When I do something that's stressful, I have to find a moment of peace, so I tend to meditate and get in the flow. It's a regular practice of mine.
In catering, you're always changing; the client is always dictating to you in terms of their wishes.
The biggest challenge of being a pastry chef is that, unlike other types of chefs, you can't throw things together at a farmer's market. When you're working with baking powder and a formula, you have to be exact. If not, things can go wrong.
One of my early childhood memories was my grandmother always having a bowl of Nestle chocolate bars at her house. My sister and I would argue over who could eat the chocolate bars. Looking back, I don't know why we just didn't share. We could have split them.
For me, I love the flavors of Southern food, and people usually think of Southern food as heavy and fattening, but it doesn't have to be.
I believe that there are no mistakes in the universe, so I think it all happens as it should!
I say 'no' to nothing, 'yes' to moderation. That's how I approach everything. No matter if it's candy or foie gras. When you have the real deal, you're satisfied with that one bite. I say go full throttle and call it a day.
Casseroles are one-pot-wonders!
I always tell people a clean cooking area is a clean mind which is available for the creativity.
Keeping your space clean is as much a part of the end result as the dish being tasty.
My biggest fear has always been being 40 and hating my job. I love challenges. I'm not afraid to try anything.
My plans are not to open a restaurant, but what I would like to do is open a kitchen somewhere in D.C. proper and have a chef's table where people can come and taste my food without having to have a catered event.
Turkey is fine, but if I don't have the sides, forget about it. And cornbread stuffing is at the center of my plate. I will have about six sides and then a little bit of turkey and gravy.
What I love about 'The Chew' is that we have these celebrities come on, and you get to see them in a different light, cooking or enjoying food, when we usually don't see them in that setting. So it's a lot of fun for their fans to see them be normal people and having that commonality of food.
I think of New Yorkers as not taking the time to talk to someone they don't know.
When people around me are getting rattled, I may just close my eyes and do a breathing exercise.
I was in Paris, Milan and London from '89 until '91, and I did mostly runway modeling. I know there's so many people out there looking for pictures, but this was way before the age of the Internet, sorry!
I went to L'Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and I think French cooking is the basis for a lot of classical cuisine, a foundation of a lot of other cuisines. That said, it's not the only way to approach a cooking career.
When I first started cooking, I was very much an intuitive cook when it came to taste, but that didn't mean I didn't want to know why some things worked and why others did not. My interest took me to culinary school.