When you turn on the television and inevitably flip to the Food Network, everything seems perfect. The food is perfect, the hosts are perfect, and the lighting is… perfect. To make everything look so good, a lot of work happens behind the scenes. The producers, chefs, and food stylists rarely get credit for the finished product you’re binging. We’re looking to change that! These are the faces behind the scenes at Food Network, and you won’t believe the drama it can take to make Beat Bobby Flay run without a hitch!
Giada De Laurentiis Is Dating Rachel Ray’s Producer
In 2015, Giada De Laurentiis divorced Todd Thompson. The couple had been married since 2003 and has one child together. That same year, she announced she was in a relationship with The Rachel Ray Show producer Shane Farley.
When asked about his famous girlfriend by People, Farley gushed, “Giada is one of the most positive people I have ever met. She is warm and absolutely beautiful—what you see on the outside is there on the inside as well.” Alongside his talk show responsibilities, Farley also produced The Hungry Games.
Katie Lee Married Her Producer
Katie Lee is one of the most popular chefs on the Food Network. She’s a constant contributor on Beat Bobby Flay, a regular on The Kitchen, and the star of her own show called Beach Bites.
Shane Biegel was a producer on Beach Bites before falling head over heels for the food-loving hostess. In 2018, the television star and her producing prince tied the knot, saying “I do” in front of family and friends on the Amalfi Coast.
David Hoffman Didn’t Get the Credit He Deserved
David Hoffman worked behind the scenes at Food Network on the show The Best Thing I Ever Ate. When the show became a hit, the network wanted spin-offs and ended up launching Guilty Pleasures and Top 5 Restaurants.
Hoffman claimed he didn’t get credit for helping develop the shows, and sued Food Network production partner Authentic Entertainment in 2017. In his suit, Hoffman claimed to have developed a show the network passed on, which became Guilty Pleasures. His version was called The Meal That Changed My Life, and now he wants credit where he feels credit is due.
Michelle Obama Changed One Producer’s Life
Jill Littman has produced a lot of television for the Food Network, but none of her experiences compare to the time Michelle Obama surprised her on set. Littman was producing an episode of Restaurant Impossible at the time when the former First Lady showed up.
Littman said, “She was literally amazing. The Secret Service was like, ‘She’s going to stay for one hour,’ and then she ended up staying for three hours. She was just a doll, so sweet to everyone on the crew and the kids.”
Danielle LaRosa Brings Culinary Shows to Life
Danielle LaRosa’s title at the Food Network is “Culinary Producer.” Without her, shows like Brunch At Bobby’s would be impossible to make. Before a show can start shooting, LaRosa is working behind the scenes with food stylists to make sure all the food is perfect.
The “money shot” on the shows LaRosa works on are the close-ups of the food, and those images need to be perfect. That means that LaRosa makes sure there is a version of the dish being made on camera that is “camera friendly,” mouth-watering, and ready for its close-up!
David Mechlowicz Is the Competition Guru
Have you ever watched Chopped and wondered how they get all of their mystery ingredients? The answer is that producers like David Mechlowicz work tirelessly to make those “mystery ingredients” as confusing as possible for the contestants.
Moreover, Mechlowicz also works on “in-the-kitchen” programming as well as digital programming for the Food Network. Just don’t ask him to work with canned tuna fish. In his Food Network bio, he makes it clear it’s the one thing he refuses to eat.
Ginevra Iverson Knows All the Recipes
Ginevra Iverson has a special job behind the scenes at Food Network. She helps come up with the recipes that your favorite chefs claim as their own. She’s fine not getting the credit, though, as her creativity still shines though in her dishes.
The first dish Iverson ever learned to make was potato gnocchi with homemade tomato sauce. Since then, she has become an encyclopedia of food knowledge that she’s ready to unleash on Food Network stars at any moment.
Jacob Schiffman Knows Where the Money Goes
The Food Network kitchen would not function without the work of Jacob Schiffman. Known as the network’s Culinary Purchasing Manager, he’s responsible for making sure the kitchen is stocked with the highest quality ingredients and the best utensils.
Schiffman’s love for food is only matched by his love for cinema. His favorite food-related movie scene is, “The opening scene of The Big Lebowski when ‘The Dude’ is walking through the supermarket dairy aisle and physically opens a milk carton to smell if it has gone bad. That always gives me a good laugh.”
Jenny Bierman Can Track Down Any Ingredient
If you didn’t know that your favorite holiday cooking shows aren’t actually filmed around the holiday season, now you do. That complication is what makes Jenny Bierman’s job so important. In her own words, “I do anything from figuring out how to film a cooking show with no stove, finding 14-pound turkeys in August.”
Oddly enough, Bierman has one ingredient she absolutely hates; melted cheese. She says she has textural issue with the addictive dairy product. Should the Food Network still trust her?
Jill Novatt Is Obsessed With Food
If there is one truth in the universe it’s this; we can’t keep our minds off our next meal. Jill Novatt has accepted this and openly admits, “I think about food all day long.” It’s a good thing she works for Food Network as a Director of Culinary Production, then!
Like David Hoffman, Novatt refuses to eat canned tuna. Unlike Hoffman, her hate for the dry fish product goes further, “I don’t even allow people to eat it around me.”
Loan Nguyen Steers the Ship
Loan Nguyen is the Department Coordinator at Food Network and makes it her priority to “keep the ship running.” During the day she’s responsible for the smooth running of all administrative functions. At night, she eats her favorite foods.
Nguyen’s least favorite food might surprise you, however. In an interview, she revealed that she hates Sriracha. Since becoming a staple condiment at every restaurant, we thought everyone liked Sriracha. We can also confirm that she loves ketchup, which is her self-proclaimed favorite condiment.
Leah Brickley Keeps Things Healthy
As the Food Network’s resident recipe liaison and nutritionist, Leah Brickley is responsible for “researching, cooking, tasting, enjoying, evaluating and talking about food.” She also maintains a blog on the side about healthy eating that dives into the nutritional analysis.
The first dish that Brickley learned to make will surprise you if you follow her blog; tuna noodle casserole. She first made the dish “under supervision” and has made it by herself ever since. Hopefully, she has found ways to make the guilty pleasure more pleasing for our waists!
Lygeia Grace Edits the Recipes so You Don’t Have To
Lygeia Grace has a pretty important role to play at the Food Network. As she puts it, “I make sure all the hundreds of recipes connected with our amazing shows, videos, and social posts are edited and make sense for the home viewer.”
When she’s not at work she stays in the kitchen learning new recipes. She admits her current obsession is learning how to make maraschino cherries because they’re a perfect compliment to her favorite drink; a rye-based Manhattan.
Mary Beth Bray Is a Master Researcher
When asked what she does daily at Food Network, Mary Beth Bray said, “Think about food, taste food, write recipe breakdowns, research food and do anything that relates to food.” How do we get this job?
Growing up, Beth Bray idolized Julia Child. She also kept a notebook where she would write down recipes from culinary school. Her homemade cookbook is still her go-to for making simple recipes with a lot of flavor like soups and stews.
Melissa Gaman Spends All Day Eating
Melissa Gaman might have the best job at the Food Network being a recipe developer. Most of her days are spent cooking, then eating what she cooks, and finally deciding whether that dish should be shown on air.
Gaman also writes down her winning recipes in the simplest ways possible so the audience can make the food at home. Sadly, there is one delicacy Gaman cannot cook with; scallops. She’s allergic to the deliciously delicate mollusk.
Miriam Garron Does a Little Bit of Everything
Make no mistake, Miriam Garron is a sous chef in name only. In reality, she does a little bit of everything for the Food Network, including producing their shows. There might not be someone in the kitchen who is busier!
After work, Garron likes to laugh. One of her favorite movies is The Nutty Professor, which includes her favorite food scene of all-time; the infamous Hercules dinner cheer. And if she wasn’t working in food, she says she would have become a journalist.
Richmond Flores Knows the Plan
Working as a food stylist is a dream come true for Richard Flores. Helping plan and execute various projects in a fast-paced environment is a perfect way for him to test his stylist techniques.
As we’ve said before, the most important shot in any food show is the close-up of the finished product. Without hard workers like Flores in the kitchen, those mouth-watering shots of food would become mouth-drying, and no one wants that.
Robert Bleifer Is Your Kitchen Commander
At Food Network, Robert Bleifer runs the kitchen as the executive chef. He works to get food prepped for over 15 shows, and caters events in the kitchen, too. We don’t think he ever sleeps.
The first dish Bleifer ever learned to cook was brownies. He didn’t say what kind, but we’re betting on chocolate. Baking is a great way to get started in the kitchen since every measurement needs to be exact. Learning that kind of discipline likely helped train Bleifer to become the top chef that he has become.
Stephen Jackson Is All About the Pictures
Stephen Jackson has one job at the Food Network, and that job is to develop the recipes that get put into Food Network Magazine. He lives his life in pictures and isn’t a picky eater.
When asked if there was anything he wouldn’t eat, this was his response, “Maybe calf’s liver, but I’m good with most anything.” When he’s in the kitchen experimenting with every ingredient possible, he enjoys listening to old school punk rock like The Clash.
Suzanne Flood Keeps the Budget In Check
Suzanne Flood is tasked with keeping the budget in check at Food Network. There’s never a dollar unaccounted for when she starts tracking and overseeing all culinary expenses for the network’s current crop of shows.
Life could have been very different for Flood if she hadn’t chosen to follow her foodie dreams. In a revealing interview, Flood said that she would probably have gone after a career in marine biology if her current path hadn’t worked out.