‘Today Show’ Booker: We’re Looking for Chefs With Personality

[Left to right: New York “Grub Street” blog editor Daniel Maurer, Wine Spectator/Cigar Aficionado‘s Jack Bettridge, Carla Spartos, Food Writer, New York Post, “Today Show” Producer and Chef Booker Deb Kosofsky, “Good Day New York” Segment Producer Linda Simidian. Picture courtesy Peter Himler.]

This post was written by Nancy Lazarus, consultant and new contributor to PRNewser.

At the Publicity Club of New York’s ‘Food Beat’ panel lunch on Thursday, the producers of the ‘Today Show’ and ‘Good Day New York’ both agreed that chefs with charismatic personalities are the most sought after talent to appear on their shows’ food segments.

Deb Kosovsky, Producer and Chief Booker on the ‘Today Show,’ said:

“We want chefs with great personalities since it is a personality driven segment.”

She added that they either look for a chef with national appeal or a chef starting out who can teach a brief session for the ‘Today Show’ cooking school. She warned that chefs who spend excessive time promoting their own books won’t be asked back on the show.

Linda Simidian, ‘Good Day New York’ segment producer said, “We want upbeat chefs for the morning shows who can communicate recipes well.” She explained that it also helps if the local chef has a specialty such as green, sustainable or organic foods.

Both producers acknowledged that breaking news may interfere with the cooking shows’ schedules, so flexibility is also required.

Carla Spartos, food writer at the New York Post, said “I look to capture the New York zeitgeist through a culinary lens.” She covers timely food trends, food scenes or new people who reflect a compelling aspect of New York life that can create buzz among the paper’s readers.

Daniel Maurer, editor of New York magazine’s Grub Street blog, said he writes about “a combination of original stories and links to other sources, such as chef changes, gossip and restaurant openings.” He reported that he prefers more fully researched stories complete with menus and chef bios.

Jack Bettridge, senior features editor of Cigar Aficionado and spirits columnist for Wine Spectator magazine and website, specializes only in stories for affluent males. He said “spirits is my area, not wine, and it has become bigger now due to the current fascination with cocktails.” Examples of topics he covers are gourmet foods, often red meat, and seasonal cocktails.

All five presenters emphasized the importance of allowing lead time and targeting specific holidays well enough, but not too far in advance.