countless others, I enjoy the highly popular television cooking shows
and have gotten to know two celebrity chefs, Emeril Lagasse and Alton
Brown. Many other great chefs are not yet on television, but, after dining
and conversing with some of the best, I truly believe they want to be.
The stars of the television studio kitchen are hot items firmly embedded
in popular culture. The one superstar chef I had never met was Mr. Food,
the great on-screen personality who is unquestionably one of the pioneers
of television cooking.
I got lucky.
Through the good graces of Helayne Rosenblum, who is one of Mr. Foods
exceptionally talented executives, I spent a great day by the kitchen
stage while Mr. Food was taping one show after another for his television
empire that extends throughout America. Art Ginsburg, who is much better
known as Mr. Food, has been cooking for television since Julia Child was
preparing meals for her PBS black and white television audiences. Mr.
Food and Ms. Child are genuine groundbreakers. Todays television
chefs are their progeny.
Ginsburg created his role as Mr. Food in Troy, New York and early on found
a successful television formula that still works magic with more than
100 stations and an audience in the millions. We usually appear
in the morning and mid-day assegments in local news programs, he
told me while I was enjoying the chefs pasta entrée, a remarkably
delicious creation tossed with extra virgin olive oil, basil, brie and
tomatoes, and limit the program to 90 seconds, highlighting my preparation
and ingredients along with a good story. Ginsburg always ends with
his signature, Ooh, its so good! I wondered if this
was Emerils inspiration for his bam! and take
it up a notch?
Food is a self-sufficient, totally independent enterprise. Ginsburgs
company owns, produces, and directs everything. The shows are all videoed
by his staff with state of the art cameras, sound and light equipment
in a television kitchen studio he designed. Ginsburg has fashioned multiple
set backgrounds which allows for a variety of different looks. From top
to bottom, the operation, with the exception of television station distribution,
is under Ginsburgs supervision. King World, he revealed,
which handles Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, also does the distribution
for my programs.
who effortlessly combines charm with contagious enthusiasm, is the consummate
celebrity chef entrepreneur, offering his recipes, books and advice online
and through mail requests. He has authored enough cookbooks to fill a
library shelf, and one of his most popular contains recipes for diabetic
cooking. The recipes and cookbooks, Ginsburg said, are
more fun than you can imagine. They allow me to connect with people who
enjoy cooking and are also regular fans of my TV show.
more than just meals on the Mr. Food show. Regularly, segments feature
new kitchen gadgets (we did one on corkscrews), the weeks
best food buys, food terminology and handmade cheeses. I like to
answer viewer questions, Ginsburg explained, particularly
when I am able to direct the audience to new items on market shelves.
about Mr. Food is original. Unlike other TV chefs, he never uses nameless
bowls or cups of ingredients. There are bottles, cans and jars with familiar
labels on his counter. Heinz catsup and Hellmanns mayonnaise, for
example, are shown and used for areason.
I want my viewers to be able to duplicate what I make on the show,
and using products they have or can easily get is a real service,
he observed. Television cooking is intimate and requires making
great dishes with convenient ingredients. Theres no sin in convenience.
People appreciate anything that saves them time and money.
Mr. Food takes his show on the road and has a thirty-minute special in
Colonial Williamsburg scheduled for the upcoming holiday season. He is
planning other on location shows in Memphis, possibly at Graceland. Mr.
Food is now part of the American cultural landscape and even after decades
in the limelight is reaching an ever-expanding audience. I get about
12 million hits on our website each year and receive around two million
requests for recipes.
there any thought of retirement? My family works here with me. We
are a close-knit unit. We brainstorm new ideas to keep the television
programs fresh and entertaining. Its work, but its great fun
and brings joy to millions each week. Why would I want to ever stop doing
what I truly love?
More exceptional Chefs
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