Chatting With Food Network Star’s Bob Tuschman

by in Food Network Star, May 8, 2013

Bob TuschmanFor years on Food Network Star you've seen Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson guide, grow and, ultimately, judge and eliminate dozens of Star hopefuls, but how much do you know about these face of Food Network executives? Just in time for next month's all-new Star premiere, on Sunday, June 2 at 9pm/8c, FN Dish chatted with both Bob and Susie to learn a bit more about their roles at Food Network, their experiences in the kitchen, plus their thoughts on past seasons of competition and what makes an ideal Star candidate. Read on below to get the inside television scoop from Bob, senior vice president/general manager of Food Network, then read an exclusive interview with Susie.

Tell us a bit about what you do. What does a typical day look like for you?
Bob: My limousine picks me up at noon. I try to get a good half-hour of work in before heading off to lunch with one of our stars. Depending on how many martinis, I usually go straight home to prepare for another stressful day!

Oh, for real? My day is usually back-to-back meetings. My (extraordinary) programmers and I review show pitches, brainstorm new ideas, and watch rough cuts of new episodes and series. I also meet with agents, producers and our stars to talk about new projects. It’s fun! And they pay me.

Working at Food Network must mean you're surrounded by food all day, or at least thinking about it. Do you like to cook at home?
BT: On Sundays I usually make a stew or pasta, which I use as a “main” all week long. So when I get home weeknights, I steam a few veggies, drizzle on olive oil and reheat the weekend dish. Dinner is on the table in about 10 minutes. I’m asleep in about 15.

What's your favorite type of cuisine, whether to cook or eat out?
BT: Anything Mediterranean. I love the sun-drenched cuisines that rely on vegetables/fish/olive oil/beans and, of course, wine, so: Italian, French, Spanish, Greek, Moroccan.

Do you have a favorite Food Network recipe?
BT: No, but I swear I’ve used all 50,000.

What was your most-memorable meal? What, where, with who — details, please.
BT: My favorite memories: Sitting with Ina on her porch on a lush summer evening, splitting a pitcher of her frosty margaritas and noshing on her homemade guacamole and chips. Lunch at Bobby’s summer home — splitting a bottle of rose while he grilled freshly caught snapper … A pasta feast Giada made for a few of her Food Network Star friends … sipping a Prosecco and watching the sunset over the Pacific. I swear we don’t only drink together.

This is the ninth season of Food Network Star. Has it gotten easier for you to tell who the most-promising contenders from day one are?
BT: There are always a few who have a natural charisma and bigger-than-life energy that instantly catch my eye. They usually become not just my favorite, but viewer favorites.

What's one of the most important things you've learned from past seasons of the show that you carried with you into this upcoming season?
BT: Never stand next to Susie when she’s in 6-inch heels. I look like a very old third-grader.

Has there ever been an instance when you and Susie have felt one away about a particular finalist, but the other judges — Alton Brown, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis — felt differently? How was it resolved?
BT: Remember, Alton, Bobby and Giada are all accomplished producers, besides being stars. So while the five of us often disagree, it rarely splits along lines as cleanly as Bob and Susie on one side, and the stars on the other. We’re all executives with differing viewpoints. Ultimately, the majority rules.

What's something about filming the show that fans at home might not realize?
BT: The judging sessions — a few minutes of TV time — take hours and hours and hours to tape. They’re really mentoring sessions, not judging. We spend a lot of time trying to “grow” each finalist to achieve their Star potential.

Fill in the blanks: A Food Network star must be ________, must enjoy ________ and must be able to ________.
BT: Must be electric, must enjoy talking to a single glass lens and must be able to live life on a bigger scale than you or me.

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Comments (53)

  1. kccoop says:

    You should rethink your actions regarding Paula Deen. Her many fans support her and will cease to watch your network. How many athletes, singers and movie stars have been arrested for drugs, beating up on their mates, making porno films, shop lifting, etc. etc. Yet they continue in their profession. I think if you took a legitimate survey you would find Paula deserves to be kept on her show and her many fans support her.

  2. paula fan says:

    Paula deserves much better. Why is it in this country that "good" people get mistreated and torn down, while those without morals get glamorized with press coverage. Someday, maybe people will get smart and turn off their tv's and enjoy real life not this drama filled bologna. Everyone has said something negative or wrong in their lifetime. Grow A Backbone! I've been called "white girl & whitie" from friends and family who are of darker skin. Let the truth be known - black people say racist words too. We live in a one sided world today. Shame on everyone. Don't condemn - show compassion. Usually the motive behind anything today is money.

    • guest says:

      Oh please, black people and white people can both say what ever they want, but there is a responsibility that comes with the starfdom celebrities enjoy. So either live up to the expectations or get off t..v.

  3. kathybrn says:

    If the Food Network is going to fire Paula Deen then they also need to fire Anne Burrell, who was sued for sexual discrimination. They would also need to fire Chef Cat Cora, who was arrested for DUI with a blood alcohol level 3 times the legal limit and screamed profanities at people. Dinner Impossible's Robert Irvine was caught lying about his background when he stated he used to cook for the Royal family when, in fact, he did not. Iron Chef Bobby Flay was sued and settled for nearly $1 million because he kept tips from his employees and also cheated on both of his wives. Iron Chef Morimoto was sued for skimming tips from his employees and not paying them properly. Food Network Chef Geoffrey Zakarian filed bankruptcy to avoid a lawsuit - 152 of his disgruntled employees sued him. Chef Juan Carlos Cruz hired a homeless man to kill his wife. Chef Ina Rosengarten, The Barefoot Contessa, refused to meet with a child who was dying of cancer. Chef Guy Fieri has been accused of sexually harassing women and has asked his producers to warn him in advance if he has to tape his show, Diners Drive-ins and Dives, with restaurant owners who are gay. Jeff Frugal Gourmet Smith sexually abused men. And these people mentioned above still have their jobs, even though their "sins" all occurred within the past few years. None of us are who we were 25 or 30 years ago, and that is the beauty of self-growth

    • GUEST says:

      W O W, WOW, WOW, WAY TO REALLY PUT IT OUT THERE. WOW!

    • Carl says:

      Simple. maybe all these people are PC liberals while Paula Deen is not. Morality and honesty means nothing to these people

    • Cathy says:

      Right on! Comments - Jeff Smith is dead - I believe he died before any judgement made in the matter you mention above. You forgot Mario Batali. He has settled at least 2 lawsuits out of court for stealing employees tips (to fund his wine cellar) and not paying them overtime. I would still watch Mario Batali and all the living chefs you mention - despite their faults. HOWEVER, I will not watch Food Network until they bring back Paula and apologize to her and their audience.

  4. Jonette says:

    Disappointed that your network drpped Paula Deen will now boycutt your station and will never again watch it this is .america and where did the Feeedom of Speech go?????

  5. guest says:

    I am a Food Network Star fan. I enjoyed seeing Justin win last season and can't understand some of the other comments being made. What point is there to dwell on what happened? It was a vote - right? Well obviously there were enough people voting for him in order for him to win. In any case, I would just like to say,
    I really enjoy the show and am enjoying the newer version with the eliminated finalist. Also, i TOTALLY APPROVE of the Food Network getting rid of Paula Deen!!!!!!! Good riddance to that "trash" !!!!!!!!! My Foodie Crew and I welcome her exit!!!!!!!!!! Way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • libby says:

      Are you black or married to a black person? Have you ever said anything out of context in your entire life? Have you ever cheated, gotten drunk, said a racial slur? I'm sure you're not wearing a glowing halo. No one does.

  6. Jan says:

    Just because it has been a week we have not forgotten about what you did to Paula Deen. You should be ashame for not only throwing her under the bus you brought the bus so everyone else could jump on it. If you had stuck by your star this whole situation would of died out as quickly as it rose. If you have every really met Ms Deen you know she is not this evil person she is being portrayed as. You are the one who should be ashame!

  7. Dianne says:

    I started watching Food Network strictly because of Paula Deen and in doing so thought I got to know Bob Tuschman as a humble, empathetic fair minded person. I have found out that was apparently an act. Just look at the reputations of all the celebrity cooks; yet are they fired and for something that happened decades ago. You, sir practice discrimination; is your job on the line? Just letting you know that I have removed Food Network from my DVR and off my playlist and will never watch another FN program until YOU apologize to Paula Deen and make this right. I'm excitedly waiting for you to lose your job and FN to go completely off the air. Karma is a bitch!!!!

  8. Cathy says:

    Why has Bob Tuschman been so tight-lipped on Food Network’s decision to terminate the network’s business relationship with Paula Deen. This blog article makes him sound like a thoughtful and open person. The Food Network and Tuschman are failing to respond at all to her fans, a large portion of the Food Network audience, and the American public at large. There are hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of consumers demanding that the Food Network reverse the decision. Further, the mysterious manner in which the “announcement” was released to the press was underhanded, without explanation and seemed timed to inflame the circumstances, creating a chain effect among her other sponsors. As the General Manager, he should be personally accountable and speak up. If history finds the Food Network lacked cause or reason, the network should be liable for this terrible damage being done to Ms. Deen and her brand. My family and I have not watched Food Network for 3.5 weeks now and we were long-time fans – going back to its inception, watched daily. In fact, Food Network was one of our “go-to” channels, the default when “nothing on”, programmed as a favorite on our remote and the TWC channel number memorized. It’s a shame – but we can no longer savor the Food Network’s now bitter flavor. Please forward this note to Mr. Tuschman. WE WANT PAULA BACK... NOW!

  9. Ruby says:

    Since I will no longer watch Food Network because of your unfair treatment of Paula Deen, I will no longer watch my favorites...Pioneer Woman and Trisha Yearwood. Collateral damage. Admit you made a big mistake and get Paula back.

  10. Dianne Shelley says:

    Mr. Tuschman shame on you! You and your network are standing behind people who have cheated their employees, cheated on their wives, gotten DUI's AND abused the arresting officers in the process, a woman who refused a last wish, just to name a few. Paula Deen said the n word...she ALSO treats her employees well. It is unheard of, especially in the South, for a restaurant owner to provide insurance, 401-K, and not just living wages but living WELL wages. She has never had to settle lawsuits or file bankruptcy and close down her restaurant to keep from having to pay her employees what she owed them! Over and over again, we've heard testimonials to the way she treats customers and employees and I don't think we've heard anything that even resembles what Ann Burrell has been accused of.
    Because of the can of worms opened by your firing her, we now know things we probably would never have known about a lot of people we have watched religiously, admired and supported, I will never watch the Food Network again even if she comes back because of all the other skeletons in the closet. I would venture to say that closet is overflowing at this point. You know them all but you stood with them anyway! That is what I will never understand! What is the REAL reason behind this? Also, we folks from the South are a stubborn bunch....things will settle down eventually and a percentage of people will go back to the familiar. Don't bet on ever getting too many of the 603,000 fans back though. We are disillusioned to put it mildly!