What Goes On Behind The Scenes At The Butterball Turkey Talk-Line - Exclusive

Most home cooks are familiar with the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line. Founded in 1981, the Talk-Line was designed to help unsure home cooks put the perfect Thanksgiving turkey on the family dinner table, with helpful, knowledgeable staff taking phone calls and answering questions about how to properly thaw and cook turkeys. The first year of the Talk-Line's existence, professionals answered approximately 11,000 phone calls. Now, the Talk-Line is even more popular and there are even more ways to get in touch with those Butterball experts, including via online chat, text, and email.

But what exactly is going on behind the scenes at the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line? Are professionals still flipping through a Rolodex of questions and answers, to provide you their best turkey tips? — and, yes, they really did use a Rolodex of call notes when the Talk-Line launched in the 1980s. Or are they scattered across the country and answering calls in their pajamas? In a recent Mashed exclusive interview, we spoke with Butterball Turkey Talk-Line supervisor Andrea Balitewicz to learn more about her job and how the Talk-Line operates.

'Like Nirvana'

Andrea Balitewicz has a lot of experience in the food business. She's worked in product testing, recipe development, and consulting, but, for the last seven years, she's also worked for the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line — an experience that she likens to nirvana.

"We're a staff of 50-plus food professionals, and there's so much knowledge within our team. It's like nirvana. We all click together. There's so much to talk about, and there's so much knowledge. We have chefs. We have registered dietitians. We have food professionals and culinary professionals, like myself. It's a great group to be with, with so much knowledge," she explained. "The staff's tenure is amazing. We have staff that have been there 20 or 30 years. They keep coming back year after year. It's almost like a family reunion now."

The team of 50-plus is based out of Naperville, Illinois, and, even with the big switch to remote work that's happened over the last two years, everyone at the Talk-Line is working in the office, apart from some remote work in 2020. However, Balitewicz said, "we love being in the office."

The perks of an in-office job

But while you may be begging your boss to allow you to work remotely long-term, being in-office makes the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line team's job easier. As the team answers phone calls, they can swap tips and advice, leaning on one another's expertise.

"We have rows of computers, and we all have our headsets. When the staff comes in for their shift, they each have a spot to sit. It's great because people will line up next to their friends or next to the people they know. Sometimes, they'll put a consumer on hold and ask someone else a question, just to get a little reassurance or some advice from a neighbor," explained Andrea Balitewicz.

While the working hours are flexible, Balitewicz does say that the week leading up to Thanksgiving, it's an all-hands-on-deck atmosphere and everyone wants to be present, answering your top questions about how to thaw, cook, or store your turkey so you can safely enjoy the turkey leftovers later. It's a job that Balitewicz says she loves, talking about food and helping other people, and the same could be said for the entirety of the team — meaning if you call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line this holiday season, you can rest assured you'll be in good hands.

You can call the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line at 1-800-BUTTERBALL. The Talk-Line is open through December 24.