Centro Vinoteca chef Anne Burrell was well known to Food Network viewers as Mario Batali’s assistant on Iron Chef America, but as we reported last month, she’s getting her own Food Network show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. We checked in with Burrell to see what she had planned for her big star vehicle and just how it was different from every other cooking show, anyway.
What is this new show of yours like? Is it a regular cooking show or what?
They tried several different formats, but the one that works best is based on what I do at Centro [Vinoteca]. Every episode shows me in there cooking something from our menu. Then it moves to a set and shows me cooking that in a way you could do at home. That’s what’s different. The level of seasoning, the level of heat in the pan, taking things to the edge, and doing it with confidence. That’s restaurant cooking!
But how is that different from a regular cooking show?
I have a point of view that I’m coming from a restaurant, so this cooking has a special kind of credibility. Do you think Rachael Ray could go into a restaurant and cook? For instance, one show is how to do a leg of lamb. When you buy it at the supermarket, it’s weighed with the bone. So we bone it, but then we say, “Let’s be smart and use it.” So we rest the boned roast on the bone in the pan, surrounded by artichokes and potatoes, infusing the liquids the whole time.
Was being a regular on Iron Chef America, as Batali’s sous-chef, good training for a regular cooking show?
I cook a whole lot faster on Iron Chef! It’s so slow. Iron Chef you’re in and out in one hour; on a cooking show, everything is stop and start. There’s a segment, and then they adjust you, try it another way. It’s a huge difference!
So when is this show going to start?
It’s premiering June 29 at 9:30 in the morning. So, Josh, when you wake up with your hangover and turn on the TV, Anne Burrell will be in your bedroom with you!