Jeff Mauro Talks Working With His Fellow Food Network Chefs - Exclusive Interview

Sometimes, getting to work in the kitchen can feel like all work and no play. But not if you're Jeff Mauro. The comedian-turned-chef-turned-Food Network star is living proof that there is always fun to be had when you're making a meal. He's well loved for his eclectic and delicious recipes, which you'll catch him sharing every weekend on "The Kitchen," and his fun-loving personality — you can always count on Mauro to leave you laughing, which we'd argue makes for some of the best cooking experiences.

Mashed recently caught up with Mauro at the Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, presented by Capital One, and once again, he was high energy and all smiles. Mauro shared some fun moments with his fellow Food Network chefs and friends and induced some serious cravings for chili and tacos. Plus, he revealed some exclusive details on new products to look out for from his specialty foods shop, Mauro Provisions.

Behind-the-scenes fun with Worst Cooks co-host Anne Burrell

Have you run into anyone at the festival or caught up with anyone you weren't expecting to see?

I saw one of my best friends, Anne Burrell, backstage. We do "Worst Cooks in America" together now. I've done two seasons with her, so we're very close. And when they called Geoffrey [Zakarian] onstage — I don't know if you saw that funny bit I did — I walked out instead, thus securing our bond forever. We're the two best Jeffs.

What's it been like working with Anne on such a long-standing show like "Worst Cooks in America"?

It's someone else's home, and you're coming and you're stepping into that home, not only to work alongside somebody else but also compete with them. Anne is a fierce competitor, but luckily we're good friends, and that trumps all. So at the end of the day, we can hang up our chef coats and remain friends.

I spoke to her — she did say it was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs. Any funny or memorable moments that stand out to you?

What you don't realize is those days can be about 15, 16, 17 hours long. So by the end of it, you need to find inspiration and energy. And Anne brought out her Bluetooth speaker. I'm like, "What are you doing?" She's like, "Trust me." She started playing this song, "Cruel to Be Kind," by Nick Lowe — we both love that song. We've gone to karaoke together. And she changed [and] shifted the entire energy of that last hour we needed to shoot and got us through.

Jeff Mauro and Katie Lee combine their best hometown recipes

You and Katie Lee — you told Tasting Table you guys are making the world's longest hot dog today.

Well ... maybe Pier 76's longest hot dog. Let's go with that.

How are you planning on constructing this? 

Very carefully. Luckily, I have homemade, custom hot dog buns that are in excess of 2.5 to 3 feet, I believe. All great sandwiches — I do believe [a] hot dog is a sandwich — the foundation of all great sandwiches starts with the bread. Now that we got the good bread, franks go on next. We got cheese sauce on there, giardiniera, of course, and chicken fried shallots.

Katie Lee's not here today because she's sick, so I'm making her [Cincinnati-style] West Virginia chili that we all love.

Are you feeling the pressure of that?

Yeah, I am, because it is the perfect combination of both our favorite things, and that was going to be the beauty of this demo, but I'm going to do her proud.

Did she give you any tips about what you need to do to make sure you don't mess this up?

It is the most stupid-easy recipe that yields the greatest result because you don't have to sweat out any onions, you don't have to sear any meat, nothing. It's all a dump and stir, then bring to a simmer. That's what makes that West Virginia-style chili amazing.

Jeff Mauro's favorite taco is a simple classic

Tonight, you have the Caviar Tacos & Tequila After Dark event with the whole cast of "The Kitchen" that I know you're getting excited for. What ingredients and toppings would you put on your dream taco?

Ooh, man, I'm simple. I'm an al pastor pork taco or carnitas [person], and I like onions, cilantro, and a salsa verde. That's it. Traditional.

You've teased on social media that you've got some new products coming from Mauro Provisions. Is there anything you can share?

Yes! It is perfect for tailgating, for the football season, and you can eat them with your hands. And they already include our famous barbecue chip dust in them. That's what I'll say.

For the latest from Chef Jeff Mauro, follow him on Instagram. Plus, learn more about the annual Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, presented by Capital One, and be sure to check out the highlights from this year's event.