Since it’s the holidays and I’m fairly lazy, I thought I’d re-post a fall of 2008 interview I did with FoodNetwork’s and Hunt’s spokesman celebrity chef George Duran. I have a soft spot in my heart for chefs and often times I find myself swooning at the mere mention of cooking implements or dishes. Now, if he has a beard and glasses, you might as well just ignore the gushing sound you hear…Okay, I’ll admit that was kind of gross. Anyway, moving on…
Gwen: After college, you worked in radio and television before you decided to explore cooking professionally. What made you decide to pick up your life and move to France for culinary school?
George Duran: I was a bit confused as to where I wanted to learn French cuisine. I could have easily attended a great culinary school on the East Coast…but I wanted to learn more than the cuisine. I wanted to immerse myself in the language, culture, and customs that are a part of French Cuisine.
Gwen: Many Food Network fans know you from the fantastic show Ham on the Street. How did you come up with the idea to do the show?
George Duran: Fantastic? Did my mom tell you to say that? I had originally come up with the idea for the show in France while playing around with the Parisians by feeding them chocolate truffles on the streets. I was getting great feedback until I let them know that they were made with goat cheese! Their reaction was priceless and I knew I was on to something special.
Gwen: Tell us a little about your new cook book Take this Dish and Twist It.
George Duran: I am so excited about this book! Essentially it’s my humor and creative mind put into pictures and words! It’s comfort food with a gourmet twist.
Cont: I’ve always wanted to serve peanut butter and jelly for dessert, but it just wasn’t gourmet enough. So I went ahead and perfected a PB&J Bread Pudding that will rock the dinner table! The pictures are vibrant, the recipes are curiously exciting, and the entire book is under $20! You can’t even order decent takeout for under $20 in NYC!
Gwen: What/who are some of your influences (cooking, entertaining, etc.)?
George Duran: I’ve always been moved by the greatest talk show hosts of my time, Letterman and O’Brien (yes, I’m young). But Alton Brown is a secret culinary hero of mine.
Gwen: What are some of your favorite recipes in the book?
George Duran: Tough question. I always get great reviews for my “Forgotten Chocolate Souffle”. Essentially it’s a Souffle’ recipe that I was making and had forgotten how long to cook it for. I ended up under cooking it resulting in brownie style edges, but the center was gooey and raw! Serve with strawberries and you’ve got yourself possibly the best dessert of your life! As for something savory…the BLT hotdog! If you love the BLT…then you will go nuts for the BLT Hotdog!
Gwen: What’s next for you? More Secret Life of.?
George Duran: I am in the works for some new shows. Pitching. Writing. Directing. All that stuff…but most of it is top secret! I promise there will be plenty of noise when it comes out!
Gwen: Just another chance to plug the book. Why should we run out to buy Take this Dish and Twist It?
George Duran: Because it’s the only cookbook where you can play a game of “What did I fry?” Check out the fried items on a stick …then turn the page to see the answers!