I spent the day at a Food Network shoot of an upcoming show, (I am not making this name up) the Next Grilleration George Foreman College Grill-Off.
Four teams of three university students (Duke, Georgetown, U of Missouri - Columbia and Pepperdine) met under the blue Malibu skies at the insanely gorgeous Pepperdine campus to create four-course meals using the George Foreman grill, toaster ovens, two electric burners, blenders and that's about it.
George Foreman himself was there, and can he talk grill! He makes it sound like all he and his wife do is cook on it all the time. He is a brilliant spokesman because he sounds like he really, really believes in the thing and loves it to pieces.
Quiz: How many GF grills have been sold worldwide so far?
a) 2 million
b) 10 million
c) 17 million
d) 70 million
Answer at bottom of the post.
The students came up with some pretty creative little GF Grill meals - crab cakes, seafood quesadillas, pancetta-wrapped asparagus, grilled pineapple. It almost made me want to rush out to Target and get me one.
One of the teams were hotel & restaurant management majors from U of Missouri. The Pepperdine students were nutrition majors (and the only team to grill tofu). And the two other teams come from "Grilling Societies" - campus social clubs for people who like to barbecue.
The guy from Salton, the people who make the grills, said the new ones are coming out soon with 5 interchangeable plates so you can make waffles, flat things, etc.
The answer is d) 70 million. I didn't ask George Foreman how much his cut was, but I think he is doing okay. He looked happy, anyway, with his gorgeous daughter taking the shine off his head with a makeup brush, posing for photos with people from the crowd, and talking up his grill.
I hung out with him for a little while, asking the usual reporter-type questions which he patiently answered. No, I did NOT ask about naming the kids all the same thing ("George Foreman'). Remember, the man was once heavyweight champion of the world and probably still packs a mighty punch.
He seemed a little bummed that people now know him more for the grill than for boxing, and lit up when I told him how much my co-worker Robert idolizes him. He happily wrote an elaborate and personalized autograph for Robert on the back of a reporter's notebook.