To Celebrate the 2014 James Beard Awards: My TV Dinners with Sara Moulton and Ina Garten

As we gear up for the 2014 James Beard Awards, I am honored to be nominated for Outstanding Host in the Broadcast category, alongside Sara Moulton and Ina Garten (wow). I’m also inspired to reminisce a little about some of my shared TV times with these amazing women.

Sara Moulton was the original food TV host. With her ground-breaking program Cooking Live Prime Time, she artfully exhibited how a true pro can share the spotlight and warm the kitchen with genuine foodie banter that teaches, tantalizes and entertains in perfect proportion.  She helped her guests (even the shy ones) shine, all the while teaching and trailblazing with fascinating personalities and emerging talents that had a story and a viewpoint worth sharing. It was a great recipe.

I have been lucky to be on-screen and in the kitchen with all of the great Food Network-era TV chefs—important word there in my book–and will cherish the laughs, memories, mishaps (that’s live TV:) and learning forever.  No one’s ever topped Sara for her authenticity and confidence to let it roll as if you were really there in her kitchen. I love you Emeril and you are on a par. I adore this picture of the two of you as young kitchen mavericks.

Sara I loved being your recurring Master Somm guest. We shook up martinis, blended up smoothies and paired up everything from French bistro classics to native American tribal cuisine. Do you remember the kitchen towel fire that we had to douse on the fly with with a glass of red wine (the show must go on)?

Ina Garten was launching her cookbook Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, and our Beloved Borders bookstore tapped me to host an episode of Borders Kitchen with her to promote the book.

I remember the aura of the just-finished culinary barn at her Hamptons home.  We’ve all visited it through her TV shows and on arrival I decided it’s what foodie Heaven must be like. I remember the crisp blue collared and cuffed shirts awaiting the Contessa’s arrival for wardrobe and makeup, and the very mild-mannered and self-deprecating Ina herself.

“I’m not a trained chef,” she said, explaining her painstaking process of testing each recipe for her books with multiple iterations of real-world kitchen equipment.  Like all home cooks, she’d been there—totally bewildered as to why a carefully-followed cookbook recipe developed by a chef in a professional kitchen came out completely wrong in a home kitchen using civilian gear like a GE stove and your wedding gift Revereware pots and pans. I respected that a lot. We had a blast cooking and chatting, and I hope I will be able to re-connect with you in person at the Awards.

Thanks for the memories, ladies and a toast to you both! I am honored to have been nominated with you.

1 reply
  1. Debra Maddox
    Debra Maddox says:

    What an honor and congratulations! It was my great pleasure to be a part of your wine club several years ago and to have you come and meet me at The French Laundry and bring me signed copies of books. I think it truly was one of the highlights of my life. I saw all your shows on Pairings, too and have followed your website since it’s inception, being one of the “beta reviewers” when you were launching and then revamping it.


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *