News from NATPE: The Hardest Working Chefs in Showbiz

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First time attendees at this week’s NATPE 2006, the global television confab, may wonder who those two guys are in the zoot suits cooking up a storm on the tradeshow floor. NATPE veterans know them as the hardest working chefs in showbiz. The Clever Cleaver Brothers are Steve Cassarino and Lee N. Gerovitz — professional chefs who turned their love for food and laughter into a unique showbiz career.

First time attendees at this week’s NATPE 2006, the global television conference this week at Mandalay Bay Resort, may wonder who those two guys are in the zoot suits cooking up a storm on the tradeshow floor. NATPE veterans know them as The Clever Cleaver Brothers, the hardest working chefs in showbiz.

Now in their 12th year of exhibiting at NATPE, The Clever Cleaver Brothers are Steve Cassarino and Lee N. Gerovitz — professional chefs who turned their love for food and laughter into a unique career as television personalities, infomercial hosts, cookbook authors, magazine columnists and, as one pundit called them, "stand-up chefs."

At this annual schmooze-fest for television’s influential executives, rising stars and power brokers, Steve and Lee will not only be working their booth in person for all 21 hours of the three-day tradeshow, but they will also be bagging groceries — and then giving them away free to attendees. The two chefs plan to hand out 2,500 bags of freebies, including Cholula Hot Sauce, Au'some Sour Fruit Juice String Pouches, Georgia Pecans and other goodies.

Seen nationally on "The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno," "Entertainment Tonight," "Fox & Friends," “Dateline NBC” and dozens of other network and cable shows, television's zaniest chefs also produce their own syndicated TV programming, which has now been broadcast in more than 50 countries in five languages. During pro football season, “Tailgatin’ with The Clever Cleaver Brothers™” airs in 18 U. S. cities with a weekly audience of nearly 2-million viewers. Later this year, commuters will see their programming on transit system video terminals throughout the country.

At NATPE 2006, the duo will introduce their new series of TV cooking vignettes “The Clever Cleaver Kitchen,” a 52-week series of 90-second program inserts shot in high definition and available for broadcast this Fall by local stations.

After hours, The Clever Cleaver Brothers have become part of NATPE lore by showing up in their flamboyant attire at posh TV exec parties — whether of not they are on the guest list!

“For years, we’ve been sneaking into King World’s mega-party without an invite,” says Cassarino. “And that’s not easy,” he adds, “considering we’re wearing matching gold lamé suits!”

“Roger King always smiles when he sees us and tells us that he needs to get better security — next year,” says Gerovitz.

This year however, the culinary duo won’t be doing any partying on Wednesday night.

“We have a rehearsal that evening at a TV studio on Dean Martin Drive for a national satellite media tour scheduled for early Thursday morning,” says Gerovitz.

“And they want us back in studio for a 2:00 AM call for five hours of interviews with morning TV shows in earlier time zones,” adds Cassarino.

After a quick breakfast and change of costume, Steve and Lee plan to be back at NATPE by 9:00 AM and put in another day on the tradeshow floor. Then it’s off to Los Angeles to tape a guest appearance on the Soap Network’s “Soap Talk.”

When these two culinary cut-ups aren’t producing or hawking their TV wares, they’re on the road with their Vegas-style cooking show appearing at casinos, fairs, festivals and theaters. Steve and Lee also find time each year to squeeze in nearly 100 live appearances on TV stations in major cities. Later this month the duo will head out for their annual “Pigskin Party Recipe” 10-day tour with appearances on daytime TV shows in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Ft. Worth, Hartford, Kansas City and St. Louis.

“Hard work is a key ingredient in any recipe for success,” says Gerovitz.

“Of course, it helps to have fun along the way,” adds Cassarino.

The Clever Cleaver Brothers® is a registered Servicemark of Casslee Corporation.

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Clinton Billups