Tom Colicchio

Tom Colicchio shares his wisdom about presenting food on TV. He would know — he's never had a major disaster!

on Dec 3, 2008

It's amusing to me how so many of our cheftestants said, in response to this week's Elimination Challenge, that they did not want to "do TV" in their careers as chefs ... while they're doing TV to advance their careers as chefs. As I recall, they were saying those words directly into the lens of a television camera. Let's face it: The media has long been a critical factor in shaping high-level careers of all kinds, and today's Top Chefs must be able not only to cook, but to generate heat about their cooking. On TV.

If a chef can get on television, whether local or national, s/he should not hesitate. Chefs should be pleased to start with local television - its viewers, of course, are your future patrons, and this is your moment to hook them. You're establishing relationships. If you do a good job the first time, you will have made the segment producer look good to his/her boss and they'll be happy to have you back, which, of course helps as you progress in your career and want to promote newer ventures. Here in NYC, the chefs' entree to television is usually CBS's "Chef on a Shoestring", which is great. The national morning shows are the biggies that you ultimately want to be on, but they usually won't let you on until you show them some tape and they like what they see. This is another reason it's important to do something in your local market and to do it well. I have always finished my segments and I've never had a major disaster.