Tasty TV: Alex Guarnaschelli of 'Chopped'
No matter what happens in Kitchen Stadium, Guarnaschelli can't lose. A Food Network favorite since 2008, the Barnard-schooled Guy
The show pits four chefs of varying pedigrees against one another to make masterful dishes from baskets filled with oft-puzzling ingredients (a recent basket contained mangosteens, dried shrimp and yak steaks), rewarding the winner of each episode with $10,000. For modestly paid chefs, that frequently represents the chance to keep a family, a dream and a career afloat -- and it's that opportunity, as much as the chance to discover great new talent, that appeals most to Guarnaschelli.
"To me, 'Chopped' is a great platform for championing great causes," she says. "Especially ones like (a recent episode featuring lunch ladies who healthfully revamped their schools' meal programs) that pertain directly to food choices, cooking and eating in America. I almost feel 'Chopped' has a responsibility to do that!"
Guarnaschelli isn't afraid to walk that talk herself. On Jan. 8, she'll team up with former "Super Chefs" rival Anne Burrell to take on Michael Symon and
Despite her near omnipresence on the Food schedule, Guarnaschelli remains unsure as to the wisdom of turning super chefs into TV superstars. "Take a tiger out of his or her habitat?" she says. "I'm still not convinced it's a safe idea."
What are you currently reading?
" 'Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk' by David Sedaris and 'Life on the Line' by
What did you have for dinner last night?
"Pizza with fresh chilies."
What is your next project?
"To take some cooking classes. And put up my Christmas tree."
When was the last vacation you took -- where and why?
"Los Angeles, because I love the weather and produce there."