Jenny Dell is hard at work cooking up a new project.
The former NESN sideline reporter and current CBS Sports reporter recently launched a food-focused website with her college friend Tracy Simon titled SIMply DELLicious.
The venture may seem a bit out of left field for Dell, but before she ever considered working in sports, she was well on her way to becoming a chef. When she was 12 and growing up in Connecticut, her parents enrolled her in culinary school, making her the youngest person in her class.
“My mom would drop me off, and the instructor and all the other adults would look at her and say, ‘Wait, you’re leaving?’” Dell said. “But by the end of the classes, people were handing me their business cards, telling me to come work with them once I was older.”
Dell considered culinary school for college as well before ultimately choosing University of Massachusetts Amherst for its hospitality and restaurant management program, which is where she met Simon, her SIMply DELLicious partner, in 2006. The duo then reconnected in Florida, where they had both relocated to in 2018.
“I moved here in July, and saw on Facebook that Jenny was in Florida,” Simon said. “I sent her a message, and it turned out we live 10 minutes away from each other.”
The duo plans to split some of the work responsibilities, with Simon concentrating on the website, updating the blog, and cataloging some of the recipes, and Dell using her TV experience to help develop their cooking videos, which she said will be very fun and casual.
“We want to showcase the fact that we’re just two UMass girls having fun in the kitchen,” Dell said. “We want to show people how simple and enjoyable cooking can be.”
Simon said that some of their emphasis will be on short, shareable Instagram videos, but that they will also look to do longer-form recipe videos on YouTube. Dell said that they want to try livestream cooking shows, too.
“We’ll put out a recipe over the weekend and say, ‘Hey, everyone, here’s the ingredients to our chicken parm recipe,'” Dell said. “‘Let’s meet on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. and make it together.’”
Dell said that some of SIMply DELLicious’s content will be family-focused as well, as the pair’s families get together for dinner almost every weekend. Dell and her husband, former Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebooks, welcomed their first child, Madison “Maddy” Dell Middlebrooks, into the world in October, and Dell has been vocal about the couple’s use of in vitro fertilization. Simon and her husband, Frank, have two children, a 15-month-old daughter also named Maddy and a 5-year-old son named Jackson, whom Simon said she may enlist to “help” in the kitchen in some of their videos.
While Dell’s daughter might be a bit young to participate in the cooking show, Dell said Middlebrooks may join the fun on occasion.
“My husband, Will, loves to use the smoker,” Dell said. “We might try to do a spin-off with the guys grilling or using the smoker down the line.”