As the mayor of Lake Worth, Pam Triolo is no stranger to the heat that comes with the position.
But standing in her to-die-for kitchen, one that looks like it was lifted from the glossy cover of Better Home & Gardens magazine, Triolo is dealing with a different kind of heat.
The kind that comes from a stainless steel, six-burner Jenn-Air gas stove.
On a recent afternoon, Triolo has traded in her mayor’s gavel for a spatula as she shows Mo Foster and Sally Sevareid, better known as Mo and Sally from Kool 105.5’s morning radio show, how to prepare chicken cutlets for a dish Triolo spontaneously calls chicken with Vermouth sauce and capers.
It might not look like Triolo is working because she’s not talking about potholes or city laws, but she is. This is her other job, which is host of “The Food Lady,” an upcoming 30-minute cooking show scheduled to debut Oct. 2 at 10:30 a.m. on WFLX-Channel 29, the Fox affiliate.
Triolo’s company is producing the show and paying Channel 29 monthly between $5,000 and $10,000 to air it. She would receive proceeds from sponsorships, usually restaurants featured on the show. She said she would recuse herself from any city votes concerning the sponsors.
Despite being skilled at talking in front of an audience, Triolo flubs a line as she shows Sevareid why it’s important to rinse capers well.
“I knew I was going on too long,” Triolo says, giggling as her rescue dog, Buster, an 8-year-old Chihuahua-Boston terrier mix, scurries under foot.
Meanwhile, Sevareid, a Food Network junkie, jokes with Triolo as she mixes flour.
“I’m messy,” she says. “I need a bigger bowl.”
Foster, who admits he only knows how to grill, appears a little out of his element.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with all these things,” he says of the chicken, oil and gluten-free pasta sitting on Triolo’s marble counter-tops. “But I do know what to do with this.”
He was pointing to a glass of red wine — and smiling devilishly.
This kind of work is a far cry from Triolo’s City Hall job. She’s also owns First Impressions Creative Services, a public relations and marketing firm.
“The Food Lady” will feature chefs and restaurants in and around Palm Beach County, including Callero’s in Lake Worth, Saito’s Japanese Steakhouse in Wellington and Havana Restaurant in West Palm Beach.
The show will share recipes from chefs and feature a few celebrity appearances like the one fromRobert Shalhoub, a West Palm Beach attorney and certified barbecue judge, who claims he knows more about smoking meat than any man alive.
Duffy’s test kitchen in Lake Worth will be featured. Octoberfest at the American German Club in Lantana also will be celebrated.
Of course, Triolo, an avid foodie and former TV news director, will be doing her thing in the kitchen.
“I’m not a chef and I have no formal training,” Triolo says. “I don’t use the right knives, but most of my friends will tell you I can cook.”
The timing for the show couldn’t be better, Triolo says.
“The food scene in South Florida has changed dramatically and there are a lot of new players who are serious,” she says. “Palm Beach County is coming into its own and I think we’ll be the next culinary epicenter.”
This isn’t Triolo’s first TV gig.
She had another cooking show, “What’s For Dinner?” on the air for nearly a decade. “Basically I ate and drank all over town,” she says. “It was the greatest job in the world.”
The name for Triolo’s new show was actually born out of her old one.
“Whenever I would go into a restaurant, a grocery store, people never remembered my name,” she recalls. “But they would say, ‘Oh my God! It’s the food lady!’”
Times have changed. Like high-definition cameras being the norm, for instance.
“You can see everything now,” the 49-year-old Triolo says, almost embarrassed. “I wish I looked like I did when I was twentysomething and thin. My energy level is a little different.”
Triolo’s love for food started about age 5 when her mom would bring her into the kitchen to help cook. Triolo says she still has her mom’s old composition notebook that’s loaded with recipes.
“She made the best lasagna and the best sauce,” Triolo said. “We’re talking about the eight-hour grandma sauce that sits on the stove for literally eight hours.”
Since her mom and dad both worked, Triolo often cooked dinner for her two brothers right after she came home from school.
Now Triolo can’t imagine a life without food, family gatherings and dinner parties.
“I enjoy being around people and I love entertaining,” Triolo says. “There’s nothing like standing back when you spent a lot of time cooking a meal and watching people enjoying your food.”