Contestant Rodney Henry as seen of Food Network's, Food Network Star, Season 9.
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“Pie—that’s my point of view; that’s my deal,” says Rodney Henry. “I’m always about pie. I always have been and always will be.”
Henry is a Charm City success story. After leaving the Marine Corps, he became psychobilly frontman for the Glenmont Popes, legends in the local music scene. To supplement his income from CD sales and touring, Henry made and sold pies, with great results. He eventually dove full-time into the pie business, opening his own shop. Today, Dangerously Delicious Pies has three locations, including one in the heart of Canton, 2839 O’Donnell St.
Now Henry’s touring again, and could be a major TV star in the near future. Look for him on “Food Network Star,” a reality TV series on the Food Network in which the winner, chosen from twelve contestants, gets his own show. “Food Network Star” premiers on Sunday, June 2, at 9 p.m.
In an interview with the Guide last week, Henry said that participating in a reality TV competition is every bit as exhausting as it appears to the at-home viewer.
“Hell yeah, sure,” said Henry. “It’s actually more grueling than you think. You’ve got somebody in your face all the time.”
Actual reality differs from reality TV in that “you’re not trying to impress somebody all the time” in the former, Rodney said. It’s the stress of “being on point” all the time that “takes more out of you than the work,” he added.
In “Food Network Star,” the participants compete on two fronts. They’re trying to score on personality in camera challenges while backing it up in the kitchen in cooking challenges.
Henry prefers cooking.
“Cooking challenges are the best part about it because you’re doing something,” he said. “You don’t really have time to think about it; you just go for it.”
Beyond pies, Henry has a special affinity and talent for “lots of Italian cuisine,” which he combines with fresh seafood.
“Anything fresh, dude,” he said. “Whenever you get your hands on something good and fresh, it’s easy to make something good.”
He said that on “Food Network Star,” the camera challenges—finding a balance between doing what he was told and letting his personality shine through—didn’t come as easily.
“You sort of think you can’t be yourself,” Henry said. “When you watch the Food Network, you see that they have a specific way of talking about food…People are picking at you, telling you exactly what they want.”
Love for the camera challenges or not, Henry does have ambition to be a TV star. One of his inspirations? Donny Osmond.
“He was kind of like the sixth wheel of the Osmond Brothers,” said Henry, who in his youth also enjoyed shows like Hee Haw and the Johnny Cash Show.
“I wanted to do variety television,” he said. “It’s fun; it’s something I like. I’ve always been an entertainer. I’m a song-and-dance man; that’s what I like to do.”
Henry acknowledges that Baltimore, a relatively small city, has a big presence on the nationwide culinary stage. He gives credit to Duff Goldman, founder of Charm City Cakes and now a TV personality who, like Henry, combines music and food.
“He brought a lot of attention to Baltimore,” Henry said, adding that the city is simply a food paradise. “I’ve been all around the country, and Baltimore has some of the best food in the country,” he said. “We’ve got fresh produce and fresh meat. All that stuff is pretty awesome.”
Now 47, Henry works hard to maintain a balance between spending time with family and friends and his hectic schedule.
“You just make time for this stuff,” he said, adding that he and his kids will be touring the whole country in his RV this summer. “It’s going to be great,” he said.
by Erik Zygmont