Becoming the Showrunner of a Netflix Food Series
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!