Farewell to Cooking with Class: Venerable RI TV Chef Frank Terranova Retiring from “Cooking with Class”

Known by the Johnson & Wales University (JWU) community as The Bling Chef, Chef Frank Terranova has been an integral part Rhode Islanders’ lives. For 28 years, he has taught at JWU and for 21 years he has been the face of the JWU & NBC 10 News collaboration, “Cooking with Class.”

Motif Chef Frank-final

Unfortunately, both of these chapters will be coming to a close very soon. In an interview with Chef Terranova, he expressed what the show meant to him and why he is leaving:

Gabrielle Halliday (Motif): How did you get your start at NBC 10 doing the “Cooking with Class” segment?

Frank Terranova: It started about 21 years ago … I was in the right place at the right time … I was asked by the school to do the segment for one year and before we knew it, I had been doing it for 21 years. Who would have known?

GH: When and why did you decide it was time to move on?

FT: I gave NBC a two-month notice that I would be leaving due to family situations. My wife has stage 4 cancer, so God forbid she falls at home alone. At least now I’ll be at home and there for her. NBC felt bad, but they understood. Also, 21 years is a long time! Once you get to a certain level, you don’t want to go until you have to be carried out of the building. I wanted to avoid becoming complacent and instead leave a good legacy.

GH: Will you still make appearances on the show?

FT: Yes! I will still be making appearances on the segment called “Sunday Brunch,” which I’ve been a part of for 12 years now. I will also still be a part of the NBC Turkey Hotline that takes place a few days before Thanksgiving, where people can call in and ask questions about holiday meals and receive tips from few JWU Chefs and me. We tend to average around 500 calls!

GH: What have you seen change most about the recipes over the years?

FT: When we first started, we were coming in at all crazy angles. Now we are more focused on lighter foods. We aren’t afraid to use cream, eggs and butter, but the point that we are trying to make is that it’s all about how much you are going to consume. However, if we make creme brulee and people decide to eat the whole recipe, then that’s not my fault!

GH: Of the recipes you’ve shared on the show, which is your favorite?

FT: I think it was the Italian rice pie. It’s called a pastiera. It’s an Italian pastry that they have at Easter. And we are in Rhode Island, which has a predominately Portuguese and Italian culture, so that recipe meshed really well with the viewers.  

GH: We know that Terra and Nova is Latin for new ground, but what’s next for Chef Terranova?

FT: Well I am also leaving JWU in the next couple of weeks. With this new time, I plan on helping a friend with their consulting company and going fishing! The fun thing about it is I can get up in the morning and say, “I think I’ll go fishing today. I don’t feel like going to work.” After I did my final goodbye, people instantly wrote to me asking if I was really retiring. I’m not completely retiring! You can only sit at home and watch so many “Jerry Springer” episodes!

Chef Terranova expressed that he will deeply miss the show, his fellow chefs at JWU, all of the great students who assisted him over the years and the NBC staff. “There was never a day I never wanted to do it.” He still wants to interact with viewers when he runs into them in public, but also on Twitter (@frankterranova2) and on the “Ask The Chef” section of the NBC website. Terranova hopes that Rhode Islanders will continue to take advantage of the recipe database on the NBC website — containing more than 5,000 recipes — and that his famous phrase, “Now that’s Cooking with Class,” will continue to live on in the hearts of locals and students alike.


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