This October, you can join Anne Burrell and other Food Network at Sea guests as they set sail and cruise the Mediterranean. In anticipation of this voyage, we recently caught up with her to talk about one of her favorite destinations, Italy. Below, she dishes on her first time there, her favorite ingredients to cook with and tools she uses in the kitchen.
FN Dish: What was it like the first time you were in Italy? Anne: I visited Italy in May and it was so beautiful there. There were flowers everywhere –it was springtime and everything was just opening up. The grape vines were just starting to bud; it just seemed like there was sunshine everywhere.
Above is my second installment of Follow My Fork. If you did not catch the first vlog, check it out here.
Today, my nose and fork led me to the set of spirited, bright-haired Anne Burrell‘s Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. There, I tracked down intern Ian, resident expert on everything edible – like Kabocha (a Japanese squash). He let me nibble on some Squash Bread Pudding (who knew squash could be so worldly!). Also, I got to try some delicious skate, a fish- a not so nice name but a tasty treat. You’ll be able to see this fare when it airs on Anne’s show this fall.
If you find yourself with a wide stretch of free time on a cold Sunday afternoon, I can recommend no better activity than spending the day playing around in the kitchen. Winter cooking is a breed of its own, and dishes that are braised, slow-cooked, and roasted are just what the doctor ordered on frigid days. So when I found myself in this situation last weekend, I decided that I’d finally test out Anne Burrell’s Pasta Bolognese recipe that was featured in the premiere episode of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. The recipe has been in my binder ever since I saw that episode, but because it lists its total cooking time at 4 ½ hours, it’s not exactly a weeknight dinner, so I was waiting for the right opportunity to tackle it.
Sometimes I feel as though as our Studios A & B never sleep.
Right after Secrets of a Restaurant Chef (or as we call it: SORC or Secrets) wrapped up last week in Studio A, a few of the producers and I headed over into Studio B for a quick run of Talent Tests. Studio B, as most studios, wear a variety of hats. Just by redirecting the lights away from Next Food Network Star’s (aka: NFNS or Star) lounge like set (don’t worry, you’ll see those orange walls soon enough) and setting up some monitors and cameras, we were ready within a few hours with what looked like a completely new set!
The 3 ladies came in the next day, did a fantastic job… and now Studio B is back to being NFNS ready! It still amazes me how versatile a blank canvas can be, sometimes completely unrecognizable from week to week.
Next up on my plate: another Talent Test shooting in our Kitchens (any reason to hang with Rob Bleifer is enough reason for me to come to work) and then Guy’s Big Bite in the end of March!!
A couple of important notes:
1. On the Rob Bleifer front, I did his makeup last week for a webisode! Ok, I put a little bit of powder on him (courtesy my friend Kathleen who is our Make-Up Artist) – but STILL! It was awesome.
2. Congrats to a new Good Food Garden that went up over the weekend in South Beach!!! (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you better check out the link!) Way to go, Sarah!
Have you ever been surprised when you find out your work friends (the friendly people you have water cooler time with) have a life outside of work? I really don’t like the work phrase “in my prior life,” but sometimes you run across those rare peeps that really had an interesting prior life. Neil Perry, FN Sound Designer/ Music Composer, is the perfect example of this.
This week we have Chef Anne Burrell in Studio A whipping up some of the most delectable dishes. I have to mention that last night after shooting the commercial/restaurant kitchen scene (you’ll recognize this from the opening of the show) we were presented with some of her chocolate mousse! It was out of this world – so rich, not too fluffy, and topped with perfect choco-covered espresso beans. The perfect treat to the end of a long (but very successful) day.
I followed this up with a cup of tea and conversation, courtesy Ms Wendy Waxman – a delicious orange & apricot herbal tea. Very relaxing.
And to think that was the end, ha! I went into our FN kitchen to chat with my friend Ricky (by the way, he makes an incredible Jamaican jerk sauce) and noticed a huge pot of chicken cacciatorre (my fathers favorite Italian meal). I inquired what we were going to do with all of these leftovers – Ricky handed me a plastic container and said “go for it”!! Needless to say, I called my father bragging – he has the recipe now and is very excited to try it out this weekend.
Today, Chef Anne is putting together some sandwiches and soups. In my opinion, the most comforting food on a chilly, rainy, New York day. I simply can’t wait to taste!
While sitting in my cubicle today, my mind began to wander upstairs…soon my feet followed my mind, and I found myself in Studio A of Food Network, the largest studio in the building. This is where Rachael Ray tapes 30 Minute Meals, where Iron Chef America battles, where Guy Fieri takes big bites, where Sunny Anderson cooks for real, and unlike my cubicle, it’s where ALL the magic happens.
But the magic doesn’t happen all at once! After each show tapes, usually a couple weeks depending on the series, the crew breaks down the set and rebuilds for the next show. So there will always be just one show taping in the studio at one time. The question is…..who’s in there today?
Can anyone use their Sherlock Holmes detective work or their Spidey-Sense to figure out what set our crew is finishing for tomorrow’s shoot?
That’s what we should call Sunny‘s episode “First Down, Ten to Feed”; airing on January 24th . Sunny’s baking her beloved Grandma’s red velvet cake. Yummy.
She’s a natural storyteller, and her tales are NOT scripted. As she spoke about her Grammy baking this cake for church or for her high school graduation, I thought she might cry. So sweet! Her approach is fun to contrast with Anne Burrell who talks of her recipes as if she were talking about her best girlfriends.
Sunny also embraces some cake curveballs like white vinegar or whipping up the icing on the stove. I don’t cook, but that seems unusual. Our dear Sunny can be prone to belches in the right conditions. That was kind of comical to watch. She burps between takes and is fine with this. A woman who is comfortable in her skin — I love that.
Happy New Year FN Dishers!
~ Secretary Confidential
Today, I weaseled my way into one of the edit rooms. “Just pretend I’m not here,” I told editor and producer extraordinaires, Jim and Jenny. They’re working on Anne Burrell’sSecrets of a Restaurant Chef. No spoiler here, but come January 17th , you’re in for a treat. Chef Burrell’s grilled pizza episode is sizzling. No major gaffes, other than the overuse of “lovely,” and a few “ums,” which probably won’t make their way to your screens.
The color coordination—all pastels with pink spoon AND rolling pin — is so sweet; you’ll get a rush before she whips out the pizza dough. However, the girly décor doesn’t keep Anne from doing the tough stuff, like opening a bottle of oil with her teeth — or actually, removing the bottle wrapper (that part might get cut).
I dug for dirt on the snappy blonde from my new peeps. I learned about Anne’s sous chef, who’s on Top Chef now, and heard big praise for the steak recipe. Evidently, Anne’s brown sugar-coated steak is pleasing to carnivores and dessert-ivores alike. So nice — Jim’s made it twice.
Before I go, a shout out for Tyler. Saw you the other day in the elevator, Mr. Florence, bundled and sniffly. You’re a trooper!
Until next time, when I visit my new BFF’s editing Sunny on Cooking for Real.