From the Network's Point of View: Susie Fogelson on 11 Seasons of Star Power and Culinary POVs

Susie Fogelson dishes on working on the Selection Committee with Bob, and she shares her take on the all-important culinary POV for finalists.
Susie Fogelson

The Network's Susie Fogelson at the Star Challenge "Impressing the Network and FN Fans" as seen on Food Network Star, Season 9.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Much like Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, Bob Tuschman and Susie Fogelson are no strangers to the inner workings of Food Network Star. These Food Network executives know well what to look for as they discern glimmers of Star power among the hopefuls, and each year it's up to them to sit with the mentors on the Selection Committee and represent the network as it recruits its newest personality. Just in time for next weekend's Season 11 premiere, on Sunday, June 7 at 9|8c, Star Talk chatted with both Bob and Susie to learn more about what their roles at Food Network look like beyond the Selection Committee and get their takes on what skills contestants ought to have before beginning this ultimate job interview.

Read on below to get the dish from Susie and learn her take on the all-important culinary POV, then click here for an exclusive interview with Bob.

Tell us about what you do. What does a typical day look like for you?

Susie Fogelson: I’m a pretty typical working mom. My goal every morning is to have my kids (and myself) fed, dressed and out the door by 8:30 a.m. We’re successful most of the time. I drop them off at school and then go to our lovely office in the Chelsea Market, where I’m typically in meetings from the moment I arrive until it’s time to go home and have dinner with my family. It’s a hectic, whirlwind of a schedule, but I love what I do.

What's the best part of your job as Selection Committee member with Bob?

SF: It’s funny, Bob’s office is so close to mine, but we’re so busy we rarely see each other more than a couple of times a week. So the best part of being on the show with Bob is having the pleasure of his company all day, every day.

Aside from stellar camera skills and solid cooking chops, what are three skills you think a Food Network Star must have before beginning this journey?

SF: Confidence, passion, and the ability to think and move fast on his or her feet.

How do you think the series has evolved from its earliest days?

SF: I think Food Network Star’s been pretty successful because there’s been a consistent strategy all these years; the bones have remained the same. What has evolved is the caliber of the contestants. As food TV has exploded, the contestants have become more sophisticated, and they keep getting better and better.

Culinary POV — it's an oft-mentioned term on this show, and for good reason. Why is it so crucial that each finalist has one, and a strong one at that?

SF: Your culinary point of view is another way of saying what makes you unique as a brand. It’s knowing what you’re truly passionate about, what you’re good at and what you can do that no one else can in quite the same way. As a brand, there’s a promise made to consistently deliver excellence at what you do. If you’re truly passionate, if it’s in your DNA, the audience will pick up on that.

So much is made of all things a finalist must do to be successful in this job. But what about the things they should be sure not to do?

SF: Over-rehearsing is the biggest one. It’s best to come in organized and prepared but not memorized. If you’re too rehearsed, you’ll lack that spark that comes with spontaneity. I’d also recommend not wearing high heels in the kitchen — just seems dangerous!

All these years later, what's been your greatest lesson learned about what it takes to find a Food Network Star?

SF: Having a winning personality is great, but what’s truly important is having a depth of knowledge and a curiosity about food. It’s always compelling to watch people who are fascinated by what they do.

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