From Scratch: Inside the Food Network

From Scratch: Inside the Food Network

Allen Salkin

Language: English

Pages: 448

ISBN: 0399159320

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

An Entertainment Weekly Best Tell-All of 2013!

“Allen Salkin shows how the sausage really gets made at the Food Network in From Scratch, a behind-the-scenes history liberally spiced with gossip and unsavory tidbits.”—Entertainment Weekly

“A detailed look at the network from start-up phase to the present, with a generous lump of juicy stories about the network’s most polarizing figures—Guy Fieri, Bobby Flay, Anthony Bourdain and, of course, Paula Deen y’all—heaped on top.”—The Atlantic Wire

Big personalities, high drama—the extraordinary behind-the-scenes story of the Food Network, now about to celebrate its twentieth anniversary: the business, media, and cultural juggernaut that changed the way America thinks about food.

In October 1993, a tiny start-up called the Food Network debuted to little notice. Twenty years later, it is in 100 million homes, approaches a billion dollars a year in revenue, and features a galaxy of stars whose faces and names are as familiar to us as our own family’s.

But what we don’t know about them, and the people behind them, could fill a book.

Based upon extensive inside access, documents, and interviews with hundreds of executives, stars, and employees all up and down the ladder, Allen Salkin’s book is an exhilarating roller-coaster ride from chaos to conquest (and sometimes back). As Salkin takes us inside the conference rooms, studios, homes, restaurants, and after-hours meetings, we see a salty Julia Child lording it over the early network performers; a fragile Emeril Lagasse staggering from the sudden public shock of cancellation; a very green Rachael Ray nearly burning down the set on her first day; a torn Tyler Florence accepting the Applebee’s job he knows he can’t refuse, but with a chill running down his spine; a determined Bobby Flay reinventing himself once again to survive.

Paula Deen, Tom Colicchio, Anthony Bourdain, Mario Batali, Jamie Oliver, Martha Stewart, Guy Fieri, Cat Cora: Salkin illuminates the people we thought we knew, and the ones we never knew about, in this irresistible story of the intersection between business, television, pop culture, food—and us.

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stepmother were both kung fu champions and teachers. He was raised in Germany and spent long hours training in martial arts and attending tournaments. As a boy, he’d seen a kung fu movie in which powerful fighting monks defended a small village, and he developed a fantasy that he could become a warrior monk who would be a gardener and teach philosophy and history to children. Before Bruce cast him, Mark had found work in a few martial arts movies but little else. Brooke asked Bobby Flay to

cuisine. Food Network had helped him get where he was, and he liked where he was. The network called back soon after and asked if Mario would continue to appear on Iron Chef America. This was a place his strong personality and fame still worked on the network, and he enjoyed the competition. He, Ladner, and Anne won a lot more than they lost. If he could have fun appealing to college kids, then okay. He said he would. — Ever hungry for more studies that could help her hone the

took what revenge he could, insisting that the festival’s public relations director keep him away from reporters. But Guy hadn’t heard the worst of it. On November 13, New York Times critic Pete Wells wrote what some have called the worst restaurant review in the paper’s history. The entire review was a series of scathing questions to Guy, among them: “Were you struck by how very far from awesome the Awesome Pretzel Chicken Tenders are?” and “Any idea why [that blue drink] tastes like some

universe often. Emeril had opened food to an entirely new demographic, men who cared about good food. The most obvious way to stem the production chaos was to let Darlene go, which Eileen did after the first season. She then called a television producer she had known for years, Karen Katz, the former director of original programming at Lifetime. Karen’s dream was to produce quality documentaries, like the ones she had overseen at Lifetime on AIDS and child labor abuses. When Eileen explained

was unavailable. Shortly after Eric knew he was going to replace Erica Gruen, but before anyone at Food had been told, he got off the phone after jousting with Matt, turned to a colleague, and said, “I’m gonna fire Matthew my first day. I’m just going to walk in there, stride over to Matthew, and say, ‘Matthew, I don’t even want to bring you to my office. I’m just firing you right here. Just for being an asshole.’” But by the time Eric took the job, he had a slight change of heart. He

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