The Untold Truth Of Food Network's The Kitchen

New episodes of the Food Network's hugely successful show The Kitchen – 25 seasons and counting – start airing on Saturday, October 3. That's a lot of seasons, but the show first aired in January 2014 (via IMDb). Twenty-five seasons in Food Network years are about seven human years. Still, on a network where shows seem to come and go, The Kitchen has staying power – not to mention stability. Despite their busy schedules, the show's four co-hosts have stayed together.

What is the secret recipe to The Kitchen's success? In each hourlong episode, four co-hosts – Sunny Anderson, Katie Lee, Jeff Mauro, and Geoffrey Zakarian – take turns in a studio kitchen whipping up their favorite recipes. Two of the others sit, watch, and coo with admiration, while the third stands by to assist. So The Kitchen is a cooking show, but TV Guide nonetheless calls it a talk show. The show doesn't look much like The Chew, though. The hosts on that now-canceled cooking/talk show spent a lot of time just talking. The Kitchen is always about making food, but there is an awful lot of talking on - so much that co-hosts often overlap each other with their banter. You have to wonder how they can talk in paragraphs about food while adding ingredients to a pan and stirring at the same time.

We're glad they can. The talking is as much a part of the show's appeal as the cooking.

Why Marcela Valladolid exited The Kitchen

The four hosts clearly get along. "The first thing everybody says who stops to ask me about The Kitchen is [if the hosts] really like each other," Zakarian told Distractify. "It's true, we really like each other." "We really are a collaborative group ... So it's about lifting each other up and having a good time," Lee told Food Network's Star Talk. Mauro said their dynamic is a lot like what you'd find in a family. "You have the dad, you've got the mom, you have Sunny who's like my older sister and I'm like the doofus brother that's just getting in trouble but it's loveable at the end of the day," Mauro told Closer Weekly.

If ever there was a hint of discontent on the show, it came when original host Marcela Valladolid left, at the end of season 14. Officially, Valladolid left the show because commuting between the West Coast and New York to do the show was too much of a strain. Valladolid, who grew up in Tijuana, Mexico (via BuzzFeed), added in her farewell message that she was proud to be a "Latina face" on The Kitchen. "Diversity and inclusion should always be a priority," she said. My Point Being alleges that she said in a blog post (which appears to have been deleted) that the dishes she was making on The Kitchen didn't represent her or her cooking style.

An acclaimed chef is the newest host to join The Kitchen

Scroll to the "Co-Hosts" tab on The Kitchen's webpage, and it only lists Anderson, Lee, Mauro, and Zakarian. But in an April news release, the network refers to five hosts and includes Alex Guarnaschelli in the lineup. Guarnaschelli is another real chef. She won The Next Iron Chef in 2012 and has been a judge on Chopped. As of this writing, her bio on the Food Network website hasn't been updated to include a mention of The Kitchen, but Variety reported in early 2019 that Guarnaschelli had signed a contract with the network that includes a regular role on the show.

Guarnaschelli has been in the mix with the other four at least since April when The Kitchen was forced to radically alter its format. The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in all of our regularly scheduled lives, from jobs to school and, yes, even producing TV shows. The Food Network hasn't been calling the hosts of The Kitchen into its studio in Montclair, New Jersey. Instead, the five of them have been filming segments for the show from their separate homes.

Katie Lee announced a new addition to her family and The Kitchen's

Pandemic ratings for lifestyle shows such as The Kitchen: Quarantine Edition have been great, a network executive told The Hollywood Reporter. Fans think they already know the hosts on some level, and now they get to see what their actual kitchens look like. Viewers responded especially well to Mauro and Zakarian cooking at home with their children (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet).

If The Kitchen runs for another dozen or two seasons, the hosts may get another young helper. Lee recently announced on Instagram the birth of her first child, Iris Marion Biegel, which came into the world with an assist from Lee's husband, Ryan Biegel. (Lee's more famous first husband was Billy Joel). The moment at The Kitchen's studio when Lee told her co-hosts she was expecting was another example of the family bond the four celebrities have formed over the years. (Lee posted a video of this moment on Instagram.) Their reaction was genuine, with Anderson breaking into tears. "You all are going to be aunts and uncles," Lee told co-hosts and crew, doing her best to fight back her own tears.

Whether they are back in the studio or – much more likely – still shooting from home, fans will be happy to welcome the cooks and chefs of The Kitchen back into their own homes.