EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 2, 2013

ABC's 'The Chew' bites into its 500th episode


“We have five distinctly different characters, versus a single-host show,” notes Hall (a memorable past competitor on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and the owner of an artisan cookie company). “That means we have five different ways of doing things. So we are saying to the viewer, ‘If YOU have a sixth way, that’s OK, too.’ We empower the viewers to have their own perspectives.”

“The ensemble setup gives us all an opportunity to do some learning on TV, as well as some teaching,” says Batali.

Item: Hall adores a certain trick for peeling lemons she learned on the air from Symon. And Kelly confides, “I didn’t like quinoa until Daphne (the “Chew” resident health-and-wellness guru) kept shoving it down my throat. I actually like quinoa now.”

Each hour has a theme (not just broad ideas like how to fix the perfect turkey but also conceptual side dishes like “Picnic Essentials” or “Leftover Makeover”) that the show’s producers cook up.

Symon: “They give us themes, and then we give them our recipes.”

Batali: “Along with our thoughts on each segment.”

Hall: “We make each idea work, based on our experiences.”

“But I’ve said no to a segment,” Kelly points out. “It just wasn’t in my wheelhouse, and I didn’t want to pretend to do something that I wouldn’t actually be doing at home.”

“Manscaping?” cracks Batali.

When “The Chew” was first announced, naysayers warned its hosts they were making a mistake.

“A bunch of my friends were saying, ‘This is career suicide,’” Batali recalls with a laugh, “and I was like, ‘I think I could probably still make it as a cook.’ Now we know unmistakably, indubitably, that we have the best jobs in food programming.”

“A hundred percent!” Hall chimes in.

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