Authentic Entertainment’s Lauren Lexton Talks About the Fun of Producing Food Shows [Exclusive]
Shows about food are no longer just about learning how to prepare a certain dish, and they havenâ€™t been for a long time. Shows like Food Networkâ€™s Top 5 Restaurants and Guilty Pleasures engage the audience, presenting dishes from around the country in a way that is almost seductive. Then, there are the competition shows, like Esquireâ€™s Knife Fight, which allow the audience to become invested in a completely different way as they watch the dishes be prepared under pressure.
These three shows are among a long list of food programming produced by Authentic Entertainment, which was co-founded by Tom Rogan and Lauren Lexton, and whose first show about food was the ever popular Ace of Cakes.
We talked to Lauren Lexton about the ways Top 5 Restaurants, Guilty Pleasures, and Knife Fight are so engaging and unique. By the way, if you havenâ€™t watched any of these shows yet, we recommend that you do it soon â€“ but donâ€™t do it on an empty stomach!
One of the newest shows is Top 5 Restaurants on Food Network, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian and Sunny Anderson, whose excitement over the food is just one reason to watch. Lauren Lexton shared why she thinks this show is particularly unique.
â€œBesides the fact that people like looking at really good food, in these shows thereâ€™s the information you can get,â€ Lexton said. â€œThis is the first time that Food Network is going out on a limb and saying, these are the top five dishes. I think everybody then puts those on their bucket list and wants to know, what is it that makes itÂ soÂ above and beyond all theÂ otherÂ amazing burgers, pizza, ice-cream, and whatever else.â€
The first episode ofÂ Top 5 RestaurantsÂ gave us the top five burgers in America, from a classic burger in California to a unique onion burger in Oklahoma. â€œJust looking at the different cuts of the show, you get right off the bat why these people are there. Itâ€™s not that every burger is a perfectly crafted burger thatâ€™s got a nice grilled outside and a juicy inside. Not all of them are like that, like the onion burger. I thought it was great, because people were calling it the â€˜ugly burger.â€™â€
Besides looking at the food (which, is an entirely voyeuristic and addictive viewing experience), Lexton also explained how the show creates a dialogue among the rest of the country. â€œThere are plenty of shows where somebody goes from place to place and talks about how delicious things are. Obviously,Â Dinerâ€™s, Drive-Inâ€™s and DivesÂ is a huge example of a super successful show thatâ€™s all from the point of view of one person, but you kind of need to go farther. I think the thing aboutÂ Top 5 [Restaurants]Â is that Food Network is willing to go out on a limb to say these are the best, because they want people to stand up and take notice,â€ Lexton explained. â€œI think itâ€™s also much more interactive. Once Food Network says these are the top five burgers, the rest of America is going to start a dialogue and say, â€˜I donâ€™t know. I think that maybe whatever restaurant in my home town really has the best burgers.â€™ And you really start a social media dialogue about what you think is the best burger in America, or the best pizza, or the best ice-cream.”
Another show that Authentic Entertainment is currently producing on Food Network is Guilty Pleasures, in which favorite Food Network personalities including Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Anne Burrell, Curtis Stone, and many others reveal their own personal guilty pleasures. Celebrities are also joining in on the fun, including comedian David Alan Grier.
In addition to seeing these amazingly sinful dishes presented on-screen, Lexton said the show is also unique in its approach. â€œI think Guilty Pleasures is a much more humorous take on things, and the audience appreciates that,â€ she said. â€œThe first thing we do is we hear from people as to what their guilty pleasures are. [Laughs] Then we just trying to figure out, what are the ones that would be most appealing, but also feel like a guilty pleasure to the audience. Then we literally reach out to the restaurants and we go and we film, and our crew is very well fed. [Laughs] And they all love food too. We talk to a really diverse group of people. Some who are regularly on the Food Network to, these days weâ€™re trying to get more celebrities on the show because itâ€™s always fun to hear what celebrities like to eat. David Alan Grier is a great example. He was just so funny, but he also loves food. Itâ€™s really just about thinking â€“ the more you think about what it is that makes you want to do anything you can to eat this particular food. Thatâ€™s where the â€˜guiltyâ€™ part comes in too which is fun. Weâ€™re having fun with the jail cell and the therapist couch and all of those different kinds of things — because, at the same time you know you love to eat it, you also know that itâ€™s something that can set you over the edge.â€
The show is also something that everyone can relate to. Who doesnâ€™t love talking about their own guilty pleasures? Lexton even shared hers. â€œI went to Philadelphia after we shot the first season, and I am from Philly, so I went to Jimâ€™s Steaks and I got the steak sandwich with the bag of chips and the Dr. Brownâ€™s Black Cherry Soda and I took a picture of it [laughs], and I sent it back to the team, and Iâ€™m like, â€˜This is my guilty pleasure!â€™ So I think thatâ€™s whatâ€™s fun about it, is that we all have our guilty pleasures. We all fortunately donâ€™t eat them every day, but when we do, we really appreciate it.â€
Lexton also talked about Esquireâ€™s Knife Fight, an underground competition show with an edgy feel. â€œThe whole show came from the fact that Ilan Hall just opened his restaurant at night after he had closed. It was kind of this secret. You could go to The Gorbals after hours and see these amazing chefs. So that is the fun thing about the show itself, is that itâ€™s all completely real. That audience is a real live audience, and that that actual time limitation and everything else is exactly what it is. So if people were going to go, even if the cameras werenâ€™t there, it would be exactly the same way.â€
Something else thatâ€™s interesting about Knife Fight are the various unique ingredients that the chefs use in their dishes â€“ and they donâ€™t always look appetizing. â€œSome of the ingredients are just, frankly, not that appealing. Like eel and alligator, and things like that. But once you have somebody saying, â€˜I am gonna take this and mix it with this, and this, and this, then all of a sudden youâ€™re like â€˜Oh, okay. I get it. I can take this abstract ingredient, but because everything else that goes into it is something I understand, I still want to keep watching. I still want to see the people who are talking about the food and the people who are preparing the food get excited about it?â€™ And itâ€™s abundantly clear when you watch the show.â€
But what connects all of these shows together, according to Lexton, is passion. â€œThe fact of the matter is, itâ€™s honestly all about passion, and itâ€™s like a physical embodiment of somebodyâ€™s passion for something. Not every subject that people are passionate about can translate to the screen in a way where, not only is it really visual, but it also literally makes your mouth water. Youâ€™re watching, and youâ€™re like, â€˜Oh my God, that looks amazing!â€™ or â€˜Oh my God, that actually looks kind of gross.â€™ Youâ€™re always going to have some kind of opinion and reaction because itâ€™s food, and everybody understands it.â€
For Lexton, who has produced a long list of food programming through Authentic Entertainment, the experience is one she really enjoys. â€œProducing shows about food is so fun. Authentic started out by doing true crime shows, and then we started doing Ace of Cakes. And I realized, okay, I would much rather spend my days looking at these amazing cakes than I would hearing about how murder started, and itâ€™s been great.â€
So when can you watch all three of these amazing shows? Guilty Pleasures airs Mondays at 10/9c on Food Network; Top Five Restaurants airs Mondays at 10:30/9:30c on Food Network; Knife Fight airs Tuesdays at 10/9c and 10:30/9:30c on Esquire.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
John Griffin and Harold Perrineau Talk From on EPIX Season 1 Finale
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] How are we doing, #FROMily? In case you missed it this morning, the very good news is that that cliffhanger will be followed by a second season, which was gifted this morning ahead of the linear broadcast of the finale. I always legitimately appreciate when we…
Elizabeth Saunders Talks EPIX’s From
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] One of the things that makes EPIX’s From such a fun ride is the abundance of Canadian cast members. Elizabeth Saunders, who plays Donna, is a favorite from her turn on the third season of Mary Kills People [streaming on Global TV in Canada and Roku…
Corteon Moore Talks From “Broken Windows, Open Doors”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight’s episode of From had us all in our feels as we learned through flashbacks about the Sophie’s Choice Boyd had to make to save his son, and back in the present as Boyd said his piece with Ellis before heading into the woods with…
Pegah Ghafoori Talks From “All Good Things…”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode] Tonight on From, Fatima’s anniversary celebration turned into a Colony House of horrors when a misguided Kevin let his monster bae in and she promptly killed him and left the window open for her crew. While the party devolved into terror and sent everyone running,…
Shaun Majumder Talks From “Book 74”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight on EPIX’s From, Father Khatri made a bold move, kidnapping Sara instead of turning her in, and then recognizing her as a vessel for some big messages. That startling realization speaks to him on multiple levels–as a man of faith, a man trapped in…
Avery Konrad Talks About Sara’s Struggle in From “Silhouettes”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Over the course of the season so far on From, we’ve witnessed Sara’s battle against the voices telling her to to do terrible things, and tonight we saw her unravel further, threatening the Matthews and lashing out in a moment of terror with horrifying results….
Hannah Cheramy Talks From “Choosing Day”
[Warning: Spoilers for tonight’s episode.] Tonight, on EPIX’s From, the Matthews participate in the show’s version of the sorting hat, choosing where to call home–the town or Colony House. At the end of the episode, Julie makes the decision to split from her family and instead settle in with Fatima…
Ricky He Talks From “The Way Things Are Now”
[Warning: Spoilers for episode 102 of EPIX’s From.] Epix’s new series From is two episodes in and it’s already laying the groundwork for a seriously spooky season. Tonight’s episode demonstrated the careful balance of relief and horror that the show hits, with our characters’ worst fears realized, just not when…
Catching Up with Ted Lasso and Previewing Season 2
[Warning: General spoilers ahead.] The not so dirty little secret about how I approach a new series is that I sometimes make a call based on the headspace I’m in at the time. It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a show after the first season and then binge…
What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure” The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
Two Takes: The Catch “The Knock-Off”
Who can you trust? If this episode of The Catch was any indication, the answer is just about nobody. Betrayal was running rampant as Felicity (Shivani Ghai) arose from the dead to seduce-con Margot, Gretchen (Maria Thayer, Gotham, The Mindy Project) played gold-hearted Alice 2.0 before swindling Ethan, Tessa jumped…
What They Said: Top 3 Quotable Moments from Preacher “El Valero”
Both Quincannon and Jesse refuse to give up on what they each think is rightfully theirs. While Jesse is struggling to face the consequences of his actions, Quincannon has laid his past demons to rest and is hellbent on moving forward and putting Annville on the map again. Despite a…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Supergirl “Worlds Finest”
Oh, Supergirl. That ending was cold. But I can’t hate on you because the latest episode has quickly become one of my favorites.
What They Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Black Sails “XXIII”
The dialogue in “XXIII” is phenomenal. It’s always a fun ride when Black Sails carries its viewers along without giving them the chance to catch their breath. When an episode moves at this unforgiving pace, there is no chance for a breather nor is there a respite from the information…
What Lucifer Said: Favorite quotes from Supernatural “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”
Supernatural episodes are almost always funny but thanks to the dialogue and a certain man speaking said dialogue, I laughed a lot during “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” You know, when I wasn’t busy fearing for Sam’s life or wondering what in the world was going on with Dean and…
What They Said: The Flash, “Legends Of Today” and Arrow, “Legends Of Yesterday”
Two nights of Arrow +Â The Flash = what more could we ask for?! I don’t know what it is about blending these shows, but I canâ€™t help but feel that every time they come together, they somehow become greater than the sum of their parts. And thatâ€™s saying a lot…
What they Said: Top 4 Quotable Moments from Graceland “Little Bo Bleep”
Shoot outs. Fake outs. And long-awaited revelations. “Little Bo Bleep” was a jam-packed episode that wrapped up some loose ends and totally frayed others. Â It finally gave us one Sarkissian in jail and pulled back the curtain on Briggs’ master plan, but it also set up Jakes for a world…
What They Said: Favorite Quotes from Poldark “Part 4”
â€œWhat have I told you, I don’t require my wife to crochet and sip tea, but I do require her to remember she’s not a beast of burden.â€ No, Iâ€™m not talking about The Rolling Stones! I have to admit though, just for a second, the lyrics popped into my…
3 Moments of Goodness from Brooklyn Nine-Nine “Johnny and Dora”
The most satisfying part of this season’s finale has to the Jake and Amy kiss. Well, they kiss three times but the last one is the best one — and it means something. The Charles and Rosa dynamic was also great. I love how she’s convinced he doesn’t know anything…