May 19, 1976 |
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Alma mater||McGill University|
|Occupation||Culinary expert, food writer, television personality|
|Spouse(s)||Jeremy Abrams (2008-present)|
I was very, very little – it was the first time I ever cooked on my own, with my mother's supervision – and I made scrambled eggs. I felt so accomplished, like magic!
The first thing people say to me when they meet me is, 'You're so much skinner in person.' You have to live up to these standards that are so unrealistic. I try to tune it out.
In America, Blackberry Farm in Tennessee is one of the most amazing hotels I've had the privilege of staying at.
It's better to get the nutrients for healthy skin from food, not supplements. Salmon, walnuts, blueberries, spinach… lots of my favorite foods happen to be amazing for skin too.
Find combinations of flavors you love and buy the best quality ingredients you can afford. Your food is only going to be as good as the sum of its parts, like anything else.
I cook mostly vegetarian vegetable and bean stews. Quinoa salads. I make my mother-in-law's recipe for chicken and barley stew all the time.
Like baseball, food will never go out of style; we will always need to eat and we will always find it entertaining. I think of food TV this way – all the fun and none of the calories.
I love The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, an Auberge Property in Bluffton, South Carolina. It's a spectacular corner of the world, with massive old trees lined with Spanish moss, and alligators swimming in the river.
I had decided I wanted to write about food, and I knew the only way to do that is to speak with authority, which meant learning the language and knowing what that experience is like.
I would not say I'm an aggressive shopper. I want to be; I aspire to be an aggressive shopper. I am a meek, meek shopper.
I'm tempted by everything. My husband makes fun of me because every day it's a new food that I love. I have a weakness for butterscotch pudding, ice cream in any flavor and dark chocolate, although that's one thing I do keep in my house – 70% dark chocolate.
I am a glutton for a beautiful hotel. I am so easily smitten by high thread counts.
There are few women in America that don't want to lose 5 pounds, but I refuse to let that thought dominate my life. And there are too many other real problems in the world – real obesity problems and real hunger problems – to worry that much about a few pounds that I'd like to lose.
Because I travel so much, I bring my workout clothes and shoes wherever I go. That way I can always do some exercise.
I sit at this really weird crossroads. My job requires me to take in calories. I take care of myself. I eat healthy. I exercise a lot. But then I have to go to events in cocktail dresses and look fancy, and people want to interview me about what I'm wearing, and then I'm compared to people who are wearing size 2 all the time.
The less you do to beautiful food, the better it's going to taste. You don't need to mess with it all the time.
When I'm cooking for myself, I find that I eat almost completely vegetarian, although I'm not vegetarian.
Eating a lot is an occupational hazard but it's a pretty great problem to have. I spend a lot of time eating sweets on TV – cake, cupcakes, donuts, and pudding. It's a dream job, but at the same time there will be days where I wake up knowing I will eat 15 desserts!
I run a solid 4-6 miles at a time, and over the last year two years I've gotten really into SoulCycle. It's sort of an evolved form of spinning.
First and foremost, you have to remember that restaurants are businesses and they have to stay in business. And though everyone thinks they want grass fed beef, most people actually prefer the taste of corn fed – it is less dry, more marbled, and less gamey, not to mention much less expensive than grass fed.
I never really drank coffee in college, but now I'm on my feet all day and out all night and can't believe it hasn't always been in my life. When morning comes I crave it.
There's not a single chef I know of that does not think about the politics of the food they're serving.
I cannot go to Montreal without going to Beauty's, my favorite place for breakfast, where I have the Mish-Mash omelet with hot dogs, salami, eggs, green peppers, and onions, and the best banana bread in the world. It's legendary!
I have a mantra in my head that there will always be another meal. I can put my fork down, knowing there will be good things in my future!
My husband works in the music industry and he's always the first to know about great new bands, so I end up seeming really with it because I'll be listening to an up-and-coming band before everyone else hears about it.
I reveled in the most basic rules and techniques that are the foundation of professional cooking. For example, it is essential to use a sharp knife: the sharper the knife, the more fluid and precise your work and the less likely you are to get hurt. Dull knives are a danger – they slip far more often.
Balance is key in cooking – you want a little acid, a little sweet, a little savory – the flavors should be harmonious.
I spend so much time in Los Angeles and normally stay at a corporate apartment when shooting 'Top Chef: Just Desserts,' but when I have the chance to stay somewhere more luxurious, I love The Montage in Beverly Hills.
If you don't use good ingredients, the outcome is never going to be excellent. But if you buy the freshest ingredients that are in season, at their peak, and you cook with them, you can't really go wrong.
There are days when I literally have to eat 17 plates of food – it's intense. It's about moderation. You just need a few bites to get the gist of a dish.
I'm a healthy weight for my height, and I like how I look on most days.
I wish I could say I was one of those people who loves working out, but I don't; it's just not that fun. But I make an effort to work out aggressively three times a week.
Patience was not something that came naturally to me, but in cooking it is the quintessential skill.
At the beginning of the week, I roast a ton of vegetables so I can use them for the next few days. I also plan out meals in advance.
You know, I lose patience really easily; I'd rather shop in the grocery store than in the department store. I can pick an apple like nobody's business.
When I diced vegetables, it was painstaking work to make sure that every single piece looked the same: 1/4-inch cubed for small, 3/4-inch cubed for large. It's a matter of practice and precision.
A big thing that gets people in trouble in the kitchen is not reading the recipe from start to finish before you cook it. Before you start anything, read through the entire recipe once.
Dark chocolate, and salt and vinegar chips are my weakness – but not together.
My mother's kitchen was built to be the focal point of our house. I got into the kitchen often as a child.
I also have a soft spot for spicy chicken wings. They are always best eaten at dives and sports bars, like Wogie's in the West Village, New York City, near my house.