My life has changed A LOT in the past few years. I’ve gone from working insane hours in restaurant kitchens to working insane hours in television studios, rushing in and out of airports, and sometimes feeling like I live out of a suitcase. There are times when I just long for the days when I was chained to a restaurant stove! My life is super exciting these days, but there are so many times when I just wish I could stay home, cook dinner, and sit down at my own dining room table to eat it. Because as thankful as I am for all that’s happened to me, one thing has not changed: I still love to cook and I love to teach people how to cook
. Now I just get to do it on a much broader spectrum . . . and I’m extremely lucky.
When I ride my bike around New York City these days, sometimes people wave, they yell, “Hi Chef Anne!” and they stop me at red lights to share how I helped teach them how to make the perfect roast chicken or they yell, “BTB, RTS!” It always makes me smile and laugh out loud! It’s what being on TV has done for me—empowered me to empower home cooks like you. But TV is just the medium to getting the message out there—at the end of the day I’m just a cook. It doesn’t matter how many shows I have or how many books I write, cooking is in my soul and if the shows and all the celebrity stuff disappeared tomorrow, I’d go right back into the kitchen and pick up my wooden spoon and start cooking. It’s just who I am. let’s rock your kitchen !
Cooking is not rocket science—becoming a good cook is about learning the basics and then applying them. Once you have these principles down you can branch out to different types of cuisines and flavors and get more creative. It’s all about understanding the techniques and feeling confident in those skills, trusting yourself and your sense of taste, and deciding where you want to go with it . . . it’s up to you! My job is to empower you to become the best cook you can be and to learn to own your kitchen. Why? Because cooking is fun—and delicious.
I feel very grateful to spend my life doing something I love SOOOOO much. Certainly I loved working in restaurants, and like most chefs, I focused on one type of cuisine and worked hard to do it really well. As I’ve progressed in my career, I’ve branched out beyond my rustic Italian roots. I love that people don’t watch my show to learn how to cook rustic Italian food; they watch my show to learn how to cook.
My mother often asks me where I come up with ideas for my recipes. I always say the same thing: I don’t know! Every time I have to sit down and write new recipes I’m totally stuck at first. Then I start to think about what I’ve tasted lately that’s turned me on—I may be really into ramen at that moment, craving spicy curries, or excited by Spanish flavors. Cooking is an incredible way to experience the world and to bring amazing flavors out there into your own home. To me, food is the only truly universal language (every living thing has to eat!) and you can learn a ton about people and other cultures through their food.
My recipes pull from all my experiences—they are influenced by the people, places, and tastes that inspire me and are brought together in a way that I think will be delicious. It doesn’t matter where the inspiration comes from—it only matters that you’re open to new experiences and that you have the skills to help you accomplish whatever it is you
want to cook. And then COOK IT LIKE YOU OWN IT! a girl chef on the go
Since I left the daily life of a restaurant chef, everything has changed. I used to know that Tuesday through Saturday I’d be at the restaurant for twelve hours a day cooking, dealing with deliveries, staff, customers, and even broken toilets—but at least I knew it would all happen in the same building. Today I never know exactly where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing! My family and friends text me and say, “Where in the world is Anne Burrell?” I’m not complaining; I love my life! I love the adventure of it and the not knowing what’s next. But it’s SOOOOO different than it was just a few years ago.
A great part of this new routine is that I have met SO many amazing people and eat lots of delicious food. Wherever I go, I always try to build in a little time for myself to discover something new, and I’ve found that every city or town has something special to offer. I love the Westside Market in Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, when I was in Dallas picked at a business lunch and then headed straight to a BBQ joint recommended by the locals, and in Hawaii I got up at five in the morning to see the tuna market in action. But even when I’m in New York City, I treasure every opportunity thrown my way and each one ultimately influences me when I’m developing new recipes. So many times when I’m having all these experiences, I just sit back and say: Wow! Going to culinary school got me here??? excuse me while I dive into something more comfortable!
I don’t get to cook for myself and my friends as often as I used to. So when I am home, I don’t want to go out for a fancy dinner and I certainly don’t want another club sandwich from room service!!! I just want to put on my stretchy pants, drink a glass (or two!) of wine, and eat good old homemade food and catch up with my friends. I can’t wait to dive into a great dish of pasta, whip up a fabulous chopped salad with warm goat cheese, or dig into a great turkey burger. And that’s what this book is about.
I see the world through food, and these are my interpretations of my experiences and the recipes that I have incorporated into my home life. This collection includes many of my new favorites, the ones I make for myself and for my friends and family when we’re just hanging out. My food isn’t fussy (that doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to detail!): I always have good mise en place,
I always clean as I go, and I’m always doing QC (quality control) and making sure things taste delicious. But the food itself is homey and comfy. You’ll find a great, brined turkey for your Thanksgiving feast, some seriously killer sandwiches, and amazing brunches among other yummy dishes. It’s a collection of recipes that I’ve put together because I LOOOOOVE them—and that’s the beautiful thing about cooking, there’s always room for new recipes in your arsenal.
This book is meant to build your confidence in the kitchen, and to make cooking approachable and fun. My goal is to get you to be excited about making dinner, to start thinking like a chef, to try new things and experience new flavors—and then TO OWN IT!!! So grab these recipes, cook them, and kill them with deliciousness!
Excerpted from Own Your Kitchen by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer. Copyright © 2013 by Anne Burrell with Suzanne Lenzer. Excerpted by permission of Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.