Celebrity chef & Food Network icon Aarón Sanchez called in to share some unique recipes that incorporate grapes into everyday meals (and beverages - Aarón suggested a pickled grape would be a good addition to a cocktail). Aarón also complemented me on my spot-on pronunciation of “New Orleans,” which apparently previous interviewers had failed to do. Win-win!Follow @bigwakeupcall
Ellie Krieger called in to share some great recipe ideas using olive oil. She also discussed the different types of olive oil and when to use them, and cleared up some myths about “fake” oil. Plus: a delicious discussion of her life-affirming double chocolate brownies.Follow @bigwakeupcall
We always have fun talking to Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, and this time I really needed her help to avoid a pre-holiday meltdown and/or freakout as we get ready to host Thanksgiving at our house. Alex had some great tips on staying organized, coming up with healthy versions of holiday classics, and how not to drive yourself (meaning me) crazy.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Damaris Phillips was a big winner on “The Next Food Network Star” and her show “Southern at Heart” is fun, sweet and charming. After giving her the necessary and appropriate kudos for her ridiculously addictive fried pickles recipe, we got down to business discussing how to make the holidays stress-free and waste-free when it comes to food prep.
We always have fun when Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian calls in, and this time we got right down to business and talked steak and red wine. Listen carefully for GZ’s most valuable tip for successfully cooking a sirloin steak with a cast iron pan — it’s life-changing!Follow @bigwakeupcall
Geoffrey Zakarian is an Iron Chef and one of the stars of “The Kitchen” on Food Network, my favorite way to start a Saturday morning. In fact, with GZ’s appearance (and he was totally fine with me calling him GZ), I’ve now interviewed 4/5 of the panel with Jeff Mauro being the only holdout. [Jeff! Come do our show!] GZ called in with some expert grilling tips just in time for the unofficial kickoff of barbecue season this Memorial Day Weekend.
“The Kitchen” on Food Network is my favorite way to start Saturday morning, and it was great to catch up with one of the stars of the show Sunny Anderson. Sunny talked about how I can avoid going from “dad bod” to “bad bod” with her tips for healthy eating on the go, and then we made plans to all meet at fellow “Kitchen” star Jeff Mauro’s new Chicago restaurant “Pork and Mindy’s” for a sandwich.
Duff Goldman’s Charm City Cakes is back on Food Network with a new series, “Cake Masters,” which premieres Monday night at 8c. This time we get a behind-the-scenes look at the West Coast office, where Duff and the gang are making cakes for the Hollywood elite and more. We discussed what we’ll see on the series, what surprise guests might be dropping by, and how Duff saved our Easter with his frosting.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Seamus Mullen is a chef, restaurant owner, cookbook author and TV personality (you’ve seen him on “Next Iron Chef,” “Chopped,” and “Beat Bobby Flay,” among many others). Seamus called in to talk about making smart choices with food, especially with using extra virgin olive oil. I also pleaded for him to open a great new Spanish restaurant in Chicago and tried to sell him my old bike. Our interview apparently covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time.Follow @bigwakeupcall
Chef Amanda Freitag called in to talk about a new season of “American Diner Revival” on Food Network, which she co-hosts with Ty Pennington. We talked about why it’s important to preserve classic diners, common things that can get a mom-and-pop restaurant in trouble, and her favorite diner food.Follow @bigwakeupcall