Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli was already expanding her palate at the age of seven. The daughter of esteemed cookbook author Maria Guarnaschelli, much of Guarnaschelli’s childhood took place in the kitchen rather than on the playground. However, the kitchen was her playground in every sense of the phrase. Whether it was a book on Indian food one year, a book on Italian another, Guarnaschelli’s palate was subject to whatever her Mother was working on, which is something we like to attribute to this chef’s boundless success. Over the years, Guarnaschelli has graced the kitchens of culinary titans like Daniel Boulud, Guy Savoy and Larry Forgione, until sure enough, she began her own culinary legacy with Butter Restaurant. Butter serves innovative American cuisine with a green-market inspired menu. Guarnaschelli then expanded this innovative vision to The Darby, a new modern dining hot spot with ever-popular crispy potatoes we now have the recipe to – and yes, we’re about to share it with you. Guarnaschelli brings her flawless palate to other frontiers as well; a regular judge on Food Network’s Chopped, Guarnaschelli resides at the helm of the network, as the host of both Alex’s Day Off and The Cooking Loft. Like any great new icon, we can’t help but check out what this one’s up to…
Can you describe what your ideal food day would be? Where would you go?
I really love shopping for food as much as I like cooking it. My ideal day would begin at the market with loads of fresh produce. I’d bring it home and cook with some friends. It might involve some Champagne as well.
What are your favorite places to travel for inspiration? Where do you go there?
I love America, and I am a sucker for great local ingredients. Charleston, South Carolina is a great example. There are so many great chefs there. There is a bona fide food community that revolves around the local ingredients. Some of my favorite places are Fig, Hominy Grill and Husk. I also love Los Angeles. There’s something about wandering around the Santa Monica Market that is so zen. If I could cook those asparagus and artichokes every day, I would. Some of my favorite places to eat include Joan’s On Third and Son of a Gun.
Where would you like to travel for inspiration that you haven’t been to yet?
This is a long list of places that changes all the time. Currently topping my list are Sweden, Ireland and Australia.
What ingredients make everything better? Which do you find overrated? Why?
A pinch of sugar makes everything better. Sometimes vegetables are missing just a touch of sweetness.
A splash of Worcestershire sauce can solve a lot of problems, too. It adds a “cooked in” salt taste.
Garlic can save dishes when they taste a little too sweet.
What restaurants do you consider underrated?
Hearth restaurant in New York City. It has been a longtime favorite of mine.
What is your go-to recipe when cooking for family and friends?
When in doubt, I always say make whoopie pies.
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