Do you know what Sunday night is? Come on, we’ve been promoting it like crazy! In case you’ve been living inside a bubble, Sunday night at 9pm/8c is the two-hour season premiere of the best competition show on television – the one, the only – The Next Food Network Star. No, I’m not just saying that because I work for FN, I honestly feel it’s the best. Where else does a foodie have the opportunity to become a national celebrity, have access to build their own brand and all the while do what they love – cook? The concept of the show is amazing!
The peeps who have made it to this season’s competition have a passion for food. And, of course, we dig that! Now, sure, not all of them have the defined culinary skills, point of view or TV presence to win a show on the network, but our judges (Bobby, Susie and Bob) would never question their passion for food itself. The judges just need to find that one person with a little “sparkle” to go along with that passion (i.e., Guy Fieri).
Have you checked out who the 12 finalists are this season? Have you read their bios, watched their videos? Seriously, you must! You need to see what true characters these people are. Char-ac-ters, I say! Once you read and watch, let us know what you think! Write us here, tell us on Facebook, or chat with us – yes, chat!
On Sunday (and every week after that), we will be hosting a live chat during the Star broadcast. So before you settle in on the sofa to watch the show, grab your laptop! We’ll be starting at 9pm/8c at FoodNetwork.com/Star. It will be a weekly date, so don’t stand us up.
As Bob Tuchsman’s assistant my job is to manage his schedule (i.e. make sure he’s on time for meetings) and keep my eye out for the next big talent. Which is easier said than done since: A) Bob has a schedule that rivals that of President Obama and B) There is only one Rachael Ray. I’ve been his assistant for 2 and ½ years, and let’s just say that I’ve learned more than a couple of things:
1. Bob’s phone line is not the complaint hotline.
Yes, I know that your upset that Emeril was canceled, and I’m sorry that you’re having difficulty finding the latest Unwrapped episode, but calling the network and asking to be transferred to Bob Tuschman’s office isn’t the best way to getting your complaints heard. We have a complaint hotline, and the number is (865) 560-3663…for my sake, please use it.
By now, you must have all seen the new Next Food Network Star (NFNS), Season 5 promo running – if not, take a minute to get caught up:
Well, my lovely department, Creative Services, oversaw the entire shoot (video and photo) for the ENTIRE promotional campaign of NFNS 5.
So, for all you Next Food Network Star junkies out there, impatiently counting down to June 7th, here is a play by play of the shoot day (from a secret inside source) to tide you over!:
6:20a – Arrive at Chelsea Market to assist making sure that the crew gets in and set up. The market is actually quiet. The production company, Mrs.K, starts setting up.
7:30a – The first four contestants, Teddy, Jen, Katie, and Michael arrive.
8:00- 10:00a – Separate and label the clothes for the contestants. Go through shirts with Michael, contestant, finally, decide on a shirt. Make sure that the contestants are in the right outfit at the right time, in the right place, throughout the day. Walkie talkie starts to weigh down whole body.
Here’s the best part… In the first episode, they are making their signature comfort foods. I don’t know about you but that’s pretty much all I want on a long, lazy weekend like the one. It appears the challengers will be whipping up a variety of comforting cuisine, including a truly decadent mac and cheese.
Here’s the $25,000 question:
If you were battling for a big bag of money, which comfort food specialty would you serve up to win it all?
I’m sure it’s the same in offices across the country, but this week in the Food Network Programming department, you can quietly work and watch the tumbleweeds roll by. Holiday gift giving is over, everyone is on vacation, and only the few of us who are truly – truly – dedicated are holding down the fort, here at the Chelsea Market.
So how do the professionally food obsessed spend a quiet holiday week? Burgers! There are food perks at FN, food perks being in the Chelsea Market, and then there are food perks just being in this neighborhood.
In that spirit, here’s a quick tour of the burger offerings in our lovely hood that will make any carnivore happy. Note: it doesn’t hurt that we border the Meatpacking District.
Across the street is the legendary Old Homestead Steakhouse with the famous cow above the door. Next door to O.H.S. is Pop Burger, when you only need a small slider. One block down is The Diner, a rather more upscale version of it’s name. A few blocks away is Cafeteria, Tyler Florence‘s old haunt, and in the other direction there’s Corner Bistro, a truly old school tavern. Also in walking distance is the now mega-famous Spotted Pig, gastropub to the stars. You can find nearly any kind of food in the world in Chelsea, but it’s clearly a burger kind of town. You may not want to hit all of them in the same week though…
The people populating your typical set for a Food Network show generally wouldn’t be winning a lot of fashion awards. The crew has a lot of running around to do, and let’s be honest, we didn’t get into this line of work to wear suits and skirts every day. But one notable exception to this rule could be found on the set of Ask Aida Season 2: Executive Producer Irene Wong. It doesn’t matter that the set is an obstacle course of fat cables, Irene will be wearing heels. Tall heels. I rarely seen her in pants, let alone jeans. Fabulous dresses, killer boots, hair perfectly in place. In short, Irene brings the style and puts the rest of us to shame (she’s the Susie Fogelson of the set).
As an example contrast this pic of Irene on set (pic on the left) with with a shot of a more typical wardrobe choice (pic on the right)…
Personally, I think the sneaker selections of Executive Producer Bob Larson and myself are pretty sharp and certainly practical, but I think Irene made us all feel pretty slobby that day.
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.
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.