By Alannah Kavanagh
How did winning Top Chef affect your life?
It gave me the opportunity to open my own restaurant…There are a lot of opportunities that happened because of the TV show that probably wouldn’t have as far as off-site events, giving the demos, another TV show that I did and that kind of fun stuff.
What was your diet like when you were in your late teens?
My lifestyle was different than most because I would be in the kitchen by 10 in the morning and not leave until one in the morning. They were very long days. When I got home, my cupboard was pretty bare. It was a bowl of cereal with milk in the morning, a fried egg sandwich when I got home, and that was it.
What are your top three kitchen essentials?
A knife, a peeler and a cutting board.
What are your top three kitchen essentials, food wise?
Salt, vegetable oil and all-purpose flour.
What is your favorite thing to cook now?
The best meals that I will ever cook are the ones that are using ingredients and foods that maybe I picked myself or grew myself…
The closer you get to those ingredients, the better those ingredients are going to be. That’s the farm-to-table experience now.
If you had to cook a meal for family or friends in less than 30 minutes, what would you cook?
I’m a sucker for perogies. I always have really good perogies in my freezer. That’s kind of standard, with maybe some caramelized onions with some melted cheese on top. That’s always a winner.
What are some tips for students cooking on a low budget?
Overall, don’t undervalue the importance of buying good food. Buying frozen food doesn’t always save you money. It’s lower nutrition and higher cholesterol. Just buy better food and don’t worry about the rest. It comes naturally.
Are you a cake or a pie person?