Exclusive Interview: Nutritionist & TV Personality Robin Miller Shares Her Story
Since 1990, Robin has pursued her passions as a nutritionist, TV personality, and food writer, including authoring ten books. She joins us today to share how she got started in the industry, doing as she calls it: “Just minding my own business.”
I was minding my own business
Let me start by saying, I have always followed my passion. After graduating from college with degrees in nutrition and psychology, I started working for my father in Philadelphia – at his architectural firm. While that might seem odd, I worshipped working for my dad and loved watching him pursue his passion. I marketed his firm all day, and I dabbled with recipes on the side. In fact, I started writing a cookbook for beginners on nights and weekends (I was a beginner at the time and wanted to remember the basics for my readers!).
After one year with my dad, I realized that nutrition and food were in my soul and decided to advance my education. I approached my dad and shared the news. He supported me completely, just as his father supported HIM when he wanted to pursue architecture and not the family business. I left Philadelphia, moved to New York City, and received my Masters in Nutrition from New York University. I attended school at night and worked at Family Circle magazine during the day, writing and testing recipes in their test kitchen. What an amazing opportunity! The job was intended to be temporary (filling in for someone on maternity leave), but I stayed for 3 years.
After about one year at the magazine, Family Circle asked me to appear in a local New York television station’s live cooking segment. That simple request changed my life forever. And that’s where my challenge comes in.
I was asked by Family Circle magazine to be their on-air spokesperson for a TV segment in New York. I was given 48 hours to prepare and had never been in front of a camera. Not only that, they requested that I make a wholesome cranberry sauce, from scratch, for Thanksgiving. My response? “My cranberry sauce is typically the shape of the can, and I have no TV experience.”
Create a recipe for the best homemade cranberry sauce on earth, and learn how to deliver critical messages in a live TV interview. In 48 hours.
First, the recipe
I hunkered down in the kitchen, scoured recipes from other sources, played around with ingredients and asked everyone in the office to taste test. I tweaked the sweet and sour components, added texture for mouthfeel, and enhanced color for the best camera presence. Yes, I’m talking about cranberry sauce; but it mattered. The recipe was complete; it was time to work on my messaging.
What should I say?
We were talking about cranberry sauce here; how much could I improvise? What could I say that would compel viewers to watch? I researched facts about cranberries (both nutritionally and otherwise) and had unique factoids to share. I envisioned viewers’ questions and incorporated them into my message points (ingredient substitutions, fresh vs. frozen berries, etc.). I also decided to add my personal story – about can-shaped, jellied cranberry sauce. With luck, my humble dialogue would resonate with the audience, “If I can make cranberry sauce from scratch, you can too.” I had my thoughts together and felt confident, but what about the live TV component?
Where do I look?
Have you noticed that folks never look directly into the camera during an interview? It might seem obvious to YOU, but when a host asks a question, and you’re “teaching” something, the natural instinct is to look directly at the camera. You know, for the folks at home. I reached out to every magazine staff member who had ever been interviewed on camera and asked for tips, including the Editor-in-Chief. Thankfully, everyone was happy to oblige before the cameras rolled.
On the day of the shoot, I was nervous. But not paralyzingly so. Because I was prepared, the recipe was solid (and delicious). There were several batches ready, for before, during, and after the segment. My ingredients were prepped and ready to go. My messages were ingrained in my brain. My make-up was camera-ready but subtle. My hair was styled, but not overly done. And I liked what I was wearing (green, for the holidays and because it looks good next to cranberry sauce). I had a 3-minute chance to shine, and I wanted to maximize that time. The camera crew showed up, we did our song-and-dance, and everyone was happy. The magazine got to show off their test kitchen, folks at home got a great recipe for their holiday table, and I was now the official spokesperson for the magazine.
Wait, there’s more
The cranberry sauce segment was for the local ABC station’s evening news. It turns out, the producer from NBC’s Today Show saw the feature, liked what she saw, and reached out the next day. Three days later, I made Christmas cookies on the Today Show with Al Roker. There’s more. The CBS Early Show producer saw the Christmas cookie segment, liked what she saw, and reached out the next day. That weekend, I made pancakes with Harry Smith on the Early Show.
People are always watching
All this time, the Food Network was growing and growing. They saw my regular appearances on the morning and afternoon shows, liked what they saw, and reached out to me. They suggested a series called Quick Fix Meals, where I was the host, creating wholesome weeknight meals. I loved the idea and hosted the show for five years (we filmed almost 100 episodes).
All these life-changing experiences happened while I minded my own business. I was simply living my dream, creating recipes, and sharing my food and nutrition expertise with a hungry crowd. I always showed up on time, with all my ingredients and messaging in place, and tried to knock it out of the park. In fact, nothing’s changed – I still do that every day.
What did I learn?
What my dad instilled in me from an early age, including the time I worked in his office:
- Always follow your passion.
- Always be prepared.
- Never be afraid of new challenges.
Learn from an expert nutritionist
Do you want to appeal to your restaurant guests with a wholesome menu? Or learn how to take control of your wellness with a focus on easy-to-make nutritious meals? Speak with an expert who can help you reach your goals. Schedule your call with Robin.
Robin Miller has been a TV personality, food writer, and nutritionist since 1990. She has authored ten books, including the New York Times bestseller, Quick Fix Meals. Her popular show, Quick Fix Meals, aired on Food Network for five years. She blogs daily, hosts virtual and live cooking classes and events, and has regular features online and in print, including USA Today.
Robin has been a guest on hundreds of local and national television and radio programs. She has hosted home videos (for Jane Fonda), cable television vignettes (for Food Network and various international food companies), satellite media tours. Robin has spoken at media events in multiple markets nationwide. She has been a spokesperson for many renowned companies, such as Unilever (working with many brands, including Ragu), S.E. Johnson (Ziploc), Tyson, Ninja, Slimfast, Sanofi (Auvi-Q, an epinephrine injector for folks with life-threatening food allergies), California Almonds, Health magazine, Men’s Fitness magazine, Family Circle magazine, Cooking Light magazine, and many others. Robin has always delivered her message points with clarity and ease, explaining why many clients are repeat clients.