“Gadget Nation” author and “Innovation Insider” Steve Greenberg grew up in a family that celebrates invention. With a patriarch who can turn anything into a lamp — “My mother used to joke that if I stayed still too long, he would turn me into a lamp,” he cracks — the entire clan can’t help but poke and prod to see how things are crafted.
“Take us anywhere, and we’re knocking on stuff and turning it upside down,” Greenberg tells Zap2it. “We learned that from my dad. It’s very much a part of who I am.”
But it isn’t the family’s primary passion.
“I’d say we’re restaurant people first, inventors second,” Greenberg says, chuckling. “I mean, we’re the kind of family that, when we’re eating at a restaurant, we’re talking about the next restaurant we’re going to. I’m very big on finding a good meal.”
So it’s only natural that Greenberg — who parlayed a gig as a TV reporter into a career heralding gadgets — would find a way to combine his passions and give inventors a boost to boot. Sunday, May 13, he and his pal, United Inventors Association founder Patrick Raymond, debut their Food Network series “Invention Hunters,” in which they scout out potential million-dollar kitchen gizmos and try to make their creators’ dreams come true.
“And it’s not just the preparation of food,” Greenberg says. “It’s everything from the growing of food to the preparing to the consumption to the disposal. Anything in the cycle of food is fair game for this show.”
Greenberg maintains the show is about much more than kitchen contraptions.
“It’s absolutely following the American dream,” he explains, “because we talk about America being a place of liberty and freedom — and I’m not taking that away, because it is — but it’s really about entrepreneurship. Coming up with the next great idea and taking that to fame and fortune. You meet these people, and they’re so tenacious and so excited about their invention. And it’s just contagious. I love inventors. I’ll do anything to support them because they really are making this country better.”
What are you currently reading?
“Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants‘ and the Steve Jobs biography. I love true stories and learning how people got from point A to point B.”
What did you have for dinner last night?
“I had a chopped seafood salad at a place called Ocean Prime in Dallas, and it was delicious. I ate there with Tabatha Coffey from Bravo.“
What is your next project?
“I’d like to make ‘Invention Hunters’ a household name. And I’m painting my condo. Does that qualify as a project?”
When was the last vacation you took — where and why?
“My last vacation was last year, and I went to India for two weeks. The Indian culture has always fascinated me, and I love Indian food — it was a vacation that totally did not disappoint.”