Jeff Mauro Says 1 of Food Network's Art Directors Also Loves Pulling Terrifying Pranks On Set

The Kitchen is a fan favorite of programming on the Food Network. The hybrid talk show and casual cooking show format of The Kitchen has a way of standing out among the network’s normal offering of competition and instructional shows.

Viewers of this network staple love it so much that it’s currently airing its 24th season. The real reason that the show is so successful though is the great chemistry between the show’s hosts; Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Geoffrey Zakarian, Alex Guarnaschelli, and Jeff Mauro.

All these great chefs seem to legitimately have fun together, which makes for great episodes. Apparently, this chemistry also includes the whole crew as well, and they have a lot of fun on set during filming.

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Having fun at work

By all accounts, the set of The Kitchen is a pretty fun place to work, which could explain the great chemistry that comes across to viewers in every episode. More than 70 crew members work on the set, and it sounds like they’re every bit as involved in workplace hijinks as the hosts.

In response to a viewer praising whoever does the iconic chalkboard art on the show, Mauro said on Reddit: “His name is Jed Holtz and he’s amazing. He’s our art director as well as the dude he keeps stuffing himself in cabinets under our counters and sinks and scaring the hell out of me for our Halloween episodes.”

Workplace fun like this hints to viewers that the fun the hosts seem to be having isn’t just an act and seems to resonate through the whole production.

Jeff Mauro in ‘The Kitchen’

Like it has with much of the world, 2020 has taken its toll on this gem of The Food Network. For much of the year, Mauro has been filming segments from his own kitchen at home and conferencing with the other hosts via Zoom. Switching from a fully loaded kitchen with a crew of 70 has presented some unique challenges.

Mauro says that their first quarantine broadcast of The Kitchen was incredibly exhausting, and involved several laptops, iPhones, and some help from his tech-savvy, 11-year-old son, Lorenzo.

In that first episode, Mauro made a crispy skin salmon provencal with charred cabbage salad. Though this sounds like a well-planned entrée from a high-end restaurant, it was in fact a little more improvised than that. Mauro told the Chicago Tribune:”Luckily we had enough salmon frozen that we could do this recipe. We do not have the resources that we normally do for The Kitchen. We have the same stuff that everybody else has. It made it that much more special.”

Why fans love the show has a lot to do with the rapport and feeling of family between the hosts, and this does offer an interesting, intimate look into the home lives of the hosts. While ideally, we’d want this great cast and crew back in their studio working together, these remote cast episodes were touching and disarming in their own way.

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The Kitchen family

Though fans love watching them cook with their families in their own kitchens, nobody can wait until The Kitchen‘s work family is back together and on set in the kitchen viewers know and love. As Mauro told Closer Weekly: “It’s great. We have fun on set and honestly, we’ve become a family.” That pretty much sums up why viewers love this show.

The chemistry between the cast and crew is apparent and comes across as some great TV moments and gives it an informal appeal while still having some great cooking wisdom to impart to viewers who keep coming back week after week.

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