Food Glorious Food

Becoming the Showrunner of a Netflix Food Series

Host Samin Nosrat and DP Luke McCoubrey. Liguria, Italy. 2018.

When I was 13 years old, part of my allowance came from preparing dinner for the family once a week.  This corresponded to my mother returning to work that same year, so it helped her to have a night off.  I loved it, in part because it meant that I didn’t have to do the dishes, a loathsome duty for the rest of the week.  That summer I also had a steady babysitting gig. The oppressiveness of Tidewater heat and humidity made it impossible to stay outside for very long, so the kid and I were often cooped up indoors with the AC on and the shades drawn. But the mother had a stack of Southern Living magazines filled with beautiful photos of recipes both traditional and fancy.  From those each week I’d develop the menu and add ingredients to my father’s grocery list, which he bought without question. My mother remembers the first dinner – meatloaf roulade with a swirl of broccoli and cheese.  Armed with Jacques Pepin’s step-by-step illustrated cookbook, La Technique, I tried my hand at choux pastry, and voilà, my first cream puff swans were born.

As fun as it was to experiment with new dishes, mostly I was practicing – not my technique, but my instruction.  At the start of each recipe, I put the ingredients in different little bowls and lined them up carefully.  I smoothed out my apron and then smiled and delivered each step to a make-believe camera, the host of my own show!  I have no idea why I was so inspired.  This was the ’80s, way before Food Network, so my role model must have been limited to PBS.

Nevertheless, I’ve always thought that one day I would work on a food show (albeit behind the camera not in front of it), so it was without hesitation and with great enthusiasm that I accepted a job that would eventually become the showrunner on Salt Fat Acid Heat, the Netflix food Series that launches globally on October 11. Based on Samin Nosrat’s best-selling, James Beard Award-winning book, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat is the essential guide to the basic elements of good cooking. Directed by Caroline Suh, each episode of this four-part series joins our spirited guide Samin as she travels to home kitchens of Italy, the southern islands of Japan, the heat of the Yucatán and back to Berkeley’s Chez Panisse—where she started her culinary career—to demystify and explore the central principles of what makes food delicious and how each of us can easily incorporate those elements into every dish. Salt Fat Acid Heat is executive produced by Stacey Offman of Jigsaw Productions, the creators of Cooked.

Congratulations to the whole crew for such a beautiful job.  Mark your calendars October 11!

Samin Nosrat at Chez Panisse for Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. Netflix 2018.

  1. Dee said:

    Can’t wait to view the series! We love food programs and can’t wait to see this one!
    I actually wrote an hour promotional film
    for Southern Living Magazine! Amazing experience.

    • busyk said:

      I’m really excited for everyone to see it.

      Southern Living really had beautiful photography and recipes! What was your film about?

  2. This is fantastic K! Congratulations and well done. I don’t watch too many cooking shows but will try to Check it out. I am inspired and enjoyed the personal story from your post. I alas did washing up for pocket money 7 nights a week. I was very pleased when I got my first job. 🙂

  3. Lance said:

    Hello! I’ve been so impressed with Salt Fat Acid Heat, not least because it manages to be both inspired by the fabulous book and clearly distinct from the book. It’s its own show, its own work of art, not dependent on the book and not easily comparable (it would be far too simple and frankly miss your points to ask, “Is it better or worse than the book?”).

    Samin is brilliant, of course, her mind irresistible and her presence wonderfully refreshing on-screen. But I’m keen to ask about the visuals, including the finely crafted photography and the grading, at once sumptuous and clean—accurate yet especially lovely. Could you offer a glimpse into some of the technical side—cameras and lenses used—as well as your direction on the grading front?

    Thank you! —L.

    • busyk said:

      Thank you so much! Luke McCoubrey was our DP and captured such beautiful imagery. He primarily used a movi stabilizer with the C300 Mk II and C700.
      The color correct at Light Iron here in NYC. And we delivered in 4K HDR, which is why the image looks so rich.

      • Lance said:

        Thank you! With Luke’s clearly excellent eye and those tools, the folks at Light Iron must have had so very much to work with. Eager to see what you—and Samin!—do next.

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