Back in 1993, the Food Network hit the airwaves. Originally called TV Food Network, the channel really got into its groove after a few years and launched the careers of numerous celebrity chefs. But what are the biggest Food Network names doing today? Wonderwall.com is investigating, starting with one famous TV chef and author who's celebrating her 54th birthday on July 3, 2020 — Sandra Lee. For those of us who aren't as skilled in the kitchen, her "Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee" was a breath of fresh air when it debuted on the network in 2003. Her brand of cooking involved using a majority of premade store-bought items paired with fresh ingredients. So what's Sandra up to today? Keep reading to find out…
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Sandra Lee's approach to cooking resonated with TV viewers. Her second series on the Food Network, "Sandra's Money Saving Meals," debuted in 2009. She's released 25 cookbooks and books including the 2007 memoir "Made From Scratch." Her first show also inspired a magazine, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade, in 2009. Sandra won a Daytime Emmy in 2012 for best lifestyle/culinary host for her work on "Semi-Homemade Cooking." That same year, she moved over to the Cooking Channel with new shows "Sandra's Restaurant Remakes" and "Sandra Lee's Taverns, Lounges & Clubs." Though her original Food Network show ended in 2011 with its 15th season, Sandra has been back on the channel for specials like 2016's "Sandra Lee's Haunted Halloween." She split from her first husband, Bruce Karatz, in 2005 and that fall started dating New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was by her side as she battled breast cancer in 2015 and 2016. After 14 years together, the two announced in September 2019 that they'd broken up. "Over the recent past, we have realized that our lives have gone in different directions and our romantic relationship has turned into a deep friendship," they said in a statement.
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Ina Garten rose to fame as the host of the Food Network cooking show "Barefoot Contessa," which debuted in 2002.
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Die-hard Ina Garten fans are already aware that "Barefoot Contessa" has been on the air for nearly two decades. In 2006, Ina was also featured on the series "Chefography," a show that explores the biographies of some of the Food Network's most popular personalities. Since launching her cooking show, Ina has won three Daytime Emmys for her culinary show hosting skills and has also continued to release popular cookbooks — from 2004's "Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home" to 2018's "Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks." She also expanded her cooking empire to include magazines: Ina has been writing monthly columns for "O, The Oprah Magazine" and "House Beautiful" since 2003 and 2006, respectively. She's been married to Jeffrey Garten — a former government official and dean emeritus at the Yale School of Management (who's also the inspiration behind 2016's "Cooking for Jeffrey: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook) — since 1968.
Guy Fieri debuted on the Food Network after winning the second season of "The Food Network Star" in 2006. He went on to host his first series, "Guy's Big Bite," that same year. Little did he know that the show would launch him to celebrity chef stardom…
Since becoming a member of the Food Network family, Guy Fieri's primetime shows have been credited with attracting more male viewers than any others on the network, according to The New York Times. A year after debuting "Guy's Big Bite," in 2007 he started hosting "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." He went on to host countless other shows on the network including "Ultimate Recipe Showdown," "Minute to Win It," "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off," "Guy's Grocery Games" and "Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off." In 2012, he opened his first New York City restaurant, Guy's American Kitchen and Bar, which received a searing review from New York Times critic Pete Wells, whom Guy accused of using his name to further the journalist's career. The restaurant closed its doors in early 2018. Guy has since created more restaurants including Guy Fieri's Vegas Kitchen and Bar, Guy Fieri's Baltimore Kitchen & Bar and Guy's Burger Joint on Carnival Cruise lines. The chef — who shares sons Hunter and Ryder with wife Lori, whom he married in 1995 — collects classic American cars and made a cameo in the Seth Rogen-James Franco movie "The Interview" in 2014.
Celebrity chef Aarón Sánchez made his Food Network debut on the short-lived series "Melting Pot," which he hosted alongside chef Alex Garcia from 2001 to 2002.
Aarón Sánchez has appeared on numerous Food Network television shows like "Boy Meets Grill," "Throwdown! With Bobby Flay," "Chefs vs. City," "Food Network Star" and "The Best Thing I Ever Made" over the years. From 2009 to 2017, he was a judge on the popular Food Network series "Chopped" and also judged spinoff "Chopped Junior" from 2015 to 2016. Since 2016, Aarón has been a judge on FOX's "MasterChef" alongside Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich. Two years later, he also became a judge on "MasterChef Junior." In addition to releasing two cookbooks (2003's "La Comida del Barrio: Latin-American Cooking in the U.S.A." and 2011's "Simple Food Big Flavor: Unforgettable Mexican-Inspired Recipes from My Kitchen to Yours"), Aarón, who owns the New Orleans restaurant Johnny Sanchez, also wrote a memoir — "Where I Come From: Life Lessons From a Latino Chef" — that was published in 2019. He shares a son, Yuma, with ex-wife Ife Mora, a singer.
Back in 2001, a little-known cook named Rachael Ray joined the Food Network family with her wildly popular series "30-Minute Meals."
After launching her career on the Food Network, Rachael Ray stuck around for 11 seasons, with her show ending in 2012. She's had multiple shows on the network since, including "Rachael's Vacation" in 2008 and a short-lived Latin cooking show she executive produced called "Viva Daisy!" that same year. In 2012, she also starred on "Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off" with fellow Food Network star Guy Fieri. Aside from popping up on the Food Network, the chef also launched her own talk show in 2006, "The Rachael Ray Show," after finding a larger audience after appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." She has a popular cookware line and introduced the Nutrish line of pet food in 2008, with proceeds going to her Rachael's Rescue charity to help at-risk animals. She expanded to interior design with a line of sheets, blankets and coverlets with WestPoint Home in 2007 and the Rachael Ray Home Collection in 2016. And, like many of her fellow former Food Network stars, she's also penned numerous cookbooks and launched her own magazine. Rachael has been married to John M. Cusimano since 2005.
Emeril Lagasse first graced the Food Network during its inaugural year in 1993 when he hosted "How to Boil Water," then went on to land his own show, "Essence of Emeril," a year later in 1994. That was followed by his other hit series, "Emeril Live." Being on the Food Network made him a household name and had people everywhere yelling "Bam!" and "Kick it up a notch!" in the kitchen.
Emeril Lagasse's "Emeril Live" ran for a decade, coming to a close in 2007. "Essence of Emeril," which originally aired from 1994 to 1996, came back from 2000 to 2007. The chef didn't completely leave TV, however, instead switching gears to host things like "The Emeril Lagasse Show" on Ion Television in 2010 and Hallmark Channel's "Emeril's Table" in 2011. "Emeril's Florida" ran on the Cooking Channel from 2013 until 2016, but more recently, he did "Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse" for Amazon, which won him his first Daytime Emmy for best culinary program in 2017. Aside from popular shows and cookbooks, Emeril has also cultivated a lucrative merchandise business with products ranging from pasta sauces and salsas to kitchen knives and electrical appliances. Emeril also runs successful restaurants in four cities — New Orleans, Las Vegas, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and Miramar Beach, Florida. He's been married to third wife Alden Lovelace since 2000. They share two children together and currently reside in Florida.
Bobby Flay rose to fame in the '90s on the Food Network, appearing on 14 cooking specials and shows over the years. What is he up to today?
Some of Bobby Flay's most successful shows on the Food Network continue to run, including "Beat Bobby Flay" and "Worst Cooks in America." He also starred on hits like "BBQ with Bobby Flay," "Boy Meets Grill," "Bobby Flay's Barbecue Addiction," "Throwdown! with Bobby Flay" and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." He's also appeared as himself on the game show "Pyramid" in 2003, on an episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" in 2005 and in the film "East Broadway" in 2006. More recently, he's popped up as himself on "Younger" in 2016 and voiced a character in "Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost" in 2018. Off screen, he has numerous successful restaurants including multiple locations of Bobby's Burger Palace and Mesa Grill and a Bobby Flay Steak and Bar Americain. As for his personal life, Bobby has been wed three times with his most recent marriage, to actress Stephanie March, ending in 2005. He was most recently linked to actress Helene Yorke but revealed in 2019 that they'd split.
Paula Deen was one of the most popular Food Network stars ever thanks to her show "Paula's Home Cooking," which showcased her phenomenal (and largely unhealthy!) Southern dishes.
"Paula's Home Cooking" ran from 2002 until 2012 and earned Paula Deen a Daytime Emmy Award for best lifestyle host in 2007. Paula received criticism for her unhealthy recipes, which famously featured heaps of her favorite ingredient — butter! — and in 2012 revealed she'd been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes years earlier (she proceeded to lose a significant amount of weight by changing her diet). But it was her scandals that made the channel part ways with the star. She admitted to using the N-word during a lawsuit deposition, resulting in the Food Network terminating her contract. After the network cut ties, Paula popped up on TV screens a few more times. She competed on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2015 and served as a guest judge on "MasterChef." Professionally, she launched a website and two shows on the rural-focused cable channel RFD-TV — "Positively Paula" and "Paula Deen's Sweet Home Savannah." The cook also continued to work at her popular restaurants, opening her most recent venture in 2018 — Paula Deen's Family Kitchen in Fairview, Texas. She has two sons — Jamie and Bobby — from her first marriage, and has been happily married to Michael Groover since 2004.
"Good Eats" creator and host Alton Brown has been on the Food Network since 1999. What's he up to nowadays?
Alton Brown has established himself as one of the Food Network's most recognizable hosts. He's gone on to host popular cooking shows like "Feasting on Asphalt," "Corn Chef America" and "Cutthroat Kitchen." In addition to creating his own podcast, "The Alton Browncast," he launched his first national tour, "The Edible Inevitable Tour," in 2013 and its follow-up, "Eat Your Science," in 2016. Both tours incorporated "comedy, talk show antics, multimedia presentations and music." In 2020, amidst the coronavirus pandemic, Alton created two YouTube cooking series — "Pantry Raid" and "Quarantine Quitchen." After divorcing first wife DeAnna, a "Good Eats" executive producer, in 2015, Alton married restaurant designer Elizabeth Ingram in 2018.
While he rose to fame in 1999 as the host of the BBC show "The Naked Chef," Jamie Oliver also gained popularity with North American audiences in the years that followed. He hosted "Jamie at Home" for the Food Network in 2008.
Since "The Naked Chef" came to an end in 2001, Jamie Oliver has continued to build a name for himself. He's starred on nearly 40 television shows and specials over the years including "Jamie's School Dinners," "Jamie's Chef," "Jamie's Ministry of Food," "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," "Jamie at Home" and "Jamie's Super Food." The longtime advocate for improving school lunches launched his first high street restaurant, Jamie's Italian, in 2008 in Oxford, England, and at one point, there were 42 of them in the United Kingdom alone! A year later, he opened Recipease, a chain of cooking schools throughout Britain, though all were closed by the end of 2015. In May 2019, The Guardian reported that all but three of his 25 U.K. restaurants had shut down. The closures marked a significant blow to the famed chef and cookbook author's empire, which suffered in other ways too: In 2017, Jamie, his food magazine, closed down after a decade of publishing. In 2020, he premiered a quarantine cooking show, "Jamie: Keep Cooking and Carry On," in which he prepared meals with limited ingredients at home amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamie and wife Jools, whom he married in 2000, welcomed their fifth child, son River Rocket, in 2016. He joined whimsically named siblings Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Petal Blossom and Buddy Bear.
Pat and Gina Neely were first discovered by Food Network star Paula Deen after her sons, Bobby and Jamie Deen, featured their Nashville restaurant, Neely's Bar-B-Que, on their show "Road Tasted." They later appeared on Paula's show "Paula's Party," and shortly thereafter launched their own program on the network — "Down Home With the Neelys." So where are they today?
After finding success with their own show, Pat and Gina Neely took over "Road Tasted" from Jamie and Bobby Deen. They also wrote a cookbook in 2009, "Down Home with the Neelys: A Southern Family Cookbook." They switched gears and dabbled in reality television, appearing on an episode of "Wife Swap." But sadly, Pat Neely and Gina Neely went their separate ways in September 2014. They share two daughters. Pat hosted the game show "Save to Win" on The CW from 2016 to 2017, and these days is active on social media where he continues to share recipes. He remarried in 2017, tying the knot with Tamika Parks, with whom he had two more children. As for Gina…
After her success on the Food Network, Gina Neely transitioned to a life offscreen — save for an appearance on the Bravo reality show "To Rome With Love." Still single, she now works as a motivational speaker and philanthropist and lives in Atlanta with her two daughters.
Tyler Florence has been a Food Network staple since 1999, which is when he started hosting the popular series "Food 911." Where is he now?
Food Network devotees know Tyler Florence is still on the channel and that he's starred on numerous shows over the last two decades — from "How to Boil Water," "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and "Bite Club" to "Globe Trekker" and "Food Court Wars." These days, he can still be seen hosting "The Great Food Truck Race" and "Worst Cooks in America," but also has taken his love of food off the small screen. Aside from writing cookbooks, Tyler has opened restaurants in Northern California — the Wayfare Tavern in downtown San Francisco, Rotisserie & Wine in Napa and El Paseo in Mill Valley. Tyler, who has an adult son from his first marriage, wed his second wife, former Miss Wyoming Tolan Clark, in 2006. They have two kids.
Sara Moulton became a hit on the Food Network with the debut of her show "Cooking Live" in 1997. She was recognized as one of the network's original stars. Let's see what she's been up to…
After hosting "Cooking Live," which concluded in 2002, Sara Moulton went on to host "Sara's Secrets" on the Food Network from 2002 to 2005. In 2008. She became the host of PBS's "Sara's Weeknight Meals," which began airing its ninth season in the fall of 2019 and earned Sara a James Beard Award in 2013. Like many Food Network stars, Sara wrote cookbooks, including 2005's "Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals," and 2010's "Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners." She was awarded the Leadership Award from the Culinary Institute of America in 2018.
First hired as a food stylist by the Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis quickly made a name for herself after getting her own show, "Everyday Italian," which debuted in 2003.
Giada De Laurentiis's time on the Food Network was lengthy. She hosted "Everyday Italian" until 2011 but also popped up on other shows on the network over the years. She started hosting "Behind the Bash" in 2006, then the following year started "Giada's Weekend Getaways." Later that year, she had a two-part special, "Giada in Paradise," and in 2008, she won her first Daytime Emmy for best lifestyle host for her work on "Everyday Italian." Like many other Food Network stars, Giada wrote cookbooks, launched her own line of kitchen supplies (for Target in 2010) and opened her own restaurant, GIADA, in Las Vegas in 2014. She now has another restaurant in Vegas, Pronto by Giada, and opened a restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland, called GDL Italian by Giada. She's also worked as a voice actress on the children's show "Handy Manny" in 2009, "Pixie Hollow Bake Off" in 2014 and "Scooby-Doo! and the Gourmet Ghost" in 2018. The chef's 11-year marriage to Todd Thompson ended in 2014. The two share daughter Jade, who was born in 2008.
Eddie Jackson won Season 11 of "Food Network Star" but audiences already knew him from his NFL career. After winning, Eddie hosted 2015's "BBQ Blitz," a short-lived Food Network show, and "Kids BBQ Championship," which ran for two seasons from 2016 to 2017.
Though he doesn't have a show on the channel now, Eddie Jackson hasn't cut ties with the Food Network. He's starred on the channel's web shows "Eddie Jackson's Game-Day Playbook" and "Fitness Playbook" and more recently popped up on the channel in 2017 for the "Christmas Cookie Challenge" special. He often made appearances on "Good Morning America" from 2016 until 2018. Eddie's also a proud food truck owner (his truck is called Caribbean Grill) and bills himself as the Fit Chef, emphasizing the importance of working out.