The Truth About Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Table

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HGTV's Fixer Upper propelled Chip and Joanna Gaines to unexpected TV stardom. The Texas-based contractor and his designer wife had been flipping houses for years, but their lives took a huge turn with the launch of Fixer Upper in 2013. Since then, Chip and Joanna have parlayed the show's success into their Magnolia empire, encompassing home decor, book deals, and even their own restaurant. While fans were saddened when they announced their exit from HGTV, they were overjoyed by the subsequent news they were joining Discovery and launching their own Magnolia Network.

One of the shows devised for it is arriving ahead of the network's launch. Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines premieres Jan. 4, 2021, on the new streaming service Discovery+, marking Joanna's first major television foray into cooking. As she said in Discovery's announcement, the show "is filled with tried and true, family favorites," including "recipes that remind me of my childhood, or my heritage, or lazy Saturday mornings at home with my family." She noted, "This cooking show is a celebration of family, community, and traditions around the table."

From the unique set to the late-night host who may have sparked its origin, read on to discover the truth about Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines

Can Jimmy Fallon claim credit for inspiring Joanna Gaines to host a cooking show?

In November 2019, Jimmy Fallon took The Tonight Show on the road, taping a special show on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin. As the university's UT News reported, Fallon welcomed a lineup of Texans as guests, including Matthew McConaughey and Chip and Joanna Gaines.

As the couple discussed plans for the launch of their upcoming Magnolia Network, reported USA Today, Fallon offered Joanna a suggestion. "I don't want to tell you how to do your network, but I would do a cooking show if I were you," he told her. "I like that idea, Jimmy," Joanna replied, looking to Chip to get his read on the idea. "I'm cool with it," Chip agreed. "You're talking to the executives of the Magnolia network, and when Jimmy Fallon says Jo should do a cooking show, I vote that Jo does a cooking show." 

Fallon continued to push the idea. "Yes, I think you should do it, come on! I'd love to be a guest! Will you do one?" Fallon added. "We're doing one," Joanna insisted, adding, "Yes, we're gonna do it... It's gonna be fun." While it'd seem the Gaines already had the idea for Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, we wouldn't blame Fallon for trying to take some credit.

Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines first began with a one-off run on Food Network

Regardless of whether Jimmy Fallon spontaneously came up with the idea for Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines or if the whole thing was an elaborate talk show setup, an announcement was made the day after Chip and Joanna Gaines appeared on The Tonight Show. That announcement, reported TheWrap, confirmed that Joanna would indeed be featured in a cooking show for the new Magnolia Network. "Additional details will be released in the coming months, but this marks the first official sign of Joanna's return to television," read Discovery's statement.

The following spring, Joanna began posting videos on social media of herself cooking up various dishes in the kitchen, filmed by her children. On April 2, she took to Instagram to announce that those self-shot videos were going to be edited together into a one-hour special airing on Food Network. "Well, this is going to be fun!" she wrote in the caption accompanying the video.

In addition, she also revealed the special would include a bonus for fans, "a sneak peek of my actual cooking show that will premiere on Magnolia Network in the coming months!" she said. 

Joanna Gaines shared a preview of Magnolia Table in an official trailer

The launch of Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Network, initially planned for October 2020, was pushed back due to the pandemic. However, Discovery (the new network's parent company) was moving forward with the launch of a new streaming service, Discovery+, in January 2021. As a result, some of the programming that would have debuted on the network was instead shifted to the streaming service.

One of these shows was revealed to be Joanna's long-awaited cooking show. Two days before Christmas 2020, the first trailer for that show — titled Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines — was released. In addition to offering a sneak peek at the show, the premiere date — Jan. 4, 2021 — was also revealed.

The trailer provided a great preview of what fans could expect to see, including plenty of self-deprecating humor. "If you're looking to learn how to cut things, this is not the show for you," she joked of her less-than-stellar knife skills. In addition, the trailer also featured her poking fun at her kitchen's cleanliness — or lack thereof. "I think if your kitchen is not messy, you're not having fun," she declared.

A making of special looked behind the scenes of Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines

A few days after the release of the trailer, Discovery issued a press release to announce the arrival of a new one-hour TV special ahead of the Discovery+ debut of Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines. Titled The Making of Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, Discovery announced that the special would air on Jan. 3, 2021, simulcast on Food Network, HGTV, Cooking Channel, and DIY Network.

According to the release, the special promised to give viewers an inside look at how Chip and Joanna Gaines transformed a historic building in Texas into what was described as "the stunning home of Joanna's new cooking show." 

The press release also included a special message from Joanna to her fans. "I hope you enjoy Magnolia Table as much as I've enjoyed filming it," she said. "It's an honor to get to share some of my favorite recipes with you!"

Before Magnolia Table, Joanna Gaines opened a restaurant and released cookbooks

Joanna Gaines hosting her own cooking show is kind of a no-brainer. While she's primarily known for her design skills on Fixer Upper renovations, she's also authored two cookbooks, Magnolia Table Cookbook and its follow-up, Magnolia Table, Vol. 2: A Collection of Recipes for Gathering. Both cookbooks, in fact, feature recipes for dishes served at Magnolia Table, Chip and Joanna's 200-seat restaurant in Waco. 

According to a feature on the couple in The New York Times, it's Joanna's influence that's defined the restaurant's cuisine — and, by extension, the recipes in her cookbooks and what she whips up for viewers on her new cooking show. However, some of those culinary concepts were met with some resistance by Chip, especially when she declared her intention to add avocado toast to the restaurant's menu. 

"That's disgusting, babe. No one wants avocado on their toast," Chip told Joanna, who also wanted to add a juice bar. "I don't like any juices," Chip declared. "I like bacon." Perhaps illustrative of who rules the roost in their relationship, the restaurant's menu features both avocado toast and a $12 "juice flight." Notably, Chip and Joanna also own The Silos Baking Company and Magnolia Press Coffee Company.

Joanna Gaines took fans on an Instagram Live tour of her new show's impressive set

Months before the first trailer for Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines arrived, Chip and Joanna Gaines hosted a tour of the then-unnamed show's set via Instagram Live. According to Architectural Digest, the kitchen in which Joanna cooks on the show isn't a Hollywood set, but a historic flour mill in Texas, known by locals as the Gristmill.

In their video, reported AD, the couple revealed that they'd driven past the structure for many years and had always admired it. "It felt like a piece of art," Joanna said of the old mill, originally constructed in the 1800s. When it came on the market, they decided to buy it. However, their original plan of renovating the place and transforming it into a bed and breakfast fell by the wayside when, in the midst of renovating, the proverbial light bulb went off in Joanna's head and she realized the mill would be the perfect setting for her new cooking show.  

"Filming at home is already a little hard," she said. "This space was perfect."

Chip and Joanna Gaines renovated the building in which Magnolia Table is shot

When it came to renovating the Gristmill, it was pretty much a given that the historic 1800s flour mill would receive the full Fixer Upper treatment from Chip and Joanna Gaines themselves. 

As Architectural Digest noted, the process was extensive. One of the key things they did in their renovation was to rip down all the drywall to reveal the original two-foot-thick brick hiding beneath. In addition, they also exposed the original wood beams. The goal was to preserve the old charm of the original building while incorporating a state-of-the-art kitchen. Joanna added her own unique touches, including vintage wooden doors and "rustic" furnishings, along with some favorite antique pieces. "I love that I was able to put all of my antiques here," she said.

In addition, Joanna revealed her landscaping plans for the backyard. Aspiring to create an outdoor space that looks like an English garden, Joanna also wanted the yard to have a greenhouse and a chicken coop — all of which would be incorporated into Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines. "I wanted to be able to cook with the fresh food," she explained. 

Joanna Gaines' son Crew gave Magnolia Table his seal of approval

Given that Chip and Joanna Gaines' children helped film their mom's cooking adventures for the Instagram videos before Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines debuted, it's not surprising that the kids received a sneak peek at the new series. Joanna demonstrated this when she shared an adorable photo of 2-year-old son Crew watching an episode on a laptop on Instagram. "Crew's screening my new cooking show and he keeps saying 'yummmmy' — I'll take that as his seal of approval," wrote Joanna in the caption.

Meanwhile, fans can expect to see the Gaines children appear throughout Magnolia Table; in fact, the trailer features an appearance by Crew, sitting atop the counter helping his mom crack a few eggs. And another segment in the trailer sees Joanna joined by her daughter Ella. "So I talked Ella into cooking with me," Joanna said in a clip. "It's kind of satisfying," added Ella as she chopped red bell peppers.

Magnolia Table was originally supposed to premiere on the Gaines' own network

Had it not been for a global pandemic, Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines would have been a jewel in the crown of Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Network. As ABC News reported back in January 2020, the new network — which would take over the DIY Network — was set to launch on October 4. In April, however, Deadline reported that Discovery was delaying the launch.  

"Right now, it's important that we all continue to look out for one another by upholding the guidelines set forth by the experts, leaders and front-line heroes working tirelessly to get us all through this difficult time," said the Gaines in a statement. "With this as our top priority, we've decided to delay Magnolia Network's launch until we can safely resume production."

However, the announcement of the network's delay contained a silver lining. Later that month, the DIY Network aired a four-hour preview of what fans could expect from the new network's eventual launch. That special — Magnolia Presents: A Look Back & A Look Ahead — featured highlights of 10 new shows that would be calling Magnolia Network home. At the time, Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines was not one of them.

There's only one way fans can watch Magnolia Table... for now

Joanna Gaines' new cooking show Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines marked her welcome return to television after a long absence, following the couple's September 2017 announcement they were exiting HGTV and subsequent revelation they'd be launching their own network under the Discovery umbrella. 

When the October 2020 launch of the Magnolia Network was delayed, this presented an opportunity for Discovery. Rather than wait for the network's eventual launch, Discovery announced, content set to air on Magnolia Network would instead be debuted on Discovery+, the new streaming service planned to launch in January 2021. Given the Gaines' built-in fanbase from Fixer Upper, Joanna's new show could now be used as a carrot on a stick to entice fans to sign up for Discovery+.

Until the launch of Magnolia Network (as of December 2020, no date had yet been set), the only platform on which Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines can be seen is Discovery+. According to the New York Post, another enticement to lure Joanna's fans to the new streaming service is its low subscription cost: just $4.99 a month, while a commercial-free version costs $6.99 per month. 

Joanna Gaines has admitted to being nervous about hosting her first-ever cooking show

While there's no question that viewers enjoy watching Joanna Gaines transform spaces in a home-renovation show — usually with shiplap — would they feel the same way about watching her cook meals in her kitchen?

In an April 2020 interview with USA Today, Joanna admitted that same question had crossed her mind. "I've never had a cooking show before, so, I get butterflies when I think about it," she said of the series that would eventually be titled Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines. Creating self-shot Instagram cooking videos with her children and shooting a full-fledged cooking show, she explained, are two vastly different experiences. "I can shoot with my kids in the kitchen when they're shooting me on their little iPhones, or on my iPhone," she said. "It's a whole other thing when there's, like, 20 people looking back at you."

However, she declared she was ready to roll up her sleeves and do her best. "Just like with Fixer, it's not like [in] the first episode we nailed it," she admitted. "It was this ongoing learning experience, and that's how I'm going to look at it with the [cooking] show..."