Mark Dissin is passionate about food. As CEO of a culinary production company, he spends his days developing series, producing and directing cooking shows and working with chef celebrities. And when the dinner bell rings, he’s still hungry for more. “Cooking is the best way I know to unwind after a long day,” he says.
Mark has launched more than 25 shows in his 13 years with Scripps Networks Interactive, the parent network of both Food Network and Cooking Channel. He worked with Rachael Ray to develop the 30-Minute Meals brand and helped launch Guy Fieri’s television career. Along the way, he also won Emmys for his work on 30-Minute Meals (2006), Everyday Italian (2008) and Giada at Home (2010). “I always liked eating and had a cursory interest in cooking,” Mark says. “I never dreamed of becoming a chef, though; I wanted to work in media.”
He began his career as a freelance filmmaker, producer and director, working with a production company specializing in sports, Comedy Central and HBO. “After nearly 20 years in the business, I wanted to try something new, so in 1996, I put television behind me and enrolled in the International Culinary Center full-time for six months,” says Mark in his ‘un-midlife crisis.’
This led to positions as a line cook at New York City restaurants Follonico and Eleven Madison Park, before Mark realized that he could do more with his newly earned skills. In a stroke of luck, just as Mark decided he should get back in the studio, he received a call from a former HBO colleague about a maternity-leave opening at the Food Network that has led to an amazing career combining his interests in media and cooking. “The Food Network is a great incubator for creative ideas, and it was a really fun, exciting work environment,” says Mark, who left Scripps to start his own production company, Pre-Sliced Productions.
Mark continues to produce Guy’s Big Bite, Ten Dollar Dinners and Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day for Scripps. He also premiered two new shows on Cooking Channel: Symon’s Suppers with Iron Chef Michael Symon, and Drop Five Pounds with Good Housekeeping, which is based on the book and magazine column of the same name.