Above: "Farmhouse Rules," a new cookbook by Nancy Fuller, who hosts a Food Network show of the same name.
Nancy Fuller, the host of the Food Network television show “Farmhouse Rules” and the owner of Hudson Valley food distributor Ginsberg's Foods, launched her new cookbook before students in the culinary arts program at the State University of New York at Delhi on Tuesday, Oct. 20.
Fuller spent the day on Delaware County campus visiting students in their classrooms, speaking to an assembly in the college's Okun Theater and signing copies of her book, also called “Farmhouse Rules,” in the campus bookstore.
“You all are the youth of today and the masterminds of food in the future,” she told the students.
Fuller's television show features locally-sourced food from the Hudson Valley area around her Claverack home, and she said that her book features the same farm-to-table philosophy. She said the book is about local foods, simple presentation and “bringing the family back to the dining table.”
Fuller said that she lived on a farm without refrigeration until the 1950s.
“I've lived farm-to-table as long as I can remember,” she said.
Above: Nancy Fuller, host of the Food Network television show “Farmhouse Rules,” signs a copy of her book for Ginny Bell of Treadwell at SUNY Delhi on Tuesday. Photo by Robert Cairns.
During an hour-long question-and-answer session, Fuller said that her television program grew out of a 2013 appearance in a promotional video for a food festival. She said that the director asked her to shoot a test video, which he pitched to several different networks.
“After I interviewed, I waited and waited and waited until the phone rang, and the rest is history,” she said. She said that the show is simply an extension of her life.
“What I do on ‘Farmhouse Rules’ is what I do wherever I am,” she said. “Hopefully, they'll want me to tell about Delhi University in one of my episodes.”
Fuller does not seem to take fame very seriously. When a student asked her how the television show has changed her life, she said that without it, “The people at Costco would not have stopped me and said, 'Is it really you?'”
She said that comments from fans “are such a great compliment,” and said that the show is more about entertainment than education.
“I don't care if anybody cooks,” she said “I just want them to smile and laugh.”
Above: Fuller greeted SUNY Delhi students after speaking to them about her careers in food and television. Fuller said that she does not get nervous while recording her own show, in her home. Photo by Robert Cairns.
“I'm doing what I'm doing. It's just what I do,” she said.
She said the situation changes when she appears on other shows with an audience, such as Rachel Ray's syndicated talk show.
“The hands sweat, the stomach's in knots,” she said.
When asked what advice she could give to students, Fuller said, “Perseverance, energy, personality.”
She told the crowd, “I worked very, very hard for a very long time. It's about working hard and having a passion for what you do.”
Fuller explained how her catering business began when she catered a cattle auction after being unhappy with the catering at an earlier auction.
Fuller had praise for the students and programs at SUNY Delhi.
“I am so excited about the culinary program at this school,” she said. She noted “the passion and the interest” of the students and said, “I think the program is outstanding. I've been so impressed with all of you. The school is just phenomenal. You are all so blessed to be here.”
Kim MacLeod, director of communications and new media at SUNY Delhi, said that Fuller's appearance at the school was facilitated by Tom Philion, Fuller's son-in-law, who is director of the school's professional golf management program.
“We thought it was a natural fit,” MacLeod said.
While best known for the television show, Fuller is a successful caterer and food distributor, one of the owners of the Hudson-based Ginsberg's Foods, a multimillion-dollar business she runs with her husband and son.
Ginsberg’s Foods has been involved in several big food-related development projects in the Catskills and the Hudson Valley, including a plan for a Sullivan County food hub network and a large and controversial expansion in Columbia County.