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I was a writer. I just wasn't a very good one. I was lucky enough to have a playwriting teacher who told me that I'd be a better actor than I would a playwright.


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Something I didn't even know was on my bucket list has been achieved. I have cooked Thanksgiving dinner with Martha Stewart. I vow to follow the gospel of her teachings and do my very best in the remarkably less glamorous kitchen of my own home... without the luxury of magically appearing prep bowls filled by a staff of sous chefs.

The pressure on young chefs today is far greater than ever before in terms of social skills marketing skills cooking skills personality and more importantly delivering on the plate. So you need to be strong. Physically fit. So my chefs get weighed every time they come into the kitchen.

I launched Chefs for Humanity a national nonprofit with my voice heart and money from my own pocket. Money gives you the ability to make a difference in the world and when used in a positive way is a lot of fun.

I still cook at home. A lot of chefs I think don't cook at home. But I still do I love cooking at home I love having friends.

If you want to become a great chef you have to work with great chefs. And that's exactly what I did.

We the chefs have a responsibility to learn about the chemical makeup of food!

Cookbooks have all become baroque and very predictable. I'm looking for something different. A lot of chefs' cookbooks are food as it's done in the restaurants but they are dumbed down and I hate it when they dumb them down.

I think what I do differently from a lot of TV chefs is that I break down barriers and make fine food more accessible to the regular person who might be intimidated. I try hard particularly with wine to make it not intimidating. It's sort of a teaching job.

I've always hoped 'Chopped' would telegraph our enormous affection and love and admiration for chefs and food but at the same time we are inflicting extraordinary cruelty on them.

They eat the dainty food of famous chefs with the same pleasure with which they devour gross peasant dishes mostly composed of garlic and tomatoes or fisherman's octopus and shrimps fried in heavily scented olive oil on a little deserted beach.

In recent years I've been writing because I'm fortunate enough to work in the world of food television to travel and taste and learn about cooking from the best chefs in the business.

Pastry is different from cooking because you have to consider the chemistry beauty and flavor. It's not just sugar and eggs thrown together. I tell my pastry chefs to be in tune for all of this. You have to be challenged by using secret or unusual ingredients.

In the past few years we've been doing amazing stuff with desserts. Pastry chefs have been using herbs and spices in their desserts. So vanilla cake doesn't have to be just vanilla it can have a little thyme. Or you could have a custard with a little lavender in it which is just amazing.