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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.
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The Walking Dead, Season 8, AMC

The Walking Dead returned for the midseason premiere of Season 8 on Sunday and that means that Talking Dead is back!  8.3 million viewers said goodbye to Chandler Riggs whose character Carl finally met his demise.

Chandler grew up on the show, and this week Talking Dead aired never-before-seen footage of an interview that I shot with Chris Hardwick and Chandler on set in 2012.  They say that nothing measures time like children, so it was a special thrill for me to see this old footage from my first visit to the Walking Dead set.  Just a week earlier, I got the first call to direct interviews with Chris and cast. To prepare, I watched 8 hrs of episodes from the prison season and then got on a plane to Atlanta.  We arrived to scout during a night shoot. I can’t describe how creepy/awesome it was to have binged watched a show I love and then stand there on the prison set just a few hours later.  I love my job.

Watch Talking Dead every Sunday at 10pm ET on AMC. Check out exclusive interviews with cast & crew during my time on set in Atlanta.

“Try to live your life in a way that you will not regret years of useless virtue and inertia and timidity.

Take up the battle.

Take it up.

It’s yours.

This is your life.  This is your world.

I’ll be leaving it long before you under the ordinary set of circumstances. You make your own choices. You can decide life isn’t worth living, and that would be the worst thing you can do. How do you know, so far?

Try it. See.

So pick it up. Pick up the battle, and make it a better world.

Just where you are.

Yes, and it can be better, and it must be better, but it is up to us.”

–Thank you, Dr Angelou.

“Maya Angelou” Oprah Presents Master Class. OWN, 2011.

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It’s January, and that means it’s time for a new season of Friday Night Tykes. The fourth season kicks off Tuesday, January 17 at 9p ET on Esquire Network.  While it’s a show about youth football, it’s really a show about parenting — and it’s sparked debate from the US Senate to living rooms across the country. Once again, we ask the questions: how hard should we be pushing our kids? How far is too far? And is youth sports really about the kids or the adults running it?
Check out the new season of Friday Night Tykes starting this Tuesday night at 9p ET on Esquire Network.
PS After working on this show for 4 years, shouldn’t I have some sort of honorary degree in youth sports storytelling?  Special thanks to the first person who mocks that up for me.
Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

(Oct 25, 2016 UPDATE: 7.57 million viewers watched Talking Dead this weekend.  Congratulations to the team and thank you all for tuning in!)

Y’all ok?  Do you need a hug? That was rough.  I’ve known what was going to happen since our trip to Atlanta this summer, but it was still hard to watch.  The good news is that this season will introduce our pals to new characters and communities. I can hardly wait.

Chris Hardwick wins “Hardest Working Host” in television for his performance.  A “very special” Talking Dead aired last night in Hollywood Forever cemetery with the entire cast available to talk about the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.  What they didn’t count on was the pouring rain.  What started out as a light sprinkle got progressively worse causing Hardwick’s mic to short out, but I have to hand it to him, he never once lost his cheer.  What a night!

Tune in for more exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with cast and crew of Season 7 of The Walking Dead.