Frankie Celenza

Class of 2009

Frankie Celenza

Frankie is the mastermind and star of the New York Emmy® Award Winning series “Frankie Cooks”

While at Tisch I filled my humanities requirements with all things Italian, I ended up minoring in it without even planning on doing so. Spending each of my college summers in Italy reconnecting with old family is what really got me into food. Each summer my spoken Italian would improve and each school year I’d host dinner parties for my classmates, teaching them the stories I’d learned about each dish. It was my classmates’ that suggested I start making a food web-show. After I’d herd this suggestion from about ten different people, I knew I had to give it a shot. Culinary education was essential and began later.

It was while creating my capstone that I understood the value of a Tisch education, I was able to shape it into whatever I wanted it to be! On the surface it seems funny that my capstone was a cooking show, but all its elements are parallel to the creation, branding and selling of music. When I film a show, it’s a performance. When I’m editing the show, I spend hundreds of hours each month in the edit suite, it’s no different than a late night at the console in studio 505 trying to manipulate a section until it’s just right. I deal with contracts and executive producers. I need to have an incredible grasp of the current state of camera and microphone equipment in order to push the boundaries of what’s technically possible and new. It’s my Tisch education that ultimately sets my show apart. We really approach things differently and as a result have one of the most beautiful and artistic cooking shows in the country. It would not stand out if I had just studied food or TV, it had to be music, music evokes so much emotion in its listener, we feel it in our bones and souls, it changes our heart rates and yet, it’s like black magic - all this comes just through our ears!

Q What was your favorite part about attending Recorded Music?

The tools that a music producer uses are complex and infinite. Everyone in my class had a different approach to learning how to use these tools, this was my favorite part of REMU - We’re all unique. Everyone should and will tackle problems with a different perspective. There is no right way or wrong way, there’s only your way - but you have to work hard to find it.


Q How did Recorded Music prepare you for success?

Success is a funny word if you look at it as an absolute. Once I realized that there is no destination, success became a word to describe the journey of rolling with everyday’s punches. I wear many hats, REMU prepared me for this, by instilling the entrepreneurial spirt in me from day one. We’d all love to write lyrics and make beats all day, because that’s the easy part, the hard part is getting heard. REMU tackles the hard part with their entrepreneurship classes.

Q What are you currently doing professionally?

I currently host & produce ‘Frankie Cooks’ a half hour show on NYCLife, I enjoy it immensely and although it’s not specifically ‘music’ this was my capstone project and proof that in many ways the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music is teaching much more than ‘recorded music’. My argument has always been: one cannot taste or smell food through the television set, this is why we compose music to each edit, it’s very cinematic and no one else is doing anything like it.

Q What words of wisdom can you share?

It’s such a cliche to say ‘think outside the box’ but it’s true. Find something few people are doing, become an expert at it and you will achieve success or as I call it ‘personal fulfillment’. My doctor has all sorts of memorabilia around his office given to him from artists that I admire. This sparked conversation between us about what I’m doing. His advice to me when I used to complain about how long things were taking was this: Perseverance and determination. He’s right you really need to hang in there to make it happen, I’ve been studying all kinds of ‘success’ I’ve concluded that it takes about eight years to make anything happen, I’m in year six, things are looking up!

Awards & Distinctions

2013 New York Emmy® Award Winner - Outstanding Informational/Instructional Series “Frankie Cooks"

2014 New York Emmy® Award Winner - Outstanding Musical Composition/Arrangement 

2009 Remmy Award - Capstone most likely to make it in the real world.