Thanks to food television pretty much exploding over the last ten years, you can hardly swing a frying pan without hitting a chef, restaurateur, mixologist, home cook, food truck owner, etc., appearing on a morning show this or a reality show that.
And although I can think of a certain hot-tempered Scottsdale chef whose national television debut didn't go quite as well as she may have planned, I wondered what other Valley chefs would say about the highlights and pitfalls of appearing on TV.
Here are some of their comments.
Joe Johnston, Owner, Joe's Real BBQ, Joe's Fresh Farm Grill, Liberty Market, Agritopia
It has great span and immediacy, which is hard to achieve elsewhere. Having appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, I can attest to the fact that it is "the gift that keeps on giving" (lots of re-runs). The only con is if you're not prepared for the inevitable surge in business, you'll end up alienating most of the people you could have converted to regulars.
Josh Hebert, Chef and Owner, Posh
The pro: exposure. The con: they typically want you there by about 7:30 a.m. which means you have to get up at 5:30 or 6 a.m. to prep. Most of us are just going to bed at that point. We just don't work those hours as chefs.
Gio Osso, Chef and Owner, Virtu
A pro of appearing on TV is that you're getting exposure to potential guests that you might not have reached any other way. You can show the passion and vision you have about your food that might not always come across in print. The cons are few in that not everyone is comfortable in front of a camera, especially live TV. It's really easy to get tongue-tied.
Bernie Kantak, Chef and Partner, Citizen Public House
Television is a great way to connect with the people who visit your establishment and introduces you to new guests every time you're on. The downside is it always seems to be at the last second on the day before multiple parties, events, etc. that they want you to come in -- so is life, I guess.
Aaron May, Chef and Restaurateur
Television is great for garnering attention to your business. The downside is that it also opens the door for anyone to nit pick their experience and how it measures up to their expectations. Overall it is a great medium, though.
Romeo Taus, Chef and Owner, Romeo's Cafe
Pros: 1.) Exposure to us as chefs and our restaurants, 2.) great spike in restaurant traffic for a period of time, and 3.) reinforced location, style, and culinary profile. Cons: 1.) Most chefs' passions are cooking, drinking, and eating -- not public speaking, 2.) culinary entertainment (in front of the camera) could be misunderstood, and 3.) more fluff than substance.
Bryan Dooley, Chef and Owner, Bryan's Black Mountain Barbecue
TV can be quite a bit of work, especially trying find the time to prep everything I need for the segment. I do really enjoy it though, and we always see a good spike in business after the show.
Guido Saccone, Chef and Partner, Cibo
The pro for television appearances is it's great exposure for the restaurant as far as showcasing our signature dishes.The con is that my Italian accent is very thick and they might have to use subtitles.
Chef Ben Mulé, Hidden Meadow Ranch (Greer)
At times when I have appeared on live television, Murphy's Law has come into play: The portable stove won't light or I forget to pack a key ingredient and have to explain to a live television audience what's missing in the dish. It's always a little nerve-wracking right before going on, but once the cameras start rolling I become as calm as I am in my own kitchen. Creating a dish that I've done a thousand times before really helps, too.
Chef Monte Healey, Del Frisco's Grille
Appearing on TV can be a bit tricky. Typically, you have the questions the host is going to ask ahead of time but sometimes they like to surprise you. You have to be ready for any questions they may ask and be quick on your feet. And don't forget, never look directly at the camera!
Chef Eric O'Neill, SmartKitchen.com
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TV offers good exposure of yourself and what product/company you are trying to market. But if you fumble and look unprepared, it could actually backfire and you could de-value yourself and the company. The times I have done it, I have enjoyed myself and I look forward to other opportunities to stand in front of the camera.
Chef Paul Steele, Phoenix Public Market Café
Pros: I like to share my cooking knowledge and show the general public how easy a recipe is to make at home. Cons: I feel silly when I see myself on air and I tend to analyze my cooking presentation and technique.