So I’m standing about 5 feet away from Mario Batali, both an Iron Chef and one of the most successful restaurateurs in New York City. I go up to him and say, “Excuse me, where did you get that hot dog?”
And do you know what he says? “Over there.” Mind you, this guy can cook dishes like fennel dusted sweetbreads with his eyes closed, and yet there he stood, eating a hot dog like we were at a Mets game.
Skip lunch, you say? At Food Network? Blasphemy! But don’t worry, it’s all for a good cause. Every year, our office participates in the “Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger” event that benefits City Harvest, an innovative local NYC food charity. In their own words: Now serving New York City for over 25 years, City Harvest is the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the city’s hungry men, women and children.
What they do is quite cool: City Harvest’s fleet of trucks rescues perfectly edible food that would otherwise be thrown out at restaurants, event venues, farmers markets, office buildings and grocery stores, and then redistributes that food to soup kitchens and food pantries across the city.
In fact, our own Food Network Kitchens participates in City Harvest food donations every Friday — you see them in action at Food Network by going here. City Harvest has a lot of other great programs, and they’ve teamed up with Food Network’s official charity partner Share Our Strength(SOS) to provide SOS’s “Operation Frontline” nutrition and cooking education classes in New York (which I’m actually a volunteer for!)
The Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger fundraising idea was dreamed up by Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine magazine and one of City Harvest’s board members. The premise of the idea is simple: brown-bag your lunch for a day, then take what you would have spent on lunch and donate it to City Harvest. Lunch in New York is rarely a cheap proposition, especially in our temple-to-gourmet-food office location of Chelsea Market. One can easily spend $10 here on just a sandwich and a drink. But according to City Harvest, that $10 would help feed seven children for a week.
This year’s fundraiser is today, May 6th, and many of our employees will be chipping in their lunch money to help support City Harvest’s efforts to make sure no New Yorker goes hungry. If you’d like to learn more about the fundraiser or would like to make a donation online, visit www.skiplunch.org.
Take a visit to the set of Sandra Lee’s new series, Sandra’s Money Saving Meals premiering this Sunday, May 10, at 12pm/11c.
The Atlantic Food Channel brings us word that KFC is launching a trial run of halal fried chicken in a few branches in London. No word what that’ll mean for the UK’s thriving world of non-Kentucky Fried Chicken; it remains to be seen whether Dallas Fried Chicken, Euro Fried Chicken, New York Chicken and Ribs, Americana Fried Chicken, or Mississippi Fried Chicken will follow suit. (That said, to be quite honest, I have a strong suspicion KFC is the follower, not the leader, on this front).
(There’s actually a whole book on Britain’s everywhere-but-Kentucky fried chicken phenomenon. Sure, I might be a little obsessed, but clearly someone is more obsessed than I.)
Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer
Welcome to the first installment of Feimster’s Filming… This is my coworker Michael Feimster, Associate Producer in our department, Creative Services.
A part of Michael’s job at Food Network is to shoot behind the scenes footage of talent for our department. Recently, Michael filmed on Guy’s Big Bite’s set.
Michael, can you explain what this particular footage will be used for?
We use this backstage b-roll [additional shots to cutaway from or cover up a main interview or video story] when we’re trying to jazz up the Upfronts [talent or show reels for advertisers]. Or, it can also be used for any [Creative Services] producers who need backstage footage for their promos [on-air commercials]. I shoot about 2 hours worth of b-roll per talent, sometimes more.
Yikes! So you’ve been tapped as the official behind the scenes guy for our department. Which means that you’ve gotten to go to some very cool shoots for exciting & new (sings) upcoming Food Network seasons. Just between us of course, give me the on-set scoop!
I got to meet Guy [Fieri]. He was really fun to shoot, and he’s a well nice well guy and a really nice individual. He’s really professional when the camera’s on, and when the camera stops he can joke around, [but] as soon as the camera starts rolling again he’s back on.
Just recieved the following video from our Senior Vice President Susan:
Rupa Bhattacharya, Culinary Writer
Yet again, we’ve got pig on the brain. This time we’re not feeling very hungry.
While health organizations around the world scramble to contain the spread of a swine influenza virus that’s brought us with breathtaking speed to the brink of a global flu pandemic (who says pigs can’t fly!?), relatively little media coverage has been granted to the real, or at least really likely, origins of the epidemic: those oversize petri dishes known as confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs; read: factory pig farms).
Yet the source of the outbreak should come as no surprise to anyone. For years we’ve been warned of the hazards of factory farming, pig farming in particular. It’s not for nothing that the industry that doses healthy pigs with unimaginably vast quantities of antibiotics is ground zero for this outbreak.
Also obscured in domestic reporting on the crisis is the U.S.’s involvement. Before we blame Mexico for incubating the virus, we might want to look a little closer to home. You’d be forgiven for not knowing it, but Granjas Carroll, the Veracruz pig farm believed by many to be the source of the outbreak, is a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods.
Speaking of obscurantism, since the start of the outbreak, pork industry groups have waged a remarkably successful attempt to re-brand swine flu as the H1N1 virus. Ultimately, though, our guess is even the pork industry does not possess enough lipstick for this pig.
(Note: the swine flu crisis is dramatically proving the extent to which the recent and controversial study that suggested free range pigs suffer a higher incidence of salmonella and trichinosis than their CAFO-raised cousins completely missed the point.)
Jonathan Milder, Research Librarian
The Food Network has a sister! F2 was officially born today – May 1st. Think food, drink and pop culture.
It’s a hip place for the younger crowd, although I’m not necessarily “the younger crowd” anymore….I found some great stuff. Recipes, blogs, challenges and videos to name a few. I especially liked The Amateur Gourmet webisodes. Beloved author and blogger, Adam Roberts, treats F2 users to his unique spin all things food. Be still my heart, Mr. Roberts. Adorable. Be sure to check out “Homemade Pasta Episode“ Hilarious!
Until next time…..here’s to eating well!
We all know that The Next Food Network Star judge Susie Fogelson always dresses for success —click above for a peek into where she gets her threads and jewelry for this upcoming season of NFNS. And be sure to keep watching, because after Susie’s video, you’ll get a tour of the house where all the finalists shack up.
The Next Food Network Star
Susie’s Clothes: Nicole Farhi
Susie’s Jewelry: Alanna Bess
Hopefully everyone out there in TV land caught the debut of our favorite dog Newman on this weekend’s episode of 5 Ingredient Fix, and everyone understands why we’re so excited about our newest star. Our newest star Claire Robinson, of course! I’m happy to be the very first one to report that we’ve picked up the show for 13 more episodes of 5 Ingredient Fix! You heard it here first!
So now that it’s clear that everyone wants more Claire the big work begins – how does she go about developing her recipes? Well, every Food Network chef has their own way of working, but no matter what, every recipe has to be tested multiple times to make sure it’s absolutely perfect. Claire tests her recipes at least three times and usually more, which as you can imagine takes quite a bit of time.
Recipes should also get tested with different equipment – electric stoves and gas stoves, convection ovens and regular ovens, non-stick pans and regular pans – the list goes on and on. You just can’t test a recipe enough. It’s a good thing that all of Claire’s recipes require no more than five ingredients each, because that’s a lot of food!
So be sure to catch the current episodes airing on Saturday mornings at 9:30 AM, and check back here to find out when the next batch of episodes will come along.