Tag: Food Network (Page 1 of 9)

5 questions with Tom Pizzica of Food Network’s Outrageous Food

Photo courtesy of Food Network

Even though he finished as one of the runners-up in this season’s “Next Food Network Star” to Aarti Sequeira, Tom Pizzica knew he had the talent to have his own show, anyway. So did yours truly, because Pizzica has a Guy Fieri-like charisma about him. He also took more chances on the show than anyone I’d seen before, and it’s hard not to respect him for that.

Well, sure enough, Pizzica did get offered his own show on Food Network, and “Outrageous Food” airs this Friday at 10pm ET/PT. The show is about Pizzica being “on a quest to unearth the most jaw-dropping, eye-popping, occasionally heart-stopping foods in the country – dishes that give “outrageous” a whole new meaning.”

We had the opportunity to ask Pizzica a few questions about his upcoming show:

Premium Hollywood: How soon after you came in second place on “Next Food Network Star” did they contact you about having your own show anyway?

Tom Pizzica: I started shooting “Outrageous Food” shortly after “The Next Food Network Star” finished airing. Aarti’s show was already on and doing very well, and the network decided to move forward with me on this great new project.

PH: The premise of this show is awesome. How much hand do you have in selecting venues and episodes?

TP: The selection of locations is a collaboration between Food Network, Page Productions (my production company, who also produced “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives”), and me. There are many outrageous places to highlight across the country, and this season features a great group. I am excited about all of them!

PH: What has been the craziest outrageous food episode so far and why?

TP: There have been so many categories of outrageous food on this season, it’s hard to pick just one. A few that stand out: Outlaw Catering, the 105-pound burger, and the $175 burger at Wall Street Burger Shoppe.

PH: I feel like you may wind up as the networks’ next Guy Fieri. I’m sure a lot of folks agree with me. What goals do you have personally?

TP: My goal is to see “Outrageous Food” go on for many more seasons and hopefully even have other shows on Food Network. This is such a great opportunity, and I am thrilled to have it!

PH: Tell us in a couple of sentences why folks should watch this new show and what they can expect.

TP: “Outrageous Food” will blow your mind – it’s the craziest food I have ever seen. You will meet engaging and entertaining characters at each location; it’s going to be mayhem!

“Outrageous Food” airs this coming Friday, November 5 at 10pm ET/PT on Food Network.

5 questions with Amanda Freitag from “Chopped”

We have secured another interview with a judge from Food Network’s hit show, “Chopped.” Amanda Freitag, who is a frequent judge on the show, is one of the judges for the current round of “Chopped Champions,” which began last Tuesday. The show, which pits winners of the regular show from the past few seasons, continues tonight and the five-week event concludes September 28 with a finale of the previous four winners. Anyway, here is our chat with Amanda Freitag:

Premium Hollywood: So what did you notice about the level of skill from the chefs in the “Chopped Champions” round as opposed to just the show “Chopped?”

Amanda Freitag: I noticed that the food was much more complex and the flavors were at a higher level.

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The Next Food Network Star: an interview with Susie Fogelson and Aarti Sequeira

Last week we had the pleasure of taking part in a conference call announcing and celebrating the winner of “The Next Food Network Star,” Aarti Sequeira, and also with long-time show judge Susie Fogelson. We got to ask two questions to each of them, but full disclosure–this is the full transcript as sent to us by the Food Network’s PR firm. We thought you’d find reading the entire interview(s) to be most interesting. Thanks and enjoy!

Q: How well do you think Aarti’s Indian influence of American dishes will go over with the viewer?

Susie: I think people are really curious about this cuisine you know, I think it’s a really hot time which obviously from a marketing stand point was what one of the things that was appealing about Aarti to me. But I think Aarti has the credibility with this cuisine with these flavor profiles but she’s sorta of Americanized enough to figure out how to bring those flavors to foods. That’s what I heard her just mentioning Indian flavors to American food, and I think that’s the right order of operations potentially for a new audience to try new flavors. So, I am hoping that it goes over really big.

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The Next Food Network Star: tipped off?

During this week’s episode of “The Next Food Network Star,” we may have been tipped off about who would be eliminated this week before they were eliminated. But more on that later.

The Final Four made it to New York City, where they would be duking it out for real to see who would have their own show on Food Network. The finalists? Aarti, Aria, Tom and Herb. And this week they would be battling Iron Chef-style. Alton Brown was waiting for them, as well as Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, Michael Symon and Masaharu Morimoto. They would be competing in groups of two, making three dishes each based on the secret ingredient. When they weren’t competing they would be floor commentators ala Kevin Brasch.

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An interview with Beth Schiff/Chopped casting director

The Food Network’s “Chopped” is one of the network’s best shows. I posted something about the show last summer regarding the judges and how harsh they were, but they have since lightened up, or seem to have done so. The show keeps getting better and better, too, and part of the reason for that is the excellent casting. Lucky for us, we had the privilege to speak to the show’s casting director, Beth Schiff, about how the process works in choosing contestants for “Chopped,” and some other burning questions you may or may not have when watching this awesome show.

Premium Hollywood: How did you get involved with Chopped and what did you do before this?

Beth Schiff: I have been involved with “Chopped” since the first season. I have been casting for over 14 years. I started in commercials and industrial films, which I still do, but recently I have been working on mostly cable TV projects.

PH: How does the decision process work from application to audition to show taping?

BS: There are always so many factors that go into casting–gender, age, skill (if applicable), appearance, personality, geography, availability–just to name a few. For “Chopped,” it’s a videotaped interview that is submiited to the producers at the production company, and then to the Food Network for approval.

PH: What are the key things you look for in a contestant?

BS: Skill and personality. Can you make something out of nothing and have fun doing it? Can you make a $10,000 meal out of our mystery baskets? And why should the Food Network choose you?

PH: Have you ever been surprised, either pleasantly or unpleasantly, at the choice of a contestant after the show had been taped?

BS: There have been a few contestants that I thought would not do that well that have won, and others where I thought they would kick ass and went out in the first round. It’s a game. It’s anybody’s game. So skill is important, but strategy and focus are key.

PH: Do you also choose the judges and/or how does that process work?

BS: Judges are chosen by the Food Network. I do sometimes cast guest judges, who are usually New York restauranteurs.

PH: Can we expect anything new or exciting for future seasons of Chopped?

BS: We are really thinking creatively — fun holiday episodes, and chefs with various backgrounds, championship rounds. Stay tuned!

Chefs, or chef reps, here is what Beth is looking for in casting for the show: “I am seeking competitive passionate skilled chefs, in specific geographic areas – NY Tri State area, Boston, Philly, DC and Atlanta and Chicago. All must lie within about 50 miles from the city center. You must be available for a one day shoot/competition in our studios in NYC sometime in September, October or November. All chefs must fill out the application online at choppedcasting.com

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