MomCrush Monday: Chef Alex Guarnaschelli (and Her Fantastic New Book)

If there’s something we love here at Easy Parenthood, it’s a hard-working parent. We especially love ladies killing it in predominantly male-dominated fields, something we want both our daughters and our sons to respect and normalize. What do we love even more than that? Really great food, of course. Today’s #momcrushmonday is a heady combination of all those things and more: mother, daughter, chef, author, and television personality Alex Guarnaschelli. 

We caught up with Guarnaschelli to talk about her favorite food memories, cooking for her daughter, staying inspired in her home kitchen, and her gorgeous new book, The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart.

Easy Parenthood: What was your earliest memory of food and family life intersecting?

Alex Guarnaschelli: I made a cheese soufflé recipe for my daughter that my mom makes for me. Talk about a 360 moment.  My childhood, my daughter’s too.  That dish would be delicious to me no matter what.

EP: Did you always know you would build a career in food? Was your mother’s legacy daunting to follow?

AG: I don’t think I follow my mother. She showed me how to cut a path in food but we do very different things in the field.  She is bookish and loves to follow recipes. I am more instinctive and messy.

EP: Does your daughter want to follow your footsteps into the culinary world?

AG: Not as of yet.  She loves to eat and cook but she has that in the “pure joy” category. She opens her eyes some mornings and says, “What’s for dinner, Mom?”

EP: What’s your favorite food memory with Ava? With your mother?

AG: Making salted and baked eggplant where Ava cut and cooked it herself for the first time.  With my mom, it was watching my mom watch Ava do this very thing! Amazing feeling.

EP: How did having Ava change the way you relate to food, in terms of cooking it and in terms of preparing it?

AG: I identify so much more with home cooking.  Getting the food cooked and on the table fast and easy! Hence, my new book The Home Cook. 

EP: Do you cook differently when it’s just you and Ava for a meal?

AG: We cook simple things. I stick to basic vegetables and salads.  Now she’s really into grains.  We tend to explore foods more comprehensively by category.

EP: How do you balance your career with meals at home with your family? How do you keep yourself from becoming too fatigued to make choices about what to cook at home? 

AG: I try not to let exhaustion and food intersect.  Cooking is my profession. We have lazy days.  We eat some NYC pizza.  We have a burger or a salad.  But my daughter really loves to cook simple foods and have dinner at home!

“I try not to let exhaustion and food intersect. Cooking is my profession. We have lazy days. We eat some NYC pizza.  We have a burger or a salad.  But my daughter really loves to cook simple foods and have dinner at home!” – Chef Alex Guarnaschelli 

EP: How do you feel about modifying recipes to tailor them to kids? (Be honest!)

AG: I think people should modify as they like.  As long as recipes get people cooking, I’m for it!

Get your whole family working together in the kitchen with your own copy of The Home Cook

Try Recipes from The Home Cook at home:

Recipes and photographs reprinted from The Home Cook: Recipes to Know by Heart by Alex Guarnaschelli. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Guarnaschelli. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Johnny Miller. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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