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?
Associate Producer, The FN Dish
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
Which chefs shoot in their real kitchens?
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.
That’s it from where I sit.