041 – Sara Moulton, Home Cooking 101, Sara’s Weeknight Meals
The Work of Teaching. Remember Cooking Live? As a young woman working three jobs while attending school full time Chef Sara Moulton’s show was the highlight of my day. Every evening Sara guided me through simple, fresh, and healthy recipes. Unlike shows such as The Great Chefs of San Francisco, these were recipes I actually wanted to try. And did. To this day I credit Sara with teaching me how to cook dinner for myself, as do thousands of others.
For almost 40 years Sara Moulton has worked in the culinary arts in just about every job you can imagine including restaurant chef, Executive Chef at Gourmet magazine until its demise in 2009, newspaper columnist, cookbook author, and television personality on The Food Network and Good Morning America. Her shows still appear regularly in reruns and her new show, Sara’s Weeknight Meals, appears regularly on PBS and the Create channel, picking up where Food Network’s Cooking Live and Sara’s Secrets left off. Her new book, Home Cooking 101: How To Make Everything Taste Better is a culmination of numerous tips, tricks, and recipes she’s collected over the years. A MUST for anyone who makes dinner.
How did she end up a teacher? As with so many female chefs, Sara left restaurants when she realized she wanted to have kids. Her journey took her from stints as a food stylist for Julia Child, to Gourmet, to work as an instructor at Peter Kump’s Cooking School in NYC. Teaching caused her to fall in love again with food. The passion she gained from showing someone how to create a dish, giving someone that knowledge, stayed with her and became her life’s work.
During her visit to The Happy Cook as part of a book tour sponsored by Chantal cookware, I was fortunate enough to sit with Sara and talk about it all. Her start at The Food Network and how she went from a deer in the headlights to the natural and nurturing on-air teacher we are all familiar with. What was the lynchpin? We also discuss how Cooking Live was in fact LIVE and the challenges that presents. How on-air mistakes actually help beginning cooks by showing real-life instances of times when you have to become MacGyver in the kitchen. How Julia Child would make mistakes on purpose during her television shows for just this reason. We also discuss how The Food Network has changed into something way more competitive and cutthroat since she was so unceremoniously let go. Changed for the better? I’m not so sure.
How did she learn to become a great teacher? Is there a difference between teaching adults and children? What was the ultimate goal of her show Cooking Live? What did she avoid doing while on the air? Who were some of her famous guests and why did The Food Network use her show as an audition tape for new talent? What is her weakness in cookware stores? What are her thoughts on Blue Apron? What was Julia Child really like? You’ll have to listen to find out.
We also discuss her work as co-founder of the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance. Why is this group still so necessary in 2016? How can we make its founding mission of networking and education for culinary women even more widespread?
We covered so much in this short talk and I’m honored Chef Sara Moulton took time out of her busy 2-day visit to talk with me. Enjoy! Then go buy her book on Amazon, and check out her show on PBS, and search her website for videos and recipes. Get cooking people!
SHOW NOTES – Links to resources talked about during the podcast:
- The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions – Every dollar you bid goes toward four meals for our area’s hungry. Auctions close DAILY starting yesterday so bid early and often for the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience!
- Sara Moulton’s Website – Learn about Sara and her history, view videos of her show, and collect recipes from her long and storied career.
- Home Cooking 101: How To Make Everything Taste Better – Sara’s latest book is filled with instructional photos, great recipes, and thousands of tips culled from over 40 years of teaching cooking.
- Chantal Cookware – Discover why this cookware is a favorite of Sara’s. Then buy some.
This episode is sponsored by In A Flash Laser Engraving.
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