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Valerie Phillips: TLC's 'Little Chocolatiers' gets more TV time

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 23 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

If you missed the "Little Chocolatiers" special on Hatch Family Chocolates Monday night, you will have plenty more chances to see Steve Hatch and Katie Masterson on TV.

TLC will show at least six more episodes of what executive producer Jay Blumenfield calls a "docu-series," in a similar vein as shows like TLC's "Cake Boss" and the Food Network's "Ace of Cakes."

"The special is a sneak peak, and the rest will start airing in late January, but we don't have the exact air dates," he said during a telephone interview Friday, as the crew finished more filming at the chocolate shop at 390 E. Fourth Ave.

How did the series come about?

"We heard about Hatch's Chocolates, and we went there and met them and ate their chocolates and thought, this is amazing," Blumenfield said. "I think Steve and Katie are a unique couple, they have the biggest hearts, they're the nicest people I've ever met. They bring an air of authenticity that a lot of shows don't have."

Within the past decade, Hatch Family Chocolates has built a reputation around Salt Lake City for hand-dipped chocolates.

Hatch and Masterson are little people, and the series shows them completing orders, such as 600 chocolate dice for a casino-night party, or building a life-size, all-chocolate flower garden for a couple's fifth anniversary.

"At the core, it's a show about Steve and Katie and their lives," Blumenfield said. "There's something fun about watching them do really big chocolate projects every week and pushing their limits."

Blumenfield said Salt Lake City is a fun place to work.

"Our production company has shot things here before, and it's beautiful. The people are warm and friendly."

And what about working around all that chocolate?

"I think collectively the crew has gained about 400 pounds," Blumenfield said. "It's the opposite of the 'Biggest Loser' around here."

Utahns seem to be on the menus of several food shows lately. Also beginning in January, Sandy salon owner Rebecca Hooper will appear on the Food Network's "Worst Cooks in America." During the six-episode series, the so-called "worst cooks" will go through a culinary boot camp.

The finalists will cook for a panel of food critics, for a chance at the $25,000 grand prize.

Kyle Daley of Salt Lake City has been on Bravo's "Chef Academy," that began airing in November. According to Bravo's bio on Daley, he is currently the chef de cuisine at Island Prime Restaurant in San Diego.

Tara Bench, a Utah State University culinary school grad, was a judge for the Food Network Challenge Thanksgiving Family Feast that aired last month. She's now the food and entertaining editor at Ladies' Home Journal.

e-mail: vphillips@desnews.com

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