Chefs Answer, "What's the Job of a Food Network Star?"
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Photo By: John Lee ©2011, Television Food Network, G.P.
Photo By: Scott Gries ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.
Photo By: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved
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Photo By: Jeremiah Alley ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.
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Expect to work incredibly hard, much harder than you've ever worked in your life. Expect to have to keep grooming yourself. Like, when you're working in a kitchen, you're kind of like, “Eh, I don't feel like shaving my head today” or whatever. You can kind of go in and, you know, you're sort of scruffy. Totally fine. Not when you're on TV, man. … They're like, “Hey, you have to shave today.” And when I'm judging on Holiday Baking Championship, there's actually a Duff Scruff Guide, so if my beard is darker than the Scruff Guide, I have to shave it.
Watch out what you wish for.
It’s a lot of work. It’s a job, though, and I think that that’s the thing that sometimes gets missed — is that it is a job, and it’s not just this glamorous moment. You know, it’s fun to be on TV, it’s fun to be able to talk to people, sort of all over the place, but ultimately it’s one of those things where you have to, like, be on time, be a professional, do your job, treat the people around you really well. Just all the things you would do with any other job. Just because it’s on TV doesn’t change that.
Giada De Laurentiis
Like every job, it sounds exciting at first, and then you realize, oh wow, this is a lot of work. I mean, I think a lot of people … well, it’s getting better now, but for a long time people were like, “I can do that. That’s easy. So simple. I can cook and talk. It’s no big deal.” And then they get up there and they realize, “Oh my gosh, this is really complicated.” There’s a lot to remember and a lot to do, and it’s a tough job, and connecting with audiences is tough. And it’s even tougher when you don’t have an audience out there and you’re making up this whole song and dance in front of the camera, and you’re not acting somebody, you’re not pretending to be someone else. It’s not like being an actor, where you can sort of have your motivation. You are your own motivation. Your recipe is your own motivation. So, it’s a job that makes you dig deeper into who you are and the pit of who you are and what makes you who you are, [more] than, I think, a lot of jobs out there.
That’s when the real work begins. You’re fighting to get to the starting line.
For me, winning Food Network Star really forced me to go: "OK, what are my priorities here? What do I want to do with my — because you never know — 15 minutes?" You just never know how long it's going to last, right? So it really makes you think — apart from, like, I want to build my empire and I want to have a spice line and I want to blah, blah, blah — like, what do you want to use your time in the spotlight for? And it's got to be something beyond yourself, or else it's just too self-consuming.
It's the most-special thing that there is. I'm so grateful every single day for Real Girl's Kitchen. I say this all the time, but I, like, still pinch myself that I'm, like, going into a third season of a show on Cooking Channel. When I started my food blog, I never in a million years thought that I would be in this position or doing all of this. It's just the most creative and fulfilling experience.
It really does always come back to being yourself, and I wish there was a more eloquent way to put it.
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