I was recently given a rare and exciting opportunity to interview TV personality, restaurateur and Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. Leading up to the date and time of the interview I was extremely calm and not nervous at all; even though I am a huge fan. I knew I had this in the bag, so to speak. I “knew” Alex from her TV appearances and shows and had done my research. However, after it was all over, all I kept thinking about was, ‘I should have asked this,’ or ‘I should have asked that!’
Oh well, it was one of the few times I have been the interviewer (not the interviewee)! And you live and learn! Oh heck, I have even heard famous talk show hosts, news correspondents and radio deejays say that they tense up, forget things, or just plain can’t remember entire interviews they have done because they are so star struck!
We all know Chef Alex Guarnaschelli as a reoccurring judge on Food Network’s Chopped, judge and challenger on Iron Chef America and The Next Iron Chef, as well as her own shows Alex’s Day Off and The Cooking Loft. She is also the executive chef for New York City’s Butter and The Darby restaurants.
But Alex’s latest project is one that she teamed up with Haagen-Dazs on. Over the past few months Alex collaborated with Haagen-Dazs and wrote the forward to a special e-book called Ode to Summer. This free e-book “captures the essence of summer” and is a compilation of tweets and Instagram photos from Haagen-Dazs fans. This free e-book is not only a great way to reflect and escape the dreary winter time blues, but the Häagen-Dazs brand is donating $25,000 to honey bee research; plus an additional $5 for every download of the e-book up to $50,000. With honey bees such a vital part of our ecosystem and food supply, protecting this endangered species is critical. Alex “grew up eating Haagen-Dazs” and because of her passion for food as a chef, she knows that it is important to protect the honey bees (for more information about downloading this free e-book, see below).
While Ode to Summer, will brighten up these cold winter months, Alex dished about some of her favorite fall foods and holiday traditions. She predicts “to see a huge increase pumpkin and squash popularity this fall;” because these foods are so comforting and are transformed into American classics such as Pumpkin Pie and soup. However, Alex’s favorite fall foods are the rarely acknowledged turnip and rutabaga. When asked, Alex stated her favorite way to prepare turnips “is to roast them with a touch of allspice.” To dress up those rutabagas, Alex suggests “boiling them like a potato, putting them through a ricer, and tossing the riced rutabaga with some sugar or honey.”
With the holiday’s coming up, Alex was happy to dish on her favorite holiday traditions; “bake a different pie every year and top it with ice cream,” of course!
But to help us through the holiday cooking season and weeknight dinners; Alex happily shared one last tip: “Prepare a menu and then go back and eliminate at least one thing. Make it simpler and remember less is more!”
What great advice from such a talented chef! I want to publicly thank Chef Alex Guarnaschelli for taking the time to visit with me. If I ever get the chance to chat with her again I have like a million other questions that I have now thought to ask!
To download the free Ode to Summer e-book, which helps donate $5 to honey bee research please visit the following sites:
And be sure and tune in on November 4th, to catch Chef Alex Guarnaschelli in the season premiere of Food Network’s latest show, The Next Iron Chef: Redemption. (I’ll be sure and watch and cheer Alex on!)
Disclosure: Photos courtesy of Taylor Strategy.