So I Interviewed These Famous Chefs…

So I Interviewed These Famous Chefs…

A few minutes ago, I interviewed Anne Burrell and Geoffrey Zakarain in Times Square about this big cook-off they’re doing today at noon EST. (See above. That’s them. But not me. I interviewed them via phone…that person is holding the phone that I’m talking on. Or something.) They are super talented, and they’re partnering with Frigidaire to prepare the biggest holiday meal using the Frigidaire Gallery Double Ovens, and people can watch it here and vote for them (best dishes, best ingredients, etc.) and for every vote, Frigidaire will donate $1 to support families in need with Save the Children (You can also enter to win the new freestanding range, which is rad.)

About 10 minutes before it was to begin, I put it out on Twitter/Facebook that this was going to happen, and asked if anyone had any questions. About one minute later, I got the call from Times Square, and it was on. Okay then.

Since they’re seemingly into competition and getting votes (with the whole Iron Chef thing, and now this showdown at noon), I asked:

Me: So, what would you vote for as the most important item on the Turkey Table?… besides, uh, the turkey.

Anne: The Stuffing!

Geoffrey: We never agree on anything, but I agree, The Stuffing.

They are both really into Stuffing. They then enthusiastically went on about the perfect combination of chestnuts, sausage, sage, celery, walnuts, and apples. Anne was especially into it…”It has to be the right mixture.” (I guess they’re going to cover what that right mixture is right here. Which sounds great. But there is nothing like that in any stuffing (or, dressing, as we call it) anywhere around here.)

Me: Um, so you guys aren’t really into cornbread stuffing, I guess?

Geoffrey: What did she say? Cornbread? (To his credit, it was a phone interview.)

Anne: Oh. No. Are you from the South or something?

Me: Yeah, Austin. And yeah, cornbread dressing, or uh, stuffing. It’s kind of a big deal around here. Ok. Moving on.

I was frankly a little stumped at that point. I wanted to talk more about stuffing, but honestly, I’ve never had the stuffing of which they speak.

I only had about a minute left so I asked:

Me: What are your best quick tips for hosting Thanksgiving? (these answers are paraphrased, but this is the gist of what they said):

Geoffrey: Put something in the guests’ hands as soon as they walk in the door. Preferably champagne. A glass of champagne + hors d’ oeuvres + the smells of the kitchen = Happy Thanksgiving.

Anne: Don’t do anything for the first time on the big day. Feel comfortable with whatever you’re serving. Plan ahead, cook ahead, whatever it takes. You should be relaxed and have fun.

Great advice from both of them.

But I’m still stuck on the stuffing part. I’m going to watch what they do on this showdown thing…And I’m thinking of doing a showdown of my own:

My Great Grandmother’s Cornbread Dressing recipe (right here) vs. The complicated Chestnut Sausage Sage Celery Walnut Apple Stuffing (right here)

I’m not even kidding. That’s going to happen. Wait here and watch for my signal.

The Kitchen

4 Responses to So I Interviewed These Famous Chefs…

  1. Andrea Howe says:

    “I’ve never had the stuffing of which they speak” haha! So cool you got to interview them! great chefs indeed

  2. Cindy says:

    My mother is from MS. I’ve never in my life had “stuffing”. Cornbread dressing. Maybe, occasionally, someone will get all freaky and decide we need it with smoked oysters in it, but even then there will be a separate pan of “normal” cornbread dressing.

    I love Anne’s advice about not doing anything for the first time on the big day. I’ll be cooking my first turkey ever tomorrow.

  3. Lori Luza says:

    I love all kinds of stuffing/dressing.

    As a Southern gal (Texan), I grew up on cornbread dressing. My paternal grandmothers was incredibly moist and buttery. My maternal grandmother’s version was more like cake with crunch edges. I loved them both and since we moved things around on the calendar to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with both sets of grandparents, I got to have both every year.

    In college, I dated a Yankee. One year, we were both stranded for Thanksgiving and made a FEAST…for two. So MUCH food. We made his mom’s white bread stuffing and my maternal grandmother’s cornbread dressing.

    When I went to my first Thanksgiving with my husband’s family, I was happy to learn that his mom makes cornbread dressing like my dad’s mom used to. I still get to have both kinds!

    This year, I’m the only vegan traveling to one Thanksgiving (the in-laws). I made vegan yankee stuffing with whole wheat bread. I made enough to share so they can all try it, if they want.

    Yes, it’s carby-not-in-the-good-way, but I only have the “stuff” twice a year.

    Happy gobble-gobble!

  4. barchbo says:

    There’s stuffing and then there’s cornbread stuffing. I have never had cornbread stuffing (or dressing – it seems to be called dressing around here.)

    I’m a Yankee, descended from Yankees. We eat stuffing two ways – with oysters or sausage, or without. It’s the best!

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