Shooting the Breeze with Brian Boitano

By: Sommer

It’s 8:00a, and there is a Food Network crew setting up a photo shoot in (Olympic ice skater) Brian Boitano’s house, and he’s not home. What does Brian Boitano have to do with Food Network? Well, as it turns out, not only is Brian Boitano an Olympic athlete, he’s also an outstanding home cook and an entertainer extraordinaire.

Enter Joanne Harmon, Design Director for Food Network, or actually enter me, into Joanne’s office to chat about hanging out with the star of our newest show, What Would Brian Botaino Make. Here’s the skinny from casa de Boitano:

SOMMER: I am soooo jealous that you got to go to the Brian Boitano shoot. I know everyone in the Creative Services department was trying to figure out how to get to go. Especially after seeing him on camera, the buzz for the show inside of Food Network is insane. Where was it?

JOANNE: It was in his amazingly beautiful house in San Francisco. The show is shot in his actual house, since he entertains his friends a lot on the series. This is also why we did the photo shoot there, to capture the essence of the series.

S: Oooh, what was it like being inside of his place, was it strange?

J: No, we got there around 8:00 in the morning, and he let us (the crew and Creative Services FN reps) inside of his house, showed us around, and left to go train and workout. So, while he was gone, I set everything up for the photo shoot, using all his own wonderful textiles and ceramics. Like his gold embossed star decorated chargers (plates), star decorated napkin rings, and sunny yellow and orange tablecloths. He had so many wonderful place settings and things to choose from, you could tell that this is a man who clearly entertains. And on top of all that, his place overlooks the bay… it’s really breathtaking.

S: His home sounds gorgeous!

J: Well the view was beautiful. And it was surreal shooting with him, and seeing all of his medals and trophies walking through the house, because I used to be an ice skater–a really bad one, good at falling.

S: (laughs) No way?! Did you tell him that you used to skate?

J: Yep, we were talking and I said to him, “I have a confession, I used to ice skate.” And he was so kind, and asked me what level I got to. I told him that I actually used to ice dance, which is literally when you dance on the ice - waltzes, things of that nature.

S: So, wow, that’s so kind that he showed genuine interest, he’s sounds super down to earth.

J: Honestly, I would totally want to hang out with him as a friend. He knows the city very well, especially from a food perspective. He knows where to go to get the best ingredients, like the farmer’s market ( He let us spend the whole day shooting in his home, even though initially he didn’t have the whole day to give. But he was very gracious with his time and really opened his home, literally, to all of us–about 10 of us (total) and was completely casual. I was delightfully surprised at how into the shoot he was. He is just naturally very funny and made all of us feel comfortable in his house

S: Okay, lastly and most importantly to me, did he cook for you guys?

J: Well, he cooked specifically for the shoot, which is a very stop and start type of thing, so we didn’t get to try any of his food. I believe that he cooked a Caprese panini with mozzarella, tomato, basil. After getting to actual dialogue with him about food and layering flavors, I’d love to be invited to any dinner party and [would] eat anything he made because he really knows and loves food. What would Brian Boitano make? He’d make me something good to eat. (laughs)

S: I am totally stowing away next time. Or maybe it will just be easier to watch the show and pretend like I’m hanging out at his house.

J: Yeah, that’s probably less of a felony.
S: Too true.
Sommer, Creative Services