Raleigh native and cookbook author Fanny Slater is a co-host of the Food Network show, “Kitchen Sink,” which premieres Jan. 15.
What led to Slater, 31, landing this gig at the Food Network was competing on a cooking contest on the “Rachael Ray Show.” Slater won The Great American Cookbook Competition in 2014 and got to publish her very own cookbook, “Orange, Lavender & Figs,” earlier this year.
A former producer from the “Rachael Ray Show” remembered Slater’s warm, natural demeanor in front of the camera and invited her to audition for “Kitchen Sink,” a show starring the latest Food Network Star winner Tregaye Fraser. Slater and former Top Chef competitor Spike Mendelsohn were chosen as co-hosts.
In a phone interview Thursday, Slater said the trio and guests demonstrate fun recipes, like “pizza dilla cake,” a combination pizza, quesadilla and layer cake; share kitchen tips and hacks; and discuss the latest food trends.
“Sprinkle in expert recipe tips and today’s hottest culinary trends, add a dash of personality and you have the perfect recipe for fun,” said Didi O’Hearn, senior vice president programming for Food Network and Cooking Channel in a press release. “Tregaye, Spike and Fanny are a perfect addition to Food Network’s weekend lineup.”
Slater, a Ravenscroft and Peace College graduate, grew up in Raleigh in a family that loved food. In the 1970s, her mother started what became a multimillion-dollar company called Rachel’s Brownies. Her parents, who are both experienced home cooks, got their daughter interested in cooking as a preschooler. Many Slater family occasions are celebrated at the North Raleigh restaurant Margaux’s.
After college, Slater headed to southern California, hoping to become an actress. “I knew I wanted to be in front of a camera,” Slater said. “I really enjoyed improv more than anything.” The improv classes she took at the Upright Citizens Brigade comedy theater helped Slater win the cookbook contest and land this latest job.
“It’s so much about thinking on your feet,” Slater said.
There are differences between being a television contestant and a television star. On the “Rachael Ray Show,” Slater said the contestants were kept in the dark and even had to be escorted to the bathroom. Now, Slater gets to be the talent, show off her cooking skills and enjoy being pampered in wardrobe and makeup.
“My very first day on set, I’m sitting and having a look around – and just flying,” Slater said.
On Jan. 15, you will find Slater and her friends watching the premiere at her favorite dive bar in Wilmington, the Goat and Compass. A few hours later, she will fly to New Jersey to film some more episodes.
Want to watch?
“Kitchen Sink” will premiere 11 a.m. Jan. 15 on the Food Network. Raleigh native Fanny Slater will co-host the show with “Food Network Star” winner Tregaye Fraser and chef Spike Mendelsohn.