EW grills ''Survivor'' chef and Food Network host Keith Famie with stupid questions

By Dan Snierson
June 22, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Sure, Emeril Lagasse has shows on the Food Network, a sitcom on NBC this fall, and his own line of sauces, but do 30 million people scrutinize his every culinary move? All hail TV’s true chef hero, ”Survivor 2” finalist Keith Famie, who’s hosting Taste the Adventure Week on the Food Network (June 17-24). He’s also writing his second cookbook, called ”Yes, I Can Cook Rice.” Let’s hope that he can hold his own in our half-baked Q & A.

First question: Can I call you Peas? No, you can call me Carrots. She’s Peas.

Of course. Let’s say Jerri was a struggling actress — hypothetically, of course — and she needed a job. Would you hire her as a waitress for your restaurant? Knowing her now? I’d hire her as my general manager! You put that Sergeant Bitch on the front line, she’d take care of everybody!

As a Food Network personality, you’ll need a catchphrase like Emeril’s ”Bam!” I’m thinking ”Famie — I’m going to live forever!” or ”Let’s eat! I’m Famie-ished!” Yeah, I don’t think I want to come across with either one of those. I’ll come up with something and let you know.

If you could be any breakfast cereal, which one would you be and why? All right, let’s think of the different cereals out there. Special K. Corn Flakes. Cocoa Puffs. Lucky Charms…Cap’n Crunch. I’d want to be Cap’n Crunch. The dude has his own yacht.

Do you ever prank-call Colby in the middle of the night and whisper, ”Can you smell what the Keith is cooking?” No, but I’ve often thought about calling him in the middle of the night and saying, ”Hey, Colby — it’s me, Jerri. Wanna come out and play?”

In all seriousness, I’ve got a problem with my Tarte Tatin. The caramel juices refuse to thicken, and I’m afraid my apples will loosen, causing the tart to collapse. What do you suggest, Mr. Hotshot Chef? [Laughing] You’ve got a problem with your Tarte Tatin? You’re in the process of getting ready to bake it?

Uh…right. You know what’s really funny here? You don’t know what you’re talking about.

True — my mom helped me with that one. Anyway, if you had to vote one spice out of the rack, what would it be? [Pensive pause] Eh, fennel seed. Doesn’t do anything for me.