Early on, I wrote about my love of Anthony Bourdain. But I wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t completely schizophrenic about the loves of my culinary life. But here’s the thing about me…I tend to crush out on very different people for very different reasons. (Just ask J, who can tell you that Rachel McAdams is at the top of my Top 5 Elevator List.) For all the reasons I mentioned here, I love Bourdain. And all the reasons I admire Alexandra Guarnaschelli couldn’t be more different.
I think I began noticing Alex Guarnaschelli when I lived in NYC, and the still-hot restaurant Butter jumped on the scene with her as Executive Chef. Eventually she began showing up on Food Network shows here and there, judging and competing on Iron Chef America, before I was smacked in the face by the genius of the one season of Cooking Loft. This was the first time J and I had insisted on watching a cooking show together, mainly because of her amazing manner behind the stove, the way she taught, and the fact that she literally made us want to hang out with her. When that show sadly disappeared, we were super bummed (and we’re still hoping it will make a return visit!)
When I saw the promos for her show Alex’s Day Off, I set the DVR and prepared to be wowed. And to this day, she has not disappointed. It’s her enthusiasm for cooking, and for food, that really draws me in. But more than that, it’s the fact that she never dumbs anything down for her audience. I know about food, I (for the most part) am proficient in the kitchen. I don’t really need to be reminded to wash my hands in between chopping meat and making pastry dough. But she doesn’t overcomplicate either. She just teaches, and shares her joy for what she does. The stories about her parents and her childhood, and how they inspired her to be where she is now…it’s all littered with a personal touch that literally makes you feel like you’re sitting on the other side of her kitchen island, sharing a glass of wine, and hanging out.
Right now I’m obsessed with the fact that she just made homemade butter (and made it look like something anyone could do) and her absolutely gorgeous barbecue sauce, that I will be making sometime very soon. And this birthday cake is quickly about to become a new favorite.
Of course, she is also on Twitter. And at least once every few days, she shares a gem of a food-related feeling that makes me want to drop whatever it is I’m doing and head toward the kitchen.
Which is really all I’m looking for.