It takes a rare breed of person to earn icon status in any given field. Even rarer still are those icons who reach greatness along a second path. After Michael Jordan achieved all he could in the NBA, the basketball legend took a shot at professional baseball, but he never made it out of the minors. Here on the East End, major league restaurateur Andrea Anthony, co-owner of the beloved Lobster Roll aka “Lunch” in Napeague, is on her way to becoming America’s next celebrity chef—and odds are good she’ll get there.
After four decades leading The Lobster Roll to many triumphs, including publishing The Lobster Roll Cookbook in 2003 and earning worldwide recognition for the restaurant’s appearance on Showtime’s The Affair, Anthony is coming out strong as host of her own TV cooking show: Eat, Drink and Bake with Andrea. The series, which begins airing Season 2 this month on PBS, We Cook TV, Roku and Cablevision’s Optimum Network, among other platforms, follows the classic how-to format Anthony says is sorely missing from the current, competition-heavy world of food television.
“It’s fun to watch celebrity chefs, but people also want to learn to cook,” Anthony says, describing her show. “It’s about great recipes, good quality ingredients and step-by-step instructions.” And while her restaurant did sponsor the first season, which began airing this winter on We Cook TV, “It’s not a Lobster Roll show,” she says, pointing out, “I’m establishing my own brand.”
Anthony is proud of The Lobster Roll, but she’s also well aware of its place in the broader picture. “We don’t have the kind of restaurant that lends itself to a cooking show,” she says of the basic seafood offerings on which The Lobster Roll built its devoted following. “We’re seasonal—we are who we are.”
Eat, Drink and Bake with Andrea, on the other hand, allows Anthony to flex her cooking muscles with an eclectic blend of recipes from numerous cultures and countries, for a wide range of tastes. “It has to do with food in all different styles,” Anthony says, noting she’s already filmed episodes featuring Mexican, Italian, Greek, Central American, vegetarian, Asian and barbecue fare, to name a few, as well as desserts, cocktails and wine. And much like her easy personality, which makes strangers feel instantly comfortable, Anthony’s show has a low key, accessible vibe, perfect for its instructional formula.
“Simplicity—that’s what we’re going for,” she says. “Not everything so picture perfect. No competitors here, just fun in the kitchen.” Each episode of Eat, Drink and Bake with Andrea, which is filmed in Anthony’s beachy kitchen at her and husband Carl’s home, teaches viewers to cook a themed meal, start-to-finish. “I have to shape it,” she says of her intensive show prep. “I’ll research a recipe 10 different ways.”
Episode 3 of the 13-episode second season, for example, focuses on “Casual Italian Cuisine,” starting with Spinach Basil Soup with Lemon Cream and Tomato Confit, followed by a hearty Rigatoni Bolognese with Mamma Lombardi’s tomato sauce, and Cranberry Almond Pistachio Biscotti for dessert. Along with showing viewers how to cook each component of the meal, Anthony brings on guests, such as Lauren Lombardi, who talks about her family’s homemade sauces in Episode 3.
Eat, Drink and Bake with Andrea’s new season has multiple sponsors, including Mamma Lombardi’s, and it was Anthony’s responsibility to secure them. At the same time, she maintains ownership of the show, giving Anthony flexibility as she builds her brand, which now includes products, such as an Eat, Drink and Bake with Andrea Exotic Spice Blend Marinade and upcoming Dill Lemon Rub.
Meanwhile, after 42 years, The Lobster Roll continues to thrive. Anthony loves the restaurant business, and she regularly updates the space and evolves the menu, like adding more plant-based options this season. But the show, and all that goes with it, represents her future. “I’m really enjoying it, and I think it’s reaching a lot of people,” Anthony says, looking at what her already fruitful and rewarding life has in store. “This is the kind of thing I can continue to do.”
Eat, Drink and Bake with Andrea Season 2 begins airing this week on We Cook TV and will premiere on PBS near the end of June. Season 3 begins filming in September.