"I'm Pretty Sure I'll Never Forget It" — Katie Lee's Live-TV War Story, Plus How to Share the Spotlight and Multitask

Hear from Katie as she shares the secret to an ensemble show and reflects on a memorable moment on live TV.
Katie Lee on Food Network Star

Guest judge Katie Lee, during the Star Challenge, Summer Live, as seen on Food Network Star, Season 11.

Photo by: Eddy Chen ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Eddy Chen, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

The name of the game was live TV on Sunday night's episode of Food Network Star, from a quick demo with Catherine McCord to an ensemble live television special — Summer Live — a la The Kitchen. Katie Lee and Jeff Mauro, both veterans of The Kitchen and no strangers to live productions, stopped by to judge the final four competitors as they tackled their Summer Live segments, offering them advice and been-there knowledge on how to deliver a succinct, engaging presentation. Star Talk caught up with Katie on set to find out more about how she approaches the shared segments on The Kitchen, plus her tips for multitasking in the kitchen, both at the stove with the camera and with her co-hosts. Read on below to hear from Katie, and learn what one live-TV snafu she'll "never forget."

What’s it like to share the spotlight?

Katie Lee: I don’t ever think of it as one person being in the spotlight. We really are a collaborative group, and I think that when one of us looks good, we all look good. So it’s about lifting each other up and having a good time. There are definitely moments where you have to take control, like if you’re doing the demo; then it becomes yours because it’s your recipe, but it’s still about interacting with each other, and with our audience and viewers.

Did it take the five of you long to find your groove when you first started filming The Kitchen?

KL: One of our biggest challenges when we first started was talking over each other, because it’s a natural way to speak. You know, if you’re at a dinner party, everybody’s talking over each other, and it’s just the way that people naturally talk. So, we really had to learn how to let the other person speak and naturally interject without talking over.

What’s the secret to multitasking on camera, like when it comes time to demo your recipe?

KL: It takes a lot of practice. It is something you have to learn how to do, and I just think the more you do it, the more comfortable you become. It used to be something I had to really think about, and now it just kind of comes second nature. I would recommend for anybody who wants to practice that skill to just have their friends sit on counter stools in their kitchen and talk to them the whole time you cook, whether you’re talking about what you’re making or just talking in general.

Do you have any crazy stories from your past live TV segments?

KL: Yes! When I was working on The Early Show, I had a recipe that used a mandoline, and Harry Smith, the anchor of The Early Show, sliced his finger nearly off during our segment on the mandoline. And it was live! And at first I thought he was joking, and then I looked and saw blood everywhere, and I thought, “Do I stop the segment? Or do I keep making my salad? I’m not really sure what to do.” And another anchor stepped in and I just kept making my salad. Yeah, that was really an interesting live moment. I’m pretty sure I’ll never forget it.

This week each finalist had to prepare some version of a summertime recipe. What are a few of your favorite dishes to entertain with this time of year?

KL: Summer entertaining — it’s a must to have plenty of rosé! You have to have a good amount of alcohol. That certainly is key. For staple dishes, I really like things that I can make ahead, store in the refrigerator and that can come out and be served at room temperature. I always think cool dishes for hot summer nights, so I make a lot of quinoa salads that go in the fridge. Or I’ll grill a bunch of vegetables and make a grilled vegetable salad, then just pull it out when it’s time to eat. And the great thing about summer is the produce is so good, you don’t have to do much to it. Slice up a beautiful tomato, sprinkle it with flaky sea salt and drizzle it with olive oil — that’s a good side dish. Steam some corn and melt basil butter over it, and you’re done.