The Chef Betty Interview: Alex Guarnaschelli
Chef Betty finds out what’s in Food Network star Alexandra Guarnaschelli’s fridge – and scores three yummy recipes.
-The Betty Editors
Alexandra Guarnaschelli is a professional chef and a passionate home cook who’s appeared on hit shows like Iron Chef America and Chopped, and has her own show, The Cooking Loft. Now, this kitchen diva has landed a second program, Alex’s Day Off, to share her favorite at-home recipes. (Sundays at 9:30am ET/PT, Food Network).
Chef Betty caught up with Alexandra to get her answers to some out-of-the-ordinary questions. We didn’t ask about her culinary childhood with her mother, the esteemed cookbook editor Maria Guarnaschelli. Nor did we ask about Alexandra’s time in France, working under the restaurateur Larry Forgione and at the top-rated Paris restaurant Guy Savoy. What Chef Betty really wanted to know was what Alexandra keeps in her fridge—and her junk food cravings. Here, her intriguing answers, plus three of her fabulous recipes:
What’s the most embarrassing thing in your fridge?
Probably two packages of Kraft American Cheese singles. I love the gloriously plastic way they melt on bread, and the taste is so familiar; it’s good comfort food.
What’s the junk food you can’t resist?
Sour Cream and Onion Pringles, Salt and Vinegar Chips, and Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Bars.
What was your biggest cooking disaster?
I made about 400 small seafood salads for a palate opener at Restaurant Daniel [in New York City]. I spent about two days assembling all of the elements. Just before dinner, I took a cold plate out of the top level of the fridge where all of the seafood salads were. The plate hit the fan of the fridge, shattered and sprayed glass over the salads. I just closed the fridge and left it that way. I couldn’t bear to look at it or tell anyone what had happened. I ended up serving a tomato crostini instead!
So, Alexandra, we want to know: what is the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?
Is there anything you haven’t eaten yet and want to try?
I won’t know until I get there!
Who would you like to cook for?
[Legendary chefs] Dione Lucas, Julia Child and Marion Cunningham.
Name four people you’d want at your dream dinner party.
Andy Warhol, Truman Capote, Gloria Steinem and Al Gore. Could you imagine the conversation?
You have unannounced guests and you need to prepare a meal fast. What would you make in 15 minutes?
Grilled Ham and Gruyere Cheese Sandwiches and a big salad of greens with shallot and red wine dressing. For dessert, caramelized apples with apple sorbet and toasted almonds.
What ingredients should every cook have in their kitchen?
Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemons, red wine Vinegar, and gherkins. And I always have a bottle of sparkling wine, several jars of capers of all sizes, and a jar of sour pickles in my fridge.