By Lori Acken
Anne Burrell — Mario Batali’s right-hand woman on Iron Chef America who’s gone on to star in Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and Worst Cooks In America — is awed that Food Network’s faithful fan base has turned her and her pals into the rock stars of the gustatory set.
Now she’s looking to return the favor.
Tomorrow marks the release of Burrell’s first cookbook, titled Cook Like A Rock Star, which spotlights Burrell’s infectious wit and fearless personality — and her sincere belief that you can cook well, too, with a little friendly guidance.
“That’s what the message is — it’s about empowerment,” Burrell says. “It’s like, if chefs are the new rock stars and people are the chefs of their own kitchens, then I want them to be rock stars, too!”
“It’s a teaching tool, but it’s about fun,” she explains of the 125-recipe edition that covers everything from her favorite “little nibbles” (Piccolini) to a seasonal must-make Maple-Pumpkin Bread Pudding. “It takes out the fear the factor and makes success rate go up, so people feel better about doing things.”
Including bringing loved ones into the kitchen to bond over newfound skills and favorite dishes. “Do it with your family! Do it on a date! Do it for yourself!” Burrell exclaims. “My mission is to make the process of getting to dinner as fun as dinner.”
And help people realize that, in these tough economic times where dining out is becoming a rarer and rarer splurge for most families, making your own restaurant-quality food can be just as unifying.
“The whole thing about cooking and eating is it’s just basic human nature,” Burrell says. “I mean, what do you do when you get together on a first date or a funeral or a wedding or Christmas or a family function? You get together and eat. And to be able to participate in providing that?!
“I always say that chefs are personal pleasure providers,” she laughs. “My mom hates it when I say that — but it’s true!”
Watch Anne reunite — and partner up! — with her former Worst Cooks nemesis Robert Irvine when Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs premieres Oct. 30 on Food Network.
Want to meet Anne? Click here for her Cook Like a Rock Star book tour dates.