Friday, August 29, 2014

Zero People Zero: Chrissy Varley

Here we go again! Check out this week’s Zero People Zero.


Meet Chrissy Varley, ZPZ’s receptionist. In this installment, Chrissy gives us the low down on how to handle yourself during small talk, why she’s actually a princess on the weekends, and why she’s known as “The Mother of Packages”. Get to know more below. 

NAME: Chrissy Varley

OCCUPATION: Receptionist

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH ZPZ: 1 year and 2 months


TWITTER: @chrissyswarley

INSTAGRAM: @chrissyswarley



ZPZ: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

CV: I’m from Mahopac, NY (upstate, about an hour and half north of Manhattan). I went to School of Visual Arts as a Directing major. Singing is one of my favorite things to do. I like to break out into song at any given point. I grew up in theater and musical theater, so it’s never really left me. On the weekends, I perform as a  Princess/Hostess/Mascot at birthday parties…


[We couldn’t let it go]


[Help us, Chrissy, you’re our only hope…]

CV: Two of my best friends from my home town, Andrew DiDonato (Diddles) and Ryan Lakestream, work here. I found out Lisa Gentile lives in the next town down. So if we are home, we frequent the same movie theaters and shops, which is pretty cool. Also, I usually put myself in embarrassing situations on purpose, so it’s very rare when I actually get bashful. I love to make a fool out of myself!

[Editor’s note: This is what we call homegrown talent]

ZPZ: Tell us a little bit about your job here at ZPZ.

CV: I am Zero Point Zero’s Receptionist. Actually you can see that all my responsibilities/daily routines are written on a post it note taped to the back of my Daenerys Targaryen Pop! Figurine.


Each “title” has been written by various ZPZ employees throughout the time I’ve been here. They are as follows:

  • Mother of Packages
  • Receiver of your lunch Deliveries
  • Wielder of Fortune
  • Protector of the Plants
  • Keeper of the Cable TV
  • Gatherer of all pick sheets

CV: I started out in the equipment room (2nd floor, as we like to call it) with Chris Faulkner, who got me the job. I was his Teacher’s Assistant at SVA when I was attending. After 3 months on the 2nd floor, which I still love (EQUIPMENT REPRESENT!), I was asked to be the receptionist.  

I don’t think there is a better place to work. I look forward to coming to work because the energy here is so positive, bright and friendly. I enjoy seeing everyone’s faces everyday, interacting with them, and I know this sounds strange, but I really like delivering mail/packages. It brings me joy to see someone so relieved when they have been waiting for a package and it finally arrives. It makes me feel like Santa Claus.

ZPZ: Give us your best small talk advice since you’re ZPZ’s receptionist.

CV: My best advice is to just be yourself, laugh and have fun. It’s all about the rapport: listening, body language, knowing when to blab yourself. I enjoy talking to people, chatting with them about there day, which is why I love my job so much. I’m a people person!


1) Choose a character:

  • Julia Child
  • The Hardy Boys
  • Buzz Aldrin
  • Daniel Boone
  • A black swan 

 Choose an activity:

  • Read a history book
  • Help your friend find his cat
  • Enjoy live music
  • Backpack around the French countryside
  • Relax poolside
  • Have a cocktail party with friends

 3) Word to describe yourself:

  • Loyal
  • Intuitive
  • Adventurous
  • Charismatic
  • Genuine

Your Spirit Animal:

  • Sloth
  • Duck
  • Tiger
  • Grizzly Bear
  • Flamingo

 What type of food are you (not what you eat, what type of food would you describes you best:

  • Strawberries
  • Bison Burger
  • Blowfish sashimi
  • Kale Salad
  • Coffee cake + coffee


  • Wrench
  • Knife
  • Tape
  • Matches/Flint
  • Dictionary

ZPZ: YOU’RE city.ballet!

You love to perform in front of people and can transform yourself into any role. You wear your seeds on the outside and aren’t afraid to show it. You know it’s a cutthroat business, but intuitively, you know how to handle any situation. 

ZPZ: TBT: Show us your favorite TBT. Tell us what’s happening in the photo.


[Baby Chrissy. Chowing down since 1990.]


[The one time in my life I felt like a rock star: During a rock concert in my high school. I’m singing Cherry Lips by Garbage]

ZPZ: Do you have any pets? If so, share!


CV: I adopted two cats from Kitty Kind in Union Square: Gigi and Mallow. Gigi is the darker one, Mallow is the orange one. They were Hurricane Sandy Rescues and were found in Breezy Point during their major fires.  Oh and fun fact, they both have similar personalities to Sansa and Arya from Game of Thrones. Mallow is like Sansa (orange) and is a princess, Gigi is like Arya, and she carries around straws in her mouth like a little sword.  

That’s it, y’all. Chrissy’s heading out!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Zero People Zero: Yeong-A Kim

Hey guys! Welcome back to another installment of Zero People Zero.


Meet Assistant Editor of anthonybourdain's Parts Unknown, Yeong-A Kim. A deadly Gonggi master (Korean jacks, a ZPZ Beer O’clock staple game), Yeong-A tells us her secrets to being a successful editor, how she appeared on camera on an episode of No Reservations, and what she’d cook if the president, the pope, and Ryan Gosling came over for a dinner party. Hey, girl. 


INSTAGRAM: @yeonga43


ZPZ: Share a little story with us.

YK: Did you know that I had a speaking part in the Burning Questions episode of No Reservations? If you ever come across the raw footage, I apologize in advance. I basically froze in front of the camera and the whole crew. All I had to do is ask Tony a simple question, but that turned into 10+ takes. To my surprise, however, my rather cringe-worthy performance actually made the cut thanks to the magic of Chris Martinez’s editing.

ZPZ: What’s your job at ZPZ?

YK: I work mainly on Parts Unknown with ZPZ’s veteran editor, Jesse Fisher, who has edited my favorite No Reservation episodes: Romania and Harbin. The edit for each episode takes about 9 weeks. The first week is spent going through the footage and organizing. Jesse then gives me scenes to cut that usually go to Acts 5 and 6. I have the most fun during this phase, where I get to experiment with the footage and find the right music/natural sound that will enhance the feel of the scenes. As the deadline approaches, the experiment phase transitions into final cut. This is when I have to become extremely efficient. After I finish on my end, I send my cuts to Jesse for approval, and from there we deliver the episode to the network for notes. We are currently working on the Bronx episode, and we’re scheduled to lock our cut this week.    

ZPZ: How did you find out about ZPZ?

YK: My parents sent me to America with a dream that one day I would work in corporate finance. I earned a degree in Economics and was looking to get a toehold on the fast-food industry when one day, helencho asked if I would be interested in interning at ZPZ. When a full-time position was offered, to my parent’s consternation, I accepted, and the rest, as they say, is history. Now my parents are fans of the show, and they often brag to their friends that I work for an Emmy-award winning show, sometimes showing the Burning Questions clip where I make an appearance. It’s funny how that one serendipitous moment has been so life-altering. 

ZPZ: Any advice you’d like to give someone who’s into editing?

Below tips are from veteran editors at ZPZ:

• There’s a sign, which reads, “JUST FLY THE HELICOPTER" hanging on a wall in Chris Martinez’s office. It means that transport helicopter pilots do not directly take part in combats in a war. Instead, they pilot their choppers into battle zones in order to transport the soldiers to and from battles. The phrase ‘just fly the helicopter’ means editors are merely the pilots, not the combatants.  When you are hired to fly the helicopter, don’t try to be a combatant. Put 100% of your creative effort on the rough cut. But once it’s time for notes, don’t take it personally if your work has been changed for variety of reasons.  

• DO NOT SAY A WORD ABOUT YOUR CUT BEFORE SHOWING IT TO ANYONE: expectations can ruin the viewing experience. Rule of thumb in editing is to curb expectations. 

• IF YOU HAVE TIME TO THROW IN TITLE CARDS FOR B-ROLL, SPEND THAT TIME LOOKING FOR B-ROLL: not all editors agree on this, but even if it’s not a perfect shot, it feels more complete when seeing the actual footage as opposed to a slate. 

• STAY AWAY FROM DISSOLVES TO END THE MUSIC, LOOK FOR A GOOD STING: even if the song has a great beginning, if it has a weak ending, don’t use it. 

Here is a great little segment on editing with Chris Martinez made by Adam Lupsha few years ago [CLICK HERE!]

What were your top 5 songs of the last five years?

2010: Losing My Edge by LCD Soundsystem

Graduated from college and felt unsure of myself and my future. Listening to this song was cathartic. I felt like the writer of this song understood me. 

 2011: Black and Yellow by Wiz Khalifa

This is the song that kicked off our annual Black & Yellow birthday bash.

If you don’t know what we’re talking about, watch the video below…

(Ephraim and Yeong-A know what it is…]

2012: Cray-on by G-Dragon

Sure, PSY’s Gangnam Style wast popular, but this is real K-pop.

2013: Happy Together by The Turtles

Inspired by what was going on with Proposition 8, I re-watched the film ‘Happy Together’ by Wong Kar Wai. Prior to watching this film, I always associated the song with heterosexual bias, but the love between the two men in this film is one of the greatest love story ever told. 

2014: Oh Pilsung Korea! by YB 

Another world cup has come and gone, and it was a disappointing year for Korea. This song came out in 2002 when Korea (for the first time in its history) not only made it past the first round, but my country’s team got to the semi-finals. This goes out to all my Korean unnis in the office — Anna, Kimberly, Nari, and Helen. Repeat 2002!

ZPZ: Snap some pics of what’s happening in post department these days.


Chrissy — She’s the first person i see every morning, smiling. How can you smile before noon?


Prema — Working hard in the bullpen area, while others are drinking on 21.


[Ross — 19th floor mascot, often seen at 3 AM sleeping here to make the call time] 


[Manny — The morning after the Hunt wrap party. He needs his beauty sleep.]


[Benny — Representing String & Can. Fancy mix room and equipment $$$.]


[Lin & Lorca – This is a typical edit room view. (Not staged at all.)  ]


[Martinez — This is just a bonus for Martinez Fanclub at ZPZ. ]

ZPZ: If you were to prepare a feast for the president of the United States, Ryan Gosling, and the Pope, tell us what you’d make.

YK: As a Korean, I am proud of our culture and our food. Unlike many people at the office, I am not good at cooking. I would, however, cook a dish I feel comfortable preparing called, Budhae Jjigae, which translated means, solider stew. Budhae Jjigae is a spicy, kimchi-based stew, which contains some western ingredients like hotdogs, baked beans, corn, cheese, and Spam. Solider stew came about during the Korean War, when many Koreans were destitute and hungry. Reports and witnessing of Korean people picking through the American food garbage warmed the hearts of G.I.s and thus many American soldiers gave away some of their rations to the local hungry people. The Koreans then took these American food items back to their homes and added them to their traditional dish, Kimchi Jjigae. This is how Budhae Jjigae was born. (This is also why Koreans love their Spam.)

Budae Jjigae remains a popular dish to this day, and restaurants that specialize in serving this dish can be found all over Korea. 

I think president Obama would find this meal interesting because it is rooted in American military history, the pope would appreciate Koreans’ resilience and their collective hope for the future, and Ryan…well, who doesn’t appreciate him…

Now go and play some Gonggi against a master!



Thursday, August 21, 2014

‪#‎JoinTheHunt‬ with John Walsh this Sunday at 9PM to help bring in the fugitive, Victor Barnard, to justice.

Here’s the trailer of what to expect on the upcoming episode:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Over the weekend, the ZPZ team behind anthonybourdain's Parts Unknown took home the award for Outstanding Informational Series at the Emmys (a tie with HBO's Vice).

Here are a few photos from the day’s ceremony. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014
The ZPZ crew is live at the #CreativeArtsEmmys for their nominations for @Bourdain’s #PartsUnknown.

The ZPZ crew is live at the #CreativeArtsEmmys for their nominations for @Bourdain’s #PartsUnknown.

Friday, August 15, 2014

On Sunday’s “The Hunt”, help John Walsh (Official) find the fugitive 
Guillermo Madrigal Ballesteros, who is accused of operating a smuggling ring that led to the grisly deaths of 11 immigrants.

Here’s the trailer of the upcoming episode:

#JoinTheHunt on 9PM ET/PT on CNN

Thursday, August 14, 2014
The ZPZ Equipment team testing Sony’s new A7S! (via Equipment Manager, Kris Lindenmuth)

The ZPZ Equipment team testing Sony’s new A7S! (via Equipment Manager, Kris Lindenmuth)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Hey ZPZers, take John Walsh’s advice and come back around 6pm to join The Hunt wrap party! 

Hey ZPZers, take John Walsh’s advice and come back around 6pm to join The Hunt wrap party! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014
After appearing in an interview with anthonybourdain on an upcoming‪#‎PartsUnknown‬ episode, Washington Post World correspondent, Jason Rezaian and his wife were detained in Iran.
Watch the video clip here »

After appearing in an interview with anthonybourdain on an upcoming‪#‎PartsUnknown‬ episode, Washington Post World correspondent, Jason Rezaian and his wife were detained in Iran.

Watch the video clip here »

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

To get out of this rut, avowed cinephile Anthony Bourdain made a break with the principles of reality-TV style and instead looked to auteur filmmaking, viewing each show as a standalone feature with specific cinematic reference points, themes and Dogma-style self-imposed technical limitations.

The result: One of the most visually and compositionally adventurous nonfiction shows on television, and one that manages to evoke the flavor of certain environs and characters in a far more immersive manner than simple documentary shooting.

Read the full article at Variety
Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Check out the first installment of Steven Rinella - MeatEater’s animated series: The Animated History of Daniel Boone and Bear Bacon with Steven Rinella. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Zero People Zero: L.B. Edwards

We’re back with another Zero People Zero!


This is LB Edwards, our Equipment Inventory Specialist at ZPZ. In this entry of Zero People Zero, LB tells us about his love for the great outdoors, gives us a little insight into the cool camera rigs at ZPZ, and even shares an almond cookie recipe! 


TWITTER: @albieds

INSTAGRAM: @albieds

WEBSITE: - Just photo portfolio for now, more coming soon!


ZPZ: Share a story with us.

LB: I’ll share one of my favorite stories from when I worked at Roundup River Ranch. It’s a summer camp in Colorado for kids with serious and life-threatening illnesses, and is part of Paul Newman’s SeriousFun Network. I ran activities and entertainment for the campers as well as the 40 ft. rock wall and rope course.


One camper, Jason, who was small 7 year old, had made three attempts at the rock wall before he overcame his fear of heights and made it to the top. Unfortunately, by the time I had him strapped in for the zip-line, he froze up in fear. He sat there attached to the wires and watched the other kids come up the rock wall and go down the zip-line for nearly an hour. I was worried we were going to have to get creative with how to get him off the tower.

But then, the last camper came up — her name was Austen. Instead of just moving on to the zip-line for a second time that day, she wanted to help the boy who was stuck. Austen told him it’s the best way down and the most fun. She was friendly and encouraged him without pressuring him. I asked Jason to take a deep breath in and out, and “smell the cookies” …as we say at camp. All three of us took a few minutes to breathe in and out together. Finally, he felt calm and composed, and said he was ready. I strapped him to the zip-line, and after a few moments, he let himself jump. Halfway down the line Jason turned around and had the biggest smile on his face. :)

As soon as I clipped Austen to the zip-line, she too froze up just like Jason. She laughed at the irony, and we “smelled the cookies” together for a little bit. Once her nerves calmed, she told me, “Wow, that really works. You should be a psychologist!” And with that, she sat down, pushed off the zip-line and screamed like it was the most terrifying/thrilling thing in her life, and then she also turned around and had that same big smile on her face.

ZPZ: Tell us how you got the job, what you do now, and some rewarding moments working for ZPZ.  

LB: After two months of freelancing small gigs here and there, I found a ZPZ job posting, researched the company and actually found Adam Lupsha’s old blog, the ZPZ WaterCooler. I got a sneak peek at the company culture and got excited. Growing up, I had always watched “No Reservations” when I was playing hooky from school, and coincidentally I ate at Bourdain’s Les Halles around the same time I applied for the job. During my interview before Christmas, we found out that Kris (ZPZ’s Equipment Manager) and I grew up in the same town of Chalfont, Pennsylvania. Kris worked at the neighborhood Dairy Queen back in the day and I always ordered butterfinger blizzards from him. Oh how the the tables have turned…

Working in the Equipment Department has great perks. Awesome gear to test out different configurations, combinations and customizations — from soldering adapters to making a fully functioning camera out of an old beat-up one. It’s an empowering experience to create and fix and build. The possibilities are endless, each day is different in the Equipment room.

But, the best part of the job is the people I get to interact with. I love hearing stories from the producers and DPs on the road, and then seeing those stories come to life in the edit. I’ve been lucky enough to see some early cuts of great shows. We get to support such creative people — the Equipment room is truly the beginning and ending of every show. The life cycle of gear is a story in itself.


ZPZ: Tell us some cool things ZPZ does with their equipment (modifications, customizations, cool rigs)? 

LB: Our custom made shoulder and monitor mounts are pretty innovative; made in Brooklyn, adaptable to our three main full-frame cameras - C300, F3 and F5 and its super-duper light and connects to a v-plate tripod adapter (or VCT)! Props to Chris Faulkner for developing that design. We use it on nearly everything we shoot.  But my favorite item is the Vocas Wooden Handgrips - you really can’t cut corners when it comes to comfort and the grip is like none other.

Here are some other things worth noting:

-Infrared Canon 60D 

(still currently on a eight-month long time lapse shoot)

-GoPro Array - for those sweet “bullet time” effects
-GoPro 3rd Person ‘Tail”
-GoPro 360 Rig - Similar to the effect of the Google Street View Hyperlapse

-GoPro DeathStar 


-The FS700/F5 with the Canon 500mm Lens Rig

ZPZ: What’s a funny job you’ve held over the years?


LB: The coolest job (outside ZPZ, of course) was when I was a photographer in Breckenridge, Colorado. Not only did I ski one million vertical feet in 138 days, I also took more photos than I ever will in a lifetime, and the Rocky Mountains backdrop ain’t too shabby.  When there were freezing temperatures and harsh winds, the mountains always calmed my nerves…as did Swanny Toaster Mitts: a must have for any camera person working outdoors in the cold!

ZPZ: Tell us about your love for the great outdoors and give some backpacking advice.


LB: I keep a log of every hike I’ve ever done no matter how short or long. Every step counts.

The most miles I’ve hiked in a day was 25 miles. The highest I’ve been is about 14,200 ft in elevation, and I’ve summitted about 10 mountains at that elevation (known as “14-ers” in Colorado). In 2012 I hiked a little over 500 miles.


There are so many factors that can make a hike difficult; the environment, the terrain, physical endurance, injuries, and psychological challenges.  The coolest hike I’ve done was Half Dome in Yosemite, which I climbed in July.


Long’s Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park is a wickedly intense hike and the scariest I’ve done because of the variety of challenges it has — loose rock switchbacks, boulder fields, narrow cliff passages all near 14,000 feet in elevation. But it’s the Northern-most 14er, so from its summit you can see nearly all the other mountains in Colorado, so it’s worth it. The worst part… climbing back down.


Colorado is a great place to hike but my heart and soul lie in the hills of Pennsylvania. My favorite stretch on the Appalachian Trail is from Port Clinton to the Delaware Water Gap which includes the Blue Mountain Pinnacle outside of Hamburg.


I’ve hiked the BMP half a dozen times now — solo at dusk, at sunrise in the snow, in the rain. The Delaware Water Gap is one of my favorite views, full of steep climbs, copperheads, rattlers and on a crisp clear day you can see the Delaware River swerving for miles cutting Pennsylvania from New Jersey.

My tricks of the trade for lightweight backpacking:


- Trader Joe’s Pop-up Sponges - use these to dry your tarp, tent or rain fly quickly from a morning rain. It prevents you from having to carry a wet tent all day (extra weight). Once the sponge is fully wet, you can make it your mess kit sponge. Rinse & repeat.

-Lint - You know that thing you always forget to remove when doing laundry? It’s is amazing at starting a fire and it could save your life on a hike when dry kindling isn’t available. And no, belly button lint doesn’t count.

-Knife - I just picked up a bushcrafting knife and I’ve used it in more ways than just a knife. Get a ferro rod and you’ll never be kicking yourself again when you forget that bic lighter you thought you had buried in your backpack.

-Hammock - I usually backpack with a special someone and so I’ll bring my two-person Ultralight Big Agnes Copper Spur tent, but after hiking more than ten miles a day, you need a little siesta, and the cold hard ground ain’t gonna cut it. I always carry my Grand Trunk hammock with me. If I’m solo, I’ll leave the tent and sleep in the hammock.  Speaking of hammocks, I’ll be sharing a short documentary trailer I produced about a man who lived in a hammock in Central Park for 6 months. You’ve never looked it up, have you? Follow my instagram for an update when that’s ready.

-Camera - Never leave home without it.

ZPZ: You always bring goodies to lunch and share them with your co-workers (now everyone at ZPZ knows). Share a recipe.

LB: Hahah, well I wish I could share my girlfriend’s family chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I cherish my life too much to give that one away.

My best recipe is a very soft, hearty almond cookie. The camp I mentioned was nut free, so I think afterwards I just went nuts (especially almonds) to make up for it.

½ cup of softened butter
¼ cup of white sugar
¼ cup of brown sugar
1 egg
1 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup of hand-ground sliced almonds
2 teaspoons of Organic Almond Extract
¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
¼ teaspoon of coriander
1 cup of Dark Chocolate Covered Almonds (use to top each cookie after baking)

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Cream the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg, extract, cinnamon, coriander and almonds. Slowly mix in the flour. Drop teaspoons onto a ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes. Yields about a dozen. As long as you don’t eat too much of the cookie dough!

Pro-tip: Double the recipe and share! A little sea salt on the melting chocolate is nice touch too!

[Editor’s note: All cookies were eaten before pictures could be take, we’re truly sorry]

ZPZ: As one of the bearded brethren at ZPZ, what did you look like without a beard?

LB: I’ve always had a beard. “Maybe he’s born with it…” 


No, but seriously, here are some progressions to beardage…






ZPZ: Anything else you’d like to share?

LB: Between the quality of our products and the people behind them, I feel honored to work at ZPZ. This past week was a good example of it; A child molester was caught by the FBI in the West Village after the Police got a tip from a viewer who recognized the guy on our show, The Hunt. Meanwhile, anthonybourdain is finding a way to write about tacos and immigrants’ rights tastefully in one article. There’s a lot of junk filling our TVs and computers, so I think it’s rare to be able to work in this industry and simultaneously say that you are contributing to some social good.


Thursday, July 31, 2014
"The Hunt with John Walsh (Official)" continues to deliver strong ratings in both total viewers and in the key 25-54 demo.
Make sure to ‪#‎JoinTheHunt‬ Sunday nights at 9PM ET on CNN»

"The Hunt with John Walsh (Official)" continues to deliver strong ratings in both total viewers and in the key 25-54 demo.

Make sure to ‪#‎JoinTheHunt‬ Sunday nights at 9PM ET on CNN

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 Friday, July 25, 2014

Zero People Zero: Allie Chaden

Welcome back to Zero People Zero. Meet Allie Chaden, one of ZPZ’s producers.


In this installment, Allie teleports us to different places around the world to eat her favorite food, shows us how she’s the modern day Mary Poppins (seriously, she is), and even writes a little poem for us.

NAME: Alexandra Chaden 


HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WITH ZPZ: 4 years, on-and-off


INSTAGRAM: @achaden


ZPZ: Tell us something about yourself that people wouldn’t know. Any hidden talents? 

AC: I rarely tell the chefs we work with, but I have a culinary degree. About two months into the fifteen-month program, I realized I didn’t have the talent or drive or desire to be a top chef, like some of my peers. I also looked ridiculous in chef’s whites. Those jackets aren’t cut for girls with curves.

Turns out I far prefer eating good food than cooking it. But I did love the education, and worked my ass off to learn as much as I could. So I am a decent cook. I make a mean roast chicken and I have a way with eggs.


[Proof of her roast chicken prowess]

Sadly, I harbor no hidden talents (although I’m really good at crossing my eyes and curling my tongue).

ZPZ: What’s your job here at ZPZ?

AC: I’m a producer who works mainly on food shows. I started as a total rube – the Production Assistant on a funky interactive project about David Chang. That little project turned into mindofachef, and I’ve now worked on all three seasons. I’ve also worked on Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ Make It Vegan!, and just finished a 3-week shoot in Europe for an upcoming food & travel series (I could tell you more about that but I’d have to kill you…it hasn’t been announced yet).

Not to sound cliché, but what the hell – “There’s no typical day!” Every day looks a bit different. If I’m working on MOAC (insider acronym for Mind of a Chef – you’re welcome), I spend a lot of time calling people and convincing them to film with us. Creating that show starts with back-and-forth between our team and the chefs – we have to explore what inspires and influences them, read their books, talk to them to get what’s important to them. Then we brainstorm and create our ideal wish list of episodes and scenes. Then comes the actual producing – making that wish list a reality. Which we do through emails, calls, meetings – all the glamorous stuff.

Once creative is set, it’s logistics – booking flights, hotels, scheduling, pulling together equipment. Not to sound cliché again, but it takes a village to make these shows. We have coordinators and PAs who help with car rentals and research, an entire equipment department who is outstanding and who makes sure we’re appropriately geared up, some of the best DPs in the business, and editors and a post department that turn our hours of footage into Emmy gold.

In a past life I went to a culinary school, and chefs have always been my demi-gods. Even though some days can be incredibly challenging, I feel like the cost-benefit analysis of what I do always evens out in the end. On a recent shoot, we were in the field for three weeks straight. Three weeks, three countries, four cities, five hotels. We dealt with canceled flights, canceled hotel rooms, a broken production van, 16 hour days, exhaustion. But on the very same trip, I got to bum around Barcelona with Albert Adria, a food hero of mine, and drink hot cocoa with him at his favorite local diner, sample some of his insanely inventive and surprising tapas at Tickets, and check out his new, raw restaurant space. In Paris we had unprecedented access to a 3-Michelin-starred chef’s private gardens. Our host – and, inadvertently, the whole crew – went on a gelato tour of Florence. They pay me for that. So it’s hard to complain about the hard work that goes into making it all happen.

ZPZ: Let’s say you knew that you had one full day to live and eat your favorite foods. Give us the rundown: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

AC: If I could have any superpower, it would OBVIOUSLY be teleportation. So with that in mind, my perfect food day would probably read like this:


I’d start with a cappuccino from Tarallucci e Vino, because it’s in my neighborhood AND it’s the only place in Manhattan where I’ve found coffee to rival that of Italy’s

Then I’d get a bacon-egg-and-cheese on wheat toast, add plenty of ketchup

I’d buy a green juice – something with ginger! – from Organic Avenue to feel like I was eating healthy


For lunch I’d get a tuna melt and lime rickey from Eisenberg’s

Then an ice cream from Van Leeuwen (pistachio and strawberry)

I’d eat my mother’s chopped liver for a snack, along with some matzoh ball soup from Second Avenue Deli


For dinner I’d snap my fingers and be back in Citta delle Pieve in Umbria, Italy, and eat at this family-run trattoria called Bruno, where I recently had the best meal of my life. There was risotto with saffron and favas, handmade pappardelle with cinghiale (wild boar) ragu, braised rabbit with tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala with lightly grilled summer vegetables, spaghetti with black truffles.

Afterwards I’d sit at the bar with Claudio (Bruno’s son) and our Italian crew, and watch the World Cup on a tiny iPad while washing the last morsels of the meal down with grappa.

 After that day I think I could officially die happy.

ZPZ: What are your most played songs of all time?

AC: Oh wow. This is getting intimate. My taste is constantly changing – I’m fickle. But these songs and the artists that play them should shed some insight into what I listen to 

 [Did Drake make the list again!?] 

ZPZ: Share your favorite throwback photo(s).


[I was turning 5(?). We were still living in LA so had to have been before I was 6. I was always a VERY social child, and loved a good party even from a young age. I think I’d seen my mother enthusiastically greet guests whenever she entertained, and I was trying to be as emphatic and excited as her. So when my buddy Jeremy showed up, I went all Liza Minnelli jazz hands and stage smile on him. To be honest, it’s a face I still make today…]


[This Pre-Teen-in-Tiaras picture was from a friend’s birthday party in the late 1980s/early 1990s. We went to a salon in town and got our hair & makeup did. I had these bright red glasses since the 2nd grade, and everyone called me Sally Jessy (as in Raphael). I convinced myself that that was some sort of compliment.]

ZPZ: What are some essentials you keep with you at all time, and why?


[Some of the contents listed below could not fit in the picture]


– Aquaphor – for dry skin

– Neosporin & band aids – for unforeseen scrapes and knife wounds (working on cooking shows, these happen more than you’d think)

– Hair ties – for tying back hair and serving as emergency rubber bands

Jacobsen Salt – because I am a salt addict and Ben Jacobsen is a genius

– Dark chocolate – because offering chocolate to people helps you make friends

– An iPhone charger, because I am constantly emailing, calling, googling, etc when working

– Gum – to keep breath fresh and to serve as emergency epoxy, a la MacGyver

– Sunglasses – to shield the bags under my eyes

– Lighter – because sometimes production is stressful and a girl needs a cigarette, okay? Don’t judge.

– Oh, and rye whiskey – because it is delicious and makes the world seem softer.

ZPZ: Write a haiku that you live by.


Why pay for something

That a smile and a sly wink

Could get you for free


[Wait, who’s that in the back?]