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 (54)

  1. Debbie says:

    Words cannot express how I feel about you firing Paula Deen. It's ridiculous. She has more supporters than non-supports and I guess the majority of the non-supporters would be those who let her go. Can all of you honestly say you've never said or done anything you've regretted? Would any of you be honest when answering questions about things you've said or done? If you applied the same rules to yourselves and it something was made public, would you feel dismissal was justified? Doubtful.

  2. FNS says:

    Nikki deserves be on the show more than anyone else. She has a strong point of view and many people, I believe will follow it. "Sinful guy" on the other hand doesn't have a very clear POV and people nowadays are looking to be more healthy. I don't think his show will be successful. Also there are too many shows about people going to restaurants and eating someone else's food. It's their cooking show and THEY should be cooking, not eating someone else's food and recreating. It's like stealing their idea.. even if they have permission. A cooking show means that you create something yourself and not from someone else's ideas/ingredients. NIKKI NEEDS TO COME BACK. IF SHE DOESN'T GET A STAR SALVATION I THINK THAT THAT IS VERY UNFAIR.

  3. Georgia girl says:

    I am still disappointed that Nikki was cut--just because she didn't know what rice pilaf was. She was unfairly eliminated. She was consistently poised and obviously could cook with a likeable authority. I am not excited about the finalists. They have their strengths but I am not sure they have star power to carry a cooking show.

  4. ParkerP says:

    Bob Tuschman is a spineless jerk and Food Network is a total waste of time. They either offer recipes that anyone could dream up or those stupid celeb recipes that require a hundred ingredients that probably no one will ever make. Paula Deen was the only good thing they had going for them. I hope they fail miserably.

  5. Charlie says:

    How about a show or episodes on pressure cooking challenges.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Why not have any of the competitors on YOUR show or any other cooking show try to cook in a kitchen with only equipment from 19545-1955? No bells and whistles but how we older people really did it and made great food!!! AND, coming from England I think it was only America that had fridges etc because UK was still getting over rationing and electricity was sparce at best in most areas. In 1985 when I came to America I had never seen a dishwasher in a house!!! My grandma and my mummy used our gardens and we made great food and we kept it fresh as long as we could and we never went hungry. To this day I never waste food and I cook every day to put a good wholesome meal on the table. Isn't that what it's about? Perhaps be very artful and throw people into a 17th Century kitchen and see what they do then with pidgeon and other fowl as well as needing to use spits for roasting pork etc.

    We are losing things in that every event has the biggest and best of everything. So imagine you live in a place like Afghanistand and have to work with the basics. I would love to see a chef do that without the ice-cream maker, the quick cooler, the pasta maker, the cuisinart etc etc. !!