Not exactly salivating over the prospect of another cooking show on the tube? Well, strap on a bib anyway, because the Food Network's new series, Good Deal with Dave Lieberman, has three things going for it that none of its competitors does: 1) Dave Lieberman. 2) Dave Lieberman. And 3) Dave Lieberman. The camera-ready chef is experienced (as a poli-sci major at Yale, he served up a cable-access cult hit), prolific (his bachelor's bible, Young and Hungry: Making the Most of Fresh and Affordable Food, is out in hardcover this week) and blessed with a winning personality that will leave you craving more. Not buying it? Read on, and as he counts down to Good Deal's Sunday debut (at 1:30 pm/ET), we'll let him make a believer of you yet! Since you got your start as a cook in college, is it safe to assume that your keggers were uncommonly classy affairs?
Dave Lieberman:
My keggers were very far from classy. Usually, they just became, like, disgusting. But I'd put some food out there... burgers and pigs in a blanket, things like that. I know what impresses my people.

TVG: "Practical" is a key word in your teaching, but is it really practical to think that people will have time to cook and then clean up afterward?
Well, what I believe in is not everyday cooking, it's special-occasion cooking, when you have the time and can say, "Hey, I'm excited to get in the kitchen, because I'm doing it to get people together or doing it for someone I like." It's not like, "Oh, shoot, I have to make dinner for people because I have to."

TVG: Yeah, "I have to make dinner for those damn kids again."
[Laughs] I hope Mom is watching me and buys the cookbook, but there are other people who speak to that audience very directly, and I think my food is good for those people, too. But my message is a little bit different: It's all part of the process, and the process should be enjoyable.

TVG: If you really want to make it enjoyable, you should just recommend doing away with the cleanup.
Right. Just have a full-time maid and everything will be fine.

TVG: Easy for you to say — you're going to be a TV food icon! Speaking of which, aren't you going to need a catchphrase?
Oh, you mean like Emeril's "Bam!"? I'm trying to stay away from that, 'cause [that shtick] gets old, you know? You can burn out. Hopefully, I'm in it for the long haul, and I don't want to be some annoying guy trying to make his brand with a word.

TVG: That's going to really hurt your T-shirt sales.
Yeah, my merchandising person will be very upset to hear this. If I ever get a merchandising person.

TVG: You know the old saying, "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach"? Is the same true of women?
Yeah. It's funny you should say that! That's the first line of my [book's] date chapter, "Dinner for Two"!

TVG: Thanks. I am good. So what food is guaranteed to get a girl out of the kitchen and into the bedroom?
Salmon is one of my favorite date foods. I just love the texture... It's sexy, moist and pink and lovely. It's succulent!

TVG: Anytime you can use the word succulent on a date, I think you're on the right track.
I love lamb, too — it's a little on the expensive side, but you're cooking for two and it's a date, so you can splurge a little bit more. Basically, anything that feels a little elegant is a good way to go. Save the hot dogs for the keggers.