If I have committed any culinary atrocities, please forgive me.
When the idea of 'Chopped' surfaced, it was originally meant to be taped at some guy's mansion with him and his crazy Chihuahua. A stuffy fellow in a tuxedo was to host, and the losing chef's dish was then fed to the dog! I am not kidding, I saw it! I think it is genius! Twisted, but genius!
One of the smartest things you can do on 'Chopped' is to take one of those ingredients and make a pickle out of it, because almost every dish benefits from that. I'm feeling like those intuitions are becoming more natural.
People who hardly ever cook at all, suddenly at the holidays, feel like it's their responsibility to not only cook dinner for large groups of people suddenly, but to serve things that are fussy or fancy or formal. And I don't think that's what anybody really wants, especially if you're not good at it.
The best way to learn is live, in person, cooking, feeling, smelling and tasting, but TV is the second-best thing to that; it's a halfway facsimile.
Believe me, I understand the need for easy and speedy. After a 12-hour day of shooting 'Chopped,' say, I'm talking stir-fry, spaghetti, heck, peanut-butter sandwiches. But that's not about the joy of food. That's survival.
My whole problem is that all of my favorite things at Thanksgiving are the starches, and everyone is trying to go low-carb this year, even a green vegetable has carbs in it.
I had a little epiphany when I was a writer at 'Chicago' magazine. I sat down to dinner at the Ritz-Carlton. Somebody poured a white dessert wine with chocolate cake. It was a wine I would never have expected to make sense. The idea of any wine tasting fabulous with chocolate cake was fascinating to me.
Planning a dinner party in a way that you're actually capable of getting it done without panicking is important. It's bad hospitality for the host to be freaked out.
Cooking for people is an enormously significant expression of generosity and soulfulness, and entertaining is a way to be both generous and creative. You're sharing your life with people. Of course, it's also an expression of your own need for approval and applause. Nothing wrong with that.
I am much more interested in the process than results.
I'm a home cook and love to read about food, but I'm not trained as a chef. I'm just really into cooking and passionate about it.
Cooking allows you to have travels, adventures and journeys without going anywhere. The running joke between my partner and me is that I'm not really concerned about how long it takes, or how much I destroy the kitchen, because I just have such a good time doing it.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they cook for other people is to think that it has to be fancy and elaborate. This results in enormous expense and nine days of labor, plus you end up trying to assemble a croquembouche in front of your guests and everyone's experiencing flop sweat.
Thom is one of those wonderful people to cook for because he absolutely loves it, just loves it. He loves to eat and drink and he'd be a great guest at any dinner party.
It's a 12-hour cooking class for me on the set of 'Chopped.' You'd think I'd get sick of it, but it's a source of endless interest to me. The only thing I don't like about it is it's a long day and my feet hurt. Otherwise, I love it.
It's okay if you finish cooking something easy after your guests arrive - some dishes must be prepared a la minute, as chefs say. Just remember to keep talking.
I cook everything. I love Mediterranean cooking, I love Asian cooking. I do lots of Japanese noodles.
I like to have friends in the kitchen and make a big mess and use every pot in the kitchen.
Not to sound too much like Christopher Guest in 'Waiting for Guffman,' but on Thanksgiving you're putting on a show!