The Cast of The Food Network’s Family Style on Parenting, Picky Eaters, Pranks, and Cooking Italian Food!
A week ago, I was lucky enough to chat with Melissa and Joey Maggiore, stars of the new Food Network program “Family Style,” that premiered on August 26. The show follows the Maggiores, a brother and sister team who opened up Tommy V's Urban Kitchen, an Italian restaurant in Carlsbad, California. This unscripted “odd couple-esque” series documents the mayhem, mishaps, and hilarity that come with working with your sibling. Hear what Melissa and Joey had to say about food, family, and fun on set!
Both Melissa and Joey both have children at home, so working long hours can be tough. While Joey has his wife to take some of the load of parenting off his shoulders, Melissa, a single mother, has the difficult task of balancing working life with caring for her children. She tries to make sure that she is involved in her children’s lives as much as she can be, taking them to school in the morning, picking them up from school in the afternoon, and having them visit the restaurant throughout the day. “From what I’ve learned, it’s not the quantity; it’s the quality of time. So, the time that I am with them is just for them - I turn off the phone and I’m just with my children.”
When it comes to getting her kids to try new foods, that can also be quite a task at times. Here's her advice for dealing with picky eaters: “I think the answer is early exposure. Joey and I grew up in the restaurant, so we were exposed to these foods, so there wasn’t anything different about them. I think kids tend to not eat things that are foreign to them, but when you’re exposed to them at such an early age, they’re no longer foreign.”
When it comes to Italian food, it is both a huge part of their heritage and their lives. As Joey explains, the restaurant world is “not really a career, it’s something that we live daily.” Melissa explains, “when other kids were playing and riding their bikes, we were in the restaurant. We were peeling onions, we were chopping carrots, we were with our parents in the restaurant.” So you can understand why they are always excited to talk about their favorite Italian foods. Here are some of their faves:
Their Favorite Italian Dishes to Make at Home
Melissa: Aioli. “I do it all the time – pasta, olive oil, garlic, a little red pepper. I cook really simple at home, with a lot of seafood.”
Joey: Sugo. He describes it as “braised short ribs, homemade meatballs, and you cook it all day long.”
The Signature Dishes at Tommy V’s
Joey: "The most popular dish is the short ribs and the Palo wine with carrots and onions. We braise it for a couple of hours and serve it with some homemade spinach gnocchi, which is delicious and it’s our biggest seller."
Melissa: "We make fantastic pizzas here that you know you would get in Italy[...] then we have our osso bucco- that is also one of our big sellers."
Their Guilty Pleasures
Melissa: Cheese! “I hide in the walk-in and I go through the cheese and eat all the gorgonzola and the blue cheese, and as soon as they walk in I take my hand away.”
Joey: “We make a traditional, Sicilian cheesecake called testata – basically a cannoli filling in a cake. That’s my guilty pleasure- every night I try to sneak one in!”
Co-workers or not, they’re still siblings, and it shows! Joey still pulls pranks on Melissa regularly. He once gave her a fake lottery ticket and tricked her into thinking she had just won $100,000! He has also poured water down her pants while she was working and has convinced her to eat cow tongue- yuck! On top of that, he even dug a huge hole in the yard of Melissa’s rented home so he could cook a lamb!
Behind all the joking and quarrelling, you can tell there’s a lot of love in this family. This brother and sister duo is really a riot. If they’re as lively on TV as they were on the phone, I don’t doubt that this show is going to be full of fun, drama, and lots of surprises!
Be sure to tune in to the "Food Network" on Thursdays at 10:30pm Eastern time to see new episodes.