprised by what was left behind on the tables at the very end of the night. Apparently several tables had abandoned cookies that were decorated — well, let’s just say scandalously!

But I still can’t figure out why no one wanted to take them home.

Kudos to the entire Cookie Party Team and all of the guests who participated in making it a fun and fresh evening for everyone, especially the cookies!

Rob Bleifer & Claudia Sidoti

Creepy Cake

by in View All Posts, December 10th, 2008

Every year I make my daughter’s birthday cake. This year she wanted a princess. And she picked out one of those creepy half-Barbie molds. Oh. My. God.

She loved the cake (and helped make the dress). Question number 1 from the kids: Can we eat her hair? Answer: no. Question number 2: Can we eat her dress? Answer: yes.

What’s under her dress? We used the Food Network Kitchens’ Devils Food Cake and I made a simple chocolate buttercream.

Jill Novatt, Executive Culinary Producer

FN’s Pie Winner Makes It Big!

by in View All Posts, December 10th, 2008


You may remember Food Network staffer, Emily, from this amazing lattice-work apple pie she baked in our Thanksgiving Throwdown. Emily manages the Food Network Store and was asked to do a holiday gift segment on New York’s local CW network — PIX 11. To heighten the stakes, it was LIVE — which was a first for her.

We all think she did a pretty bang-up job and wanted to share. Check out Emily’s segment here. Plus, according to Em, you still have about five more days to place orders with guaranteed Christmas delivery, if you didn’t feel like dealing with Black Friday.

Co-worker Cookie Clash

by in View All Posts, December 9th, 2008

As mentioned, Food Network staffers just baked off in honor of the 12 Days of Cookies. To settle some bets, we’d love to hear which you think turned out the best. Plus, see if you can guess all the FN Gingerbread Stars in the last of the two fan photos at the bottom. Full answers (and the staff winner of our internal taste test) will be posted this Friday in the comments below…

Food Party!

by in View All Posts, December 9th, 2008
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