Behind-the-Scenes: Food Network Magazine Test Kitchen

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Photo By: Mark Peterson/Redux © Mark Peterson 2016

Keeping Cool

Multiple cooks prepare several dishes a day, so a standard fridge and freezer just won't do. Here, recipe tester Vivian Chan grabs supplies from the freezer for a snack recipe. There is also a walk-in refrigerator the size of a small office.

Photography by Mark Peterson

Taking Notes

In this photo, taken in May, Stephen is tweaking a stuffing recipe for the November issue. The kitchen generally works six months in advance, but developers create recipes a full year ahead for stories involving seasonal ingredients. (You can't find pumpkins in the spring!)

Required Reading

When staffers need inspiration, they turn to the kitchen's library of more than 5,000 cookbooks — including offbeat titles like "Mad About Mead!" and "Melon Garnishing."

A Lid for Every Pot

Recipe developers try to limit the number of pots and pans needed for each dish (two max for Weeknight Cooking recipes), but they keep more than 400 pieces of cookware on hand. Luckily, no one is stuck washing them all: Grimy pans go through an industrial dishwasher.

Spice Stash

A key part of the testing process is checking seasoning — super spicy dishes won't appeal to most readers. An entire closet is devoted to (alphabetized) spices, which go in clear labeled containers so staffers can easily tell the coriander from the cumin.

Waste Not

Vivian makes a celery soup for the third (and final) time. All food scraps go into a small compost bin, and they're collected several times a day. The kitchen tries to follow a zero-waste approach: Nearly everything is composted or recycled.

In the Pantry

A few recipes in each issue require specialty ingredients, but developers try to stick to items found in most supermarkets. Stocking the pantry and fridge is such a big job, Food Network has several dedicated grocery shoppers on staff.

Multiple Stations

Although each recipe developer has his or her own cooking station, "we're a very collaborative bunch," says Melissa Gaman (bottom right). "We work out recipe ideas together, and we try to spread out responsibilities so everyone gets to do different kinds of cooking."

Photo Finish

Before tasting each recipe, a staffer (here, intern Helen Munoz) snaps a picture of the dish against a white backdrop to send to the editors. This way, everyone knows what the dish should look like when it's remade at the magazine's photo shoot.

The Big Picture

The team puts photos of every tested recipe on the board so they can keep tabs on what dishes are running in an issue. "We want variety," says recipe developer Ginevra Iverson. "This board helps us avoid having eight Thai pork recipes in a month."

Time to Taste

The kitchen holds two tastings a day so staffers can share their work and crowd-source solutions for tricky recipes. Here (from left), Helen, Ginevra, Katherine and Melissa discuss fall dishes, including collard greens and turkey meatballs.

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