Food Network Cooks Up the Recipe for the Perfect App

By TV / Video Download Archives
Cover image for  article: Food Network Cooks Up the Recipe for the Perfect App

Food Network's app, Food Network Kitchen, is a home cook’s dream.  Unsure of what to do?  No worries.  Professional chefs answer urgent questions, advising as if they were chopping and sautéing together.  Taking on a complicated recipe?  No big deal.  The pros offer advice and guidance on what ingredients are needed, and which pots and tools work best, and make it possible for anyone to plan ahead based on the expected time for each step.  

These days celebrity chefs always come off as accessible, but now they truly are, courtesy of FNK.  Bobby Flay talks about why to break eggs into a glass first.  Marc Murphy shrugs off that he, too, burns pignoli nuts.  Both statements reveal what happens in kitchens; eggshells flutter into batters, and you generally need twice as many pignolis as expected because they are quick to burn.

The 26-year-old Food Network, which already has a vibrant online presence with, recently launched this genuinely interactive app.  (The term “interactive” is often over-used, but not this time.)  Each week, about 40 live classes are featured,and there’s a back library of more than 1,000 on-demand classes and episodes of the network’s shows.  How-to videos offer tips on knife skills and the bane of home cooks: how to best chop onions.  Some 80 chefs are featured, and the app even has a link for grocery ordering and delivery.  While watching the live classes, home cooks can text in questions and chefs can answer -- in real time.

“It is an interesting evolution of the Food Network brand,” noted Vikki Neil, executive vice president and general manager, Discovery’s Digital Studios Group.  “People really want more help, and they want to get to some of the chefs and talent we have on the air.  We started to hear that people wanted to be able to further explore cooking.  What we are doing is helping them to be more confident in the kitchen.  [The fact that] we can bring more joy back to the kitchen is a rallying point.

“I feel so much better as a mom if I just put dinner on the table two more nights this week than last week,” Neil added.  “Our goal is to become the only app that people need when they talk about cooking.  When they want a partner in the kitchen with them, we are that partner.”

Murphy, the celebrated chef from Food Network’s Chopped, understands.  Consider his recent live class on cooking lamb chops.  Even if you have cooked them for years and think you know what you’re doing, give this class a watch.  When he’s seasoning, Murphy acknowledges he has a heavy hand with the salt.  “A lot will fall off, and you can’t do it after,” he says during the class.  “The most important thing with lamb is getting the sear on the outside.  To me, the fat flavor on lamb is so delicious.”

What’s great about these live classes is that we see the pros experiencing the same moments most of us deal with in our own kitchens.  Little lessons abound.  Murphy touches raw meat and stops to wash his hands.  When you’re concerned if a pan is too hot, he reminds, “It’simportant to remember whenever you put something in a pan, you can start with the pan a little hotter than you may want to because the product is coming from the refrigerator.”

After the live lamb chop class, Murphy spoke exclusively with MediaVillage, explaining how cooking for the app is a little different than cooking in one of his kitchens.  (He had five restaurants and recently closed the last one before embarking on his next, as of now unannounced, project.)

“It’s interesting to me because you have to remember there are people at home doing it,” Murphy said.  “You sometimes want to slow down.  That’s why I like to tell stories and slow it down so people can participate in it with [me].  You have to feel you are in the kitchen with us and we are doing it with you.  I find it kind of fun.  It is class participation.”

Lamb chops are a great example of how even a professional chef must often pause and deconstruct a dish he or she has made countless times.  While preparing for this class on the app, Murphy made it again, checking every step at home.

“We want the recipes to be 100 percent accurate,” he said.  “I am a chef.  I go home and cook.  But with Food Network, the biggest difference for me is we have to have a recipe that works, and we will go over a recipe I have been making for a little while.  I could do this dish for 300 people and know it will turn out properly.  On Sunday, I made it for my wife and kid.  It’s a matter of tweaking it.  I can then drill down, and (the Food Network Kitchen staff) can test it once, twice, three times and know it works.”

What if the home chef still makes a mistake?  Murphy takes a page from one of his influencers, Julia Child.  “Don’t sweat it!” he says.  “If you are a brain surgeon and screw up, that’s a problem.  If you overcook a lamb chop, it’s okay.”

Incidentally, leftover food from Food Network Kitchen is donated to City Harvest, a charity that serves the hungry.  And when people buy an annual FNK subscription for $39.99, parent company Discovery provides 100 meals to children as part of its No Kid Hungry initiative.

On a personal note ... with Hanukkah coming up, and a house full of people to feed, the festival of fried foods is usually my domain.  But my son, who has come into his own as a cook in his first kitchen this year (starve or learn), has challenged me -- his Jewish mother -- to a latke throwdown.   Of course I love him, but I am not telling him (yet) that I have four (yes, four) latke classes ready to go on my app.

Click the social buttons above or below to share this content with your friends and colleagues.

The opinions and points of view expressed in this content are exclusively the views of the author and/or subject(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of, Inc. management or associated writers.



Copyright ©2024 MediaVillage, Inc. All rights reserved. By using this site you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.