Posts Tagged ‘Food Network’

Chef Ming Tsai Debuts Culinary Collection On HSN

September 20, 2013

Ming Tsai

Ming Tsai


Celebrity chef and restaurateur Ming today launched his line of “Simply Ming” kitchen tools and accessories on HSN.

The collection “combines functional innovation with Ming Tsai’s extensive culinary background to create uniquely engineered products that are perfect for the demands of today’s home cooks,” according to HSN.

“I am so excited to finally premiere this comprehensive collection of culinary tools at HSN,” Tsai said in a canned statement. “Having a background in mechanical engineering has enabled me to zone in on developing products that are smart, well-designed and easy to use. My goal is that these items will help folks feel more comfortable and confident in their own kitchens. There’s nothing more rewarding than cooking for friends and family.”

The “Simply Ming” collection incorporates hard-anodized aluminum and high-end ceramics help deliver overall performance and durability.

The line will offer a variety of culinary products and cookbooks and include exclusive configurations of: the 4-piece AeroKnife Set; Edge of Glory Knife Sharpener; the Bamboo Cutting Board with Built in Magnetic Knife Technology; a Nuwave Cooking Station Induction Burner; and a Nuwave Elite 9″ Frypan.

Additionally, the collection will include two cookbooks, Simply Ming One-Pot Meals and Simply Ming in Your Kitchen, featuring many of his East-West favorites.

The 4-piece AeroKnife Set will be available for a one-day-only price of $19.95 in exclusive colors: black, red, ccbalt blue, tangerine, lime green and white diamond.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Ming Tsai on the Efficient by Design Collection,” said chatty Joy Mangano, President of Ingenious Designs LLC, an HSN subsidiary. “Ming’s outstanding expertise in the culinary industry has provided great insight for this collection with innovative products that truly serve to make life in the kitchen simply efficient.”

Raised in Dayton, Ohio, Ming Tsai’s passion for cooking began as a child beside his parents at their family-owned restaurant, Mandarin Kitchen.

While completing his degree in Mechanical Engineering from Yale University, Ming spent summers in Paris at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu cooking school, eventually moved to Paris and trained under multiple renowned chefs, and later earned his master’s degree at Cornell University’s Hotel School.

In 1998, Ming opened Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass His success led him to open Blue Dragon, a 90-seat Asian gastropub in Boston in 2013. Ming also represents the United States with the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative/American Chefs Corps, where chefs around the country participate in official government programs that use food as a foundation for public diplomacy efforts at home and abroad.

Additionally, Ming Tsai is the host and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated public television show “Simply Ming.”

He transitioned into television in 1998, when he began cooking for the Food Network and won an Emmy as host of “East Meets West With Ming Tsai.” In 2008, Ming traveled to the Beijing Olympics with NBC’s “Today” show to provide viewers with insight into food customs and traditions that define his Chinese heritage.

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QVC May Dump Southern-Belle Chef Paula Deen, Too

June 25, 2013

We leave town for a week and go West, and all hell breaks loose.

First, we were shocked to hear that New Jersey-bred actor James Gandolfini had passed away. He made Tony Soprano real in that landmark HBO show.

Then, we were watching the Arizona Diamondbacks at their Phoenix stadium  when we checked out our iPhone and saw that Southern chef Paula Dean had been canned by Food Network when it became public that she had used racial slurs, including the “N” word, at her eatery.

On the plane East yesterday, we saw a crawl on the DirecTV service that said QVC was threatening to dump Deen, as a well. Deen does a cookware line for the home shopping network.

QVC put out a statement Monday that several news outlets published, including E! online.

http://www.eonline.com/news/432855/paula-deen-may-lose-qvc-deal-following-n-word-controversy?cmpid=rss-000000-rssfeed-365-topstories&utm_source=eonline&utm_medium=rssfeeds&utm_campaign=rss_topstories

“QVC shares the concerns being raised around the unfortunate Paula Deen situation,” QVC said in its official statement.

“QVC does not tolerate discriminatory behavior. We are closely monitoring these events and the ongoing litigation. We are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen, and in the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC.”

Many QVC viewers made their displeasure known on Facebook.

“Seriously? You are even considering not working with Paula Deen because of something she said years ago? Waiting to see how people are responding before making a decision? The companies that step up and stand by this woman will get my business. The rest of them can kiss my business goodbye!”

“I love watching and purchasing from QVC and believe me I spend a lot of money with you. Please do not drop Paula Dean from your company. Everyone has a past and has made a mistake or said something they wish they could go back and change. ‘Let those with no sin cast the first stone.’ Please do not treat her like the Food Network and Smithfield Foods have done. I would like to see you let her continue on. Please don’t be one of the companies that also disappoints America.”

“Drop Paula Deen and I will encourage everyone I know to discontinue following your company on FB and Twitter. If you drop Paula, consider me a past customer!”

“If you want to order Paula Dean products QVC has three pages of them. Whether you agree with the companies pulling her products or not they are continuing to do it one by one, Smithfield Foods dropped her today. Most companies do not want a spokes person who displays disrespect, especially verbally. No real winners in this kind of situation.”

“Don’t want nothing to do with QVC since you’re against Paula Deen”

But Deen had her detractors, though they were outnumbered by her defenders.

“To all of you QVC boycott plotters because of the Paula Deen debacle: Since when did buying pots & pans and cookbooks from a person become more important than keeping morals alive? Do you really value your ability to purchase your precious cookware & cookbooks more than valuing decency in America? It astounds me that material goods and sticking up for a racial bigot is greater than sticking up for those who were and still are offended. Please, if you want to leave QVC – GO! Enough already. I’m sure you can buy Deen’s precious ‘goods’ elsewhere. At least QVC has the guts to stand up for morals & decency.”

“PAULA DEAN has enough money and press she never has to work again. Maybe some of you people should quit buying from the Q since you stand behind her and her stinking remarks. Q has a little more class!”

This dirt about Deen came out in a deposition that Deen gave for a lawsuit filed by one of her ex-employees. She has apologized for her hideous remarks.

We obviously don’t condone her horrific racist comments. But we’ve made stupid, ignorant comments at times that we wish we could take back. Perhaps the folks at Scripps Networks, which owns Food Network, were blindsided by the controversy and shit-canned her because she didn’t let them know what was about to blow.

QVC hasn’t said it will definitely let Deen go. We think she deserves a second chance.

Guy Fieri’s Found A New ‘Dive’: He’s Peddling Pots On QVC

October 7, 2012

God help us!

Platinum blond, spike-haired Guy Fieri is the latest TV food personality to launch a cookware line on a home shopping network, in this case QVC.

Fieri is host of Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives”(sounds like the places our last three dates took us). He will debut on QVC Wednesday at 5 p.m. with “Guy Fieri’s Rockin’ the Kitchen.”

A nice Guy for you

Rock this, buddy!

Here’s what QVC.com has to say about it:

Chef, restaurateur, best-selling cookbook author and television personality Guy Fieri brings his unique personality and culinary vision to QVC during ‘Guy Fieri’s Rockin’ the Kitchen.’

Guy in action on Food Network

Tune in and watch as this ‘culinary rock star’ whips up delicious dishes for the whole family that you can recreate in your own kitchen with his collection of professional quality cookware, utensils and other accessories. Get ready to rock your kitchen during Guy Fieri’s Rockin’ the Kitchen on QVC.

Other foodie TV stars who have landed on home shopping networks include Emeril Lagasse, temper-tantrum-throwing Wolfgang Puck, Paula Deen, Gordon Ramsay, Lidia Bastianich, Todd English, Padma Lakshmi, Martha Stewart and Ingrid Hoffmann.

Former ShopNBC Host Libby Floyd Has Penned A Romance Novel

August 21, 2012

Former ShopNBC host Libby Floyd has a brand new bag: She’s a romance writer.

Via LinkedIn, we learned that Floyd has published her first romance novel, called “Sparkelicious,” on Chardonnay Press.

“It is now available on Amazon.com,” she said. “I also have several other novels in the works.”

Libby Floyd

In addition to ShopNBC, Floyd has appeared on Food Network, The Shopping Channel and Shop at Home.

She joins a growing list of home shopping hosts who have intruded onto our turf: writing.

That group includes QVC’s Rick Domeier, Kathy Levine and Lisa Mason, as well as HSN vets Dan Dennis and Paul Deasy.

Cablevision’s Vilification of Scripps Networks Exec Ken Lowe, One Of The Smartest, Classiest Guys In The Cable Industry

January 9, 2010

Scripps CEO Ken Lowe, Cablevision's villain

There are so many things we should be doing now, rather than blogging. We have to update our resume for a job we’re applying for. We have press releases to write for Saint Barnabas. We have freelance work from three different people, two of the assignments related to health, stacked up. We have to take our Christmas tree down. And we should be cruising PlentyofFish.com for a man.

But we have to write about Ken Lowe. Lowe, CEO of Scripps Networks Interactive, has been named in the full-page ads that Cablevision has been running in papers like The New York Times and the Manhattan tabloids. The ads — and Scripps is running ads too — are part of the week-long war over fees between the cable company and Scripps, which led to Food Network and HGTV being pulled from 3.1 million homes in the Tri-State area.

Scripps wants a rate increase for its channels, and Cablevision says the ask is unreasonable. Programmers and distributors fight all the time, but it’s fairly rare to see a CEO singled out the way Cablevision has singled out Lowe, kind of making the business battle personal.

Cablevision’s ads claim that “Lowe is demanding a $20 million rate increase for Food Network and HGTV.” It makes it sound like Lowe is right at the negotiating table, pounding his fist. That’s not how it works.

We know all is fair in love and war, and Scripps had celebrity chef Bobby Flay doing anti-Cablevision radio spots for it, but the attack on Lowe seem like a low blow, no pun intended, by the cable company. The ads cast Lowe as the nasty, money-grubbing bogeyman in all of this.

We’ve known Lowe for almost two decades, from reporting on the cable industry. He was always one of the smartest, nicest, classiest, frankest, friendliest programmers we have ever met. He’s well-respected in the media business. His background was radio, and his college roommate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was Rick Dees, the well-known disc jockey.

A veteran broadcaster working at Scripps, Lowe founded and launched HGTV in 1994, and managed Food Network, which Scripps holds a majority stake in. He built an empire of lifestyle cable networks, but admitted to my former editor, Marianne Paskowski, that he once feared being fired by Scripps.

We remember going with Paskowski to interview Lowe at a cable trade show. It was fun, he was bright, and it didn’t hurt that Lowe, now 59, was easy on the eyes. We know that’s unprofessional to say, but what the hell.

He is a Southerner — we hear he was raised on a tobacco farm — but Southern charm doesn’t usually work with us. Folks from New Jersey are “loud and proud,” and don’t beat around the bush. There is no gentility or many manners in the New York metro region.

We often say that we’d rather have someone tell us the truth than be nice to our face, and then talk about us behind our backs. And since we’ve been stabbed in the back by a Southerner who had lots of folksy stories and an accent, we know what we’re talking about.

We don’t know how Lowe treated his employees — we did hear he liked to send e-mails at 2 in the morning. We hear Scripps doesn’t pay producers much. But with us, Lowe was always a pleasure to interview and deal with.

Scripps’ battle with Cablevision relates to the seeds of Food Network, we believe. As we remember, Food Network was free to cable operators for a long period, it may have been 10 years, surviving just by selling advertising. Most cable networks have two revenue streams — license fees from cable companies and advertising.

Now, Scripps is trying to get Food Network caught up, in terms of price, with other cable networks. But times are tough, and distributors like Cablevision don’t want to pay double-digit price hikes.

It’s as if you started a job at a low salary five years ago, and went to your boss today and asked for a big salary increase so you could be at a par with your colleagues. It’s a tough economy, budgets are tight, and your boss doesn’t care if your salary is less than everyone else.

Wall Street analyst Rich Greenfield has written that Scripps underestimated Cablevision’s resolve and unpredictability, and we think that’s true, too.

Anyway, contract negotiations are usually handled by a cable channel’s affiliate sale team, and in the case of Scripps it is Lynne Costantini, who used to work in programming at Time Warner Cable.

She was expected to be named head of programming at Time Warner, but instead a woman named Melinda Witmer got the job. Witmer was in the news recently because she negotiated the new Time Warner-Fox deal — averting a massive blackout of Fox TV stations — with Fox Cable’s affiliate chief Mike Hopkins.

For all the vitriole of the retransmission-consent negotiations between Time Warner and Fox, we don’t think any executives’ names turned up in any ads, the way that Lowe’s name has in Cablevision’s.

We have interviewed Costantini, Witmer and even broke bread and shared a few cocktails with Hopkins in Las Vegas. They’re all smart, civil folks, like Lowe.

We’re hoping that Cablevision will turn down the volume in its dispute with Scripps, and give Lowe a break. Even wars have rules. We wish Cablevision would abide by them.

In the meantime, every couple of days we have to call our sister Karen or our parents, who are among Cablevision’s 900,000 households in Jersey, to see what the cable company is running on the crawl on Food Network and HGTV’s former channel slots.

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC Should Give Thanks For Home Shopping’s Sea Change: They’ve Attracted Luxury Brands Like Gucci, Badgley Mischka And Stephen Dweck

November 26, 2009

QVC CEO Mike George

We thought we were seeing things a few days ago when we checked ShopNBC’s Web site and saw that it was selling dozens of Gucci watches. What happened, did they fall off a truck? Why was Gucci, a premier luxury brand, being sold on a home shopping network?

Then back in October, we couldn’t believe it when a sharp-eyed poster on QVC’s jewelry forum said that upscale jewelry designer Stephen Dweck, whose chunky gemstone masterpieces are featured in Neiman Marcus, was on the No. 1 home shopping network’s schedule. THE Stephen Dweck?

We checked QVC’s program guide ourselves, and there it was: Dweck was doing a lower-priced jewelry line for QVC called Dweck’s Diamonds. His Neiman Marcus pieces didn’t even have diamonds. The high-end stuff is made with semi-precious stones.

Also in October, we were checking the press releases on HSN’s Web site when we saw the network had struck a deal with one of the most famous and elite fashion houses: Badgley Mischka, designers of bejeweled gowns for the red carpet and celebrities.

We’ve written bits and pieces of this during the past two months, but we thought we’d tie it all up in a tidy package for Thanksgiving: There has been a sea change in the home shopping world, prompted by the disastrous economy and the crash of the luxury market.

Yes, home shopping networks have seen their sales hurt by the economy, like everyone else. But they claim they are still managing to steal market share from brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, QVC is making a full-frontal assault on them this Black Friday, with 28 hours of special products and programming stunts starting Thanksgiving night.

The consumer press will continue to mention “cubic zirconia” in every story it writes about QVC or HSN, oblivious to the fact that some of the most esteemed names in fashion, jewelry and cosmetics — brands you find in Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus — are plying their wares on the aforementioned home shopping channels.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

Male journalists are blind to this. You still have the nerds at Gawker, a snide Web Site for the navel-gazing media, chiding HSN for selling “useless crap.”

If you have ever seen how male journalists dress or their fashion and style sensibilities, you will realize that you can’t expect them to know names like Badgley Mischka, Judith Ripka, Robert Lee Morris, our fellow Montclair, N.J., resident Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent, Smashbox, Lancome and Dweck. And these brands and artists don’t represent “useless crap.”

Luxury-good makers are hurting, and they need to make up their loss in sales. So they are turning to outlets like QVC, as CEO Mike George explained at a recent Liberty Media conference, as outlets to distribute new lower-priced lines to the masses. George cited fashion designer Vivienne Tam’s QVC alliance at the meeting held in Manhattan by his parent company, Liberty.

“This complete implosion of luxury retailing in America has caused all these folks to rethink their business model,” George said.

And that means partnering with QVC, HSN or ShopNBC.

As we said, it will take the consumer press years to figure out that home shopping channels are distribution powerhouses that have undergone a transformation, in part because of the infllux of talent like a Morris, who does couture jewelry for designers like Donna Karan and RLM Studio sterling silver jewelry for QVC.

The Big Three — QVC, HSN and ShopNBC — are aggressively trying to broaden their audience and potential customer base, those who don’t normally watch any of these three networks. That means the three are actually “programming” the channels, doing “shows” that have entertainment value, not just product shilling, so they will attract non-QVC or non-HSN watchers.

We remember once interviewing a QVC exec years ago and asking what the network’s ratings were. He said ratings were irrelevant: QVC was only concerned about how many products were sold in an hour.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman

That’s a totally different tune from what we heard recently from QVC’s George, and from the strategies that HSN CEO Mindy Grossman and ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart have initiated.

Like traditional TV networks, the home shopping players want viewers to “sample” a QVC or an HSN. These new audience members, hopefully, will then see products that they want to buy.

For example, singer Natalie Cole recently did a live concert on HSN to promote a new Holiday CD set she is selling on the channel. If you’re a fan, you might tune in to HSN to see her, and then actually decide to purchase her CD. Artists such
as Jose Feliciano have also performed live on QVC.

QVC alum Stewart on a recent third-quarter conference call pointed out that actress-entrepreneur Suzanne Somers, who came to ShopNBC from HSN, had succeeded in attracting new viewers to Minneapolis-based ShopNBC because she was “entertaining.” And these networks want new eyeballs.

And home shopping networks’ capacity to reach millions of consumers and do fulfillment of orders has not been lost on magazine publishers, celebrities or cable’s reality TV stars. With circulation falling, women’s magazines such as Lucky, Allure, Glamour and Self are partnering with HSN to sell subscriptions.

And stars have seen the light. In a recent interview in Oprah Winfey’s O magazine, Joan Rivers, who’s had a jewelry line on QVC for almost 20 years, told O she was on home shopping when “nobody except dead celebrities was doing merchandise on TV.”

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a celebrity or TV star who doesn’t have a home shopping line. Even Madonna was interviewed on HSN when she was selling her children’s book.

Here’s a partial list:

Paula Abdul, HSN, formerly “American Idol,” Fox

Rachel Zoe, QVC, “The Rachel Zoe Project,” Bravo

Isaac Mizrahi, QVC, “The Fashion Show,” Bravo

Padma Lakshmi, HSN, “Top Chef,” Bravo

Ramona Singer, HSN, “The Real Housewives of New York City,” Bravo

Susan Lucci, HSN, “All My Children,” ABC

Carson Kressley, QVC, “How to Look Good Naked,” Lifetime Television

Dr. Robert Rey, ShopNBC, “Dr. 90210,” E! Entertainment Television

Tori Spelling, HSN, “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood,” Oxygen

Paula Deen, QVC, Food Network

Rachael Ray, QVC, “The Rachael Ray Show,” syndication

Ingrid Hoffmann, HSN, Food Network and Univision

Home shopping is a big business. ShopNBC is the also-ran in the group, but in the third quarter Stewart made some nice progress cutting its losses. Sales for the Big Three were all down, but down less than previous quarters.

And we are not talking chump change for these networks. The three home shopping channels generated $8.3 billion in net revenue in 2008. QVC domestic posted $4.9 billion, HSN netted $2.8 billion and ShopNBC had $568 million.

Even with revenue still slipping this year, for the first nine months QVC had revenue of $3.308 billion; HSN had net sales of $1.4 billion; and ShopNBC had $372.6 million in net sales.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Food Network Star Paula Deen Gets A Touching, Teary Call From A Fellow Southerner — And Fan — On QVC

November 17, 2009

There were several priceless moments on Food Network star Paula Deen’s show Monday evening on QVC, including one that almost had us tearing up along with the charming celebrity cook.

Deen, known for her “Y-all” Southernisms, had a live audience at the QVC studio in West Chester, Pa. We’re not trying to be mean, but they were the heaviest group of people we have ever seen in one place. And we are not exaggerating. They must love to eat Deen’s butter-laden dishes.

Anyway, Deen sells food items and cookware on QVC. She was on with a fellow Southerner, host David Venable, when she started talking about the ham sausage she was selling. It’s her No. 1-selling food item on the home shopping channel. And Deen loves those sausage patties herself.

“I put it in my mouth and I suck on it, I suck until all the juices are gone, and then I chew it,” she told Venable, who was left a little speechless by her remark. We guess he has a dirty mind like us.

Deen and Venable, who looks like he’s been eating a lot of Deen’s food, later called the cook-restaurateur from Georgia one of our favorite Southern expressions: Sweet pea.

But putting all our reporter cynicism aside, there was a really touching moment at the end of the show. The only thing like it we have ever seen on home shopping was when host Rick Domeier wiped away tears during his recent anniversary show.

Lisa from Mississippi called in, and said, “I love you Paula, and David, too.” She was crying, apparently so excited and happy to be talking to Deen.

Moved by the woman, Deen almost started to cry, as well, telling Lisa she loved her, too. The caller told Deen she was buying her sausage patties as well as turkey breast for Thanksgiving.

Deen was obviously was still touched by the woman, who she said had “the sweetest voice,” and she turned to Venable.

“David, you don’t realize how you touch people,” Deen said. “You don’t realize how you touch ’em until you get a call like that from that little lady and it makes your heart just full.”

Good for you Paula.

Celebrity Chefs Are Hot For HSN, But There’s No News About Todd English And His Bride-Jilting Caper

November 12, 2009

HSN was crowing Thursday about the success of the high-profile chefs that hawk products on the network. We guess it’s no surprise that officials didn’t mention the tabloid headlines that Todd English made recently for allegedly jilting his bride-to-be.

During a third-quarter conference call Thursday, HSN CEO Mindy Grossman said that the network “marries the best chefs of HSN with our successful commerce platform,” citing English, Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse.

The home shopping network expanded its chef roster last with week with the premieres of cook/TV host/cookbook authors Padma Lakshmi and Ingrid Hoffmann as part of the channel’s second annual “HSN Cooks” event. Lakshmi is a host of Bravo’s hit “Top Chef,” while Hoffman does shows for Food Network and Univision.

“The combination of diversity of product, personality and programming resulted in a sales increase of 40 percent over last year’s event,” Grossman said.

HSN was able to strike a deal with Lakshmi and leverage “the tremendous popularity of the ‘Top Chef’ reality series” after talking to her in April about doing a line of cutlery, teas and spices. That Easy Exotic line launched and sold out during the cooks’ event, according to Grossman.

Not mentioned again in the call was English, who was recently in the news in his home base of Boston and in New York City when he left his fiancee, Erica Wang, at the altar the day they were supposed to get married in Manhattan.

Wang painted English as a rat in an exclusive interview with The New York Post. Days later, English filed domestic abuse charges against Wang in Boston, alleging that she hit him in the head with his own watch.

HSN Adds Latin Spice (How’s That For A Cliche?) With Debut Of Chef Ingrid Hoffmann, Of Food Network And Univision

November 5, 2009

HSN Thursday added a little Latin flavor to its lineup with the debut of chef and TV host Ingrid Hoffmann, who is selling the Simply Delicioso T-fal cookware line.

Don’t be fooled by Hoffmann’s name: She was raised in Colombia, and has cooking shows on Galavision/Univision and Food Network.

Regarding names, look at us: Our last name is Moss, but our mother’s maiden name is Vazquez, by way of Puerto Rico.

Hoffman is selling her cookbook on HSN and also offers “Chica Tips” for the kitchen.

Y-All Listen To This: QVC Recalls Food Network Star Paula Deen’s Cast Iron Cookware

October 7, 2009

QVC has recalled some of the cast iron cookware that Food Network’s bubbly Southern cook, Paula Deen, was selling on the home shopping channel.

There are 51,000 units of the cookware in question, the Paula Deen 11-inch “hammered cast iron” grill pans and griddles.

“The recalled cookware can crack and shatter, posing burn and laceration hazards to consumers,” according to QVC’s Web site and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

No other Paula Deen cookware is involved in the recall.

The recalled products were manufactured by Meyer Trading Co.

“QVC and Meyer Trading have received 79 reports of the cookware cracking or shattering when heated,” the home shopping network said. “One consumer reported a minor burn injury to the arm.”

The recalled pots sold for between $35 and $55, and buyers can return the items for a full refund.