“It’s funny because when I went to college, I was a communications major with a media-studies concentration and a business-and-theater minor,” says TV personality Sara Gore. “And I feel like I’m doing it all now.”
Gore, who lives in Bronxville, certainly has a lot on her plate. If you tune into NBC on Sundays, you’ll see her hosting Open House NYC, a show that takes viewers through the most extravagant homes in the New York area. During the week, she’s on-air at 11:30 a.m., mulling over all things celebrity, fashion, culture, and food on New York Live.
She’s interviewed heaps of celebrities while covering the red carpet for the Emmys and Golden Globes. Her first year on the job, she spoke with Glenn Close, Steven Spielberg, Kerry Washington, and Jodie Foster. A professional chef (she learned from Jean-George Vongerichten), Gore was nominated for an Emmy for her show Recipe Revamp. In it, she gets renowned chefs to show her how to make their most famous dishes, then she recreates them in a test kitchen. (She says the show is still waiting for a sponsor to go live.)
Still, five nights a week Gore manages to cook for her three children, ages 2, 5, and 7. “Little princess Fiona is the youngest and only girl,” she says. “She runs the house; she’s the boss.” In other words, she’s following in her mother’s footsteps.
Gore grew up in the Adirondacks, splitting her time between Saratoga and Lake George, where she still brings her family on vacation. (“We don’t do the Hamptons,” she insists. “We do Lake George.”) As a kid, she loved to cook and act. She spent hours in the kitchen with her mother, preparing three-course meals for the family and hundreds of desserts a week for a local soup kitchen. “It was great because I learned how to do quantity work while also giving back,” she says. She was also successful as a beauty pageant contestant, winning Miss Teen New York in 1993 and placing in the top six in Miss Teen USA.
When Gore moved to New York City, to attend Marymount Manhattan College, she was a “starving artist,” as she puts it. So, she turned to restaurant work to pay the bills. Gore’s first official gig was at a 60-seat boutique restaurant in the West Village. “When I walked in and asked for the job, the chef threw me a bucket of fish and said, ‘Scale them; clean them; fillet them,’” she recalls. “When I did it, he said, “You’re hired. I was trying to scare you away.” She went on to become a line cook for V Steakhouse, Vongerichten’s restaurant in the Time Warner Building.
An acting agent secured her a role in an Off-Broadway play, but also suggested she audition for food shows on television since she knew so much about the topic. “Right away, it felt natural to me,” she says. “I never went back to acting. It was meant to be.” She put together a pilot for the Food Network and did a cooking series for General Mills titled Dinner Made Easy.
Even before real-estate-and-design shows were trendy, a station tapped her to host a show in which she took audiences inside interesting homes. “We ended up going to George Oliphant’s apartment on Minetta Street and doing this little pilot in the corner of his tiny little kitchen,” she notes. “A year later, in 2008, NBC bought the company, and I’ve been under the umbrella ever since.” That show soon became Open House NYC. A year later, New York Live launched.
Gore is perhaps most famous for hosting the red carpet at big events, from The Golden Globes to SNL’s 40th anniversary. While she came across as gregarious and carefree, the reality is much different. “We didn’t have any planned interviews, so I had to know everything about anyone who could be on that carpet,” she says. “I watched every nominated movie and television show. I knew everyone presenting. I knew everything going on in their lives.” She remembers it was freakishly cold her first year hosting the Globes, so she wore knee-high suede boots under her gown.
While focused with her career, Gore met Matthew Miele, a director and screenwriter who is now her husband, after Miele had seen the TV star on Open House NYC and asked a makeup artist at NBC to arrange a set-up. Gore agreed to one date, but it was a month until the second one. “I was in a phase in my life when I wasn’t giving anyone a chance,” she says. “I was just busy, and I kept trying to cancel, and he wouldn’t let me. He would say, “Turn your taxi around; you are coming to meet me now.’”
They have a few projects they work on together. They have a podcast named Last Night at the Carlyle, where they sit at Bemelmans Bar and chat with the musical performers about whatever comes to mind. One of their big interviews was with pianist and composer Earl Rose, known for composing the music for the film Always at the Carlyle.
But most of their big jobs occur at home, in their 1927 Mediterranean-style Bronxville house. They moved in seven years ago, after searching for a home for almost a year. “When I saw this home, I thought, What an amazing neighborhood for my kids to go trick-or-treating,” recalls Gore. “Why I thought about that, I have no idea.” The house is open and spacious and in a village they love.
On weekends, the family heads to local farmers’ markets, where the children get to pick out whatever vegetables and fruits they desire. “If they pick it out and see it being all bright and shiny, they are more likely to eat it,” says Gore. They visit Chantilly Patisserie on days when there are Cruffins, a muffin-croissant mix that is packed with delicious fillings. Their family is obsessed with pizza, specifically comparing the pies at nearby hotspots Coals and Burrata. “Coals is super-thin [and grilled over coal], and Burrata is just awesome… it’s fluffier and doughier,” she explains. “Thank God there is a lot of good pizza in Bronxville.”
Even when Gore is exploring Westchester with her family, she is still working. “I always try to get some coverage for Bronxville because I’m proud of my little town” she said. “Any small business I try to highlight.”
Alyson Krueger is a freelance journalist in New York City and a regular contributor to Westchester Magazine.