Chatting With Food Network Star’s Susie Fogelson

by in Interviews, Judges, May 9, 2013

Susie FogelsonFor 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 Susie, senior vice president, marketing, creative services & brand strategy, then read an exclusive interview with Bob.

Tell us a bit about what you do. What does a typical day look like for you?
Susie: Busy! I have the best team in the business, but it takes a lot of meetings, brainstorming and work sessions to keep this ship sailing. We’re all pretty much nonstop from the minute we get into the office, but we also all manage to have a good work/life balance, which is the most important thing.

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?
SF: Yes, my family recently moved to a new apartment in Brooklyn with a lovely, open kitchen, and we use dinnertime as family time. Cooking is a great relaxing way to unwind at the end of the day, have some fun with my kids and do something healthy for my family.

What's your favorite type of cuisine, whether to cook or eat out?
SF: I’m from Los Angeles, and you just can’t beat the delicious authentic Mexican food I grew up eating as a kid. As a result, I’m a sucker for fresh, crunchy flavors like tortillas, salads, fish tacos and anything in a wrap.

Do you have a favorite Food Network recipe?
SF: Anything by Giada — my family loves her recipes.

What was your most-memorable meal? What, where, with who — details, please!
SF: My husband and I love Blue Ribbon in Brooklyn; they have amazing Kumamoto oysters that they shuck right in the front of the restaurant. We like to sit at the bar, have oysters and sip on their delicious ginger martinis. It’s the perfect night out!

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?
SF: I think so, yes. You can usually spot that glimmer in someone’s eyes that indicates they’ve got something special, some wildly creative or unique perspective that makes them stand out. But you also have to keep in mind that some people are like fine wine and they need time to ripen. Those are the folks that can surprise you, and it’s worth being open-minded and patient and wait for them to reveal themselves during the process.

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?
SF: That you need to have an open mind because there are so many different ways to partner with talent and so many avenues to pursue. Oddly enough, I find that someone with a very distinct and strong point of view is often the person that reaches the most audiences. In this fragmented media landscape, a specific point of view is really attractive and important.

Has there ever been an instance when you and Bob 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?
SF: Of course. It happens every season! It’s just not normal for five people to agree on everything, and I think that’s one of the things that makes the show feel interesting and real. There’s no one way to resolve a disagreement — usually it comes down to everyone passionately pleading their case until we come up with a resolution that feels right. There’s a bit of lawyering involved.

Fill in the blanks: A Food Network star must be ________, must enjoy ________ and must be able to ________.

SF: Must be one of a kind and effusive, must enjoy food and people, and must be able to be consistent yet creative.

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Comments (21)

  1. [...] For 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. [...]

  2. Hopeful says:

    The Positives:
    Effusive is a good quality in a Star.
    It's also nice when we watch a contender and clearly see that twinkle or when we get that obvious feeling that He or She has--got it! I agree.
    It's also a positive thing on the judges part to be open-minded enough to realize that some cooks bloom like a flower. This is a good thing, too. We have been surprised in past seasons. We have also seen people who were strong right out of the gate and consistent.
    A concern I do have:
    While it is good to have a point of view, specialty, or focus is that it rapidly becomes an iron straight-jacket and that as soon as a cook dares to go beyond their specialty or show some range of skill, they are pounced on about not being true to their roots or point of view. Sadly, we've seen this happen in past seasons. Consider this: Who is a better carpenter, someone who is very skilled at putting in a window (but that's about it) or someone who can expertly lay a floor, put on a roof, do wiring, and make custom kitchen cabinets? The one who can do-it-all and do it superbly wins! Why should cooking be any different? For example:Who says a Mexican cook cant also make top-notch desserts. Please don't let point-of-view become a confining prison.

  3. ElvisLives says:

    Will there be coaching this year?
    last year, Bobby, Giada and Alton all coached and gave 1-on-1 advice to the people on their teams. I was glad to see that. But whether there will be or wont be this year, in the spirit of: there's-more-than-one-way-to-skin-a-cat, or cook a great meal, I really hope the judges will let the competitors be themselves. By that, I mean: if someone makes an Italian dish any different from how Giada might fix it, or a southwest dish any different from how Bobby would have done it, that it isn't automatically "wrong." As long as it tastes great, who cares? After all, I'm sure Giada does her own thing and its still wonderful, even if her Mom woulda done it differently. Something to think about.

  4. guest says:

    Hurray! The Videos are up. See who's who.
    Thank you Food Network. http://www.foodnetwork.com/the-next-food-network-...

  5. girloftheworld says:

    Looking forward to it. Literallllllly have grown up with this show. and have seen changes. Some good some bad.

  6. Terrence says:

    I didn't like the pitch room. They can leave that out this time.

  7. Jancap7 says:

    Please please please why don't these execs have the women pull their hair back. It's all flying around in the food. Every food show is guilty of this.. Where are bob and Susie on this?

  8. Ray says:

    I see Susie, who didn't personally care for last season's Emily Ellyn , took note of the viewers feedback, and cast Stacy in the ROLE of Emily Ellyn for this seasons show. Really? Stacy says her POV is taking vintage and making it Modern. Hmm Where did we hear that before- Retro Rad maybe? Is Stacy's POV authentic, or scripted?

  9. Lindamelinda says:

    I am sad to see FN stoop to the level of other reality shows by keeping Danushka, who by the way, was in the bottom 3 for 2 weeks. You will never admit you are keeping her for the drama affect. But judging by comments elsewhere you have insulted your fan bases' integrity by thinking we would want to watch a show hosted by the likes of her. She has no personality whatsoever and is as boring as a rock! I have been a fan on FN for 20+ years, but have lost alot of respect....very disappointed!! As a footnote, I saw her the first time when she was on chopped and couldnt stand her narcissistic, stuck up demeanor then either!