Cooking for Real
Your dad was in the military, right? How did all those moves influence your cooking style?
The cool thing about being a military brat was moving around a lot. When we moved to Germany, my mom would master German food. Then we moved to Texas shortly thereafter and right across the street we had a Vietnamese family. My mom was like an exchange program! After school I the afternoons I was like, 'Where's Mommy?' 'She's across the street learning how to make spring rolls.'
Both my parents were into food. They researched and did all kinds of cultural foods. On my show I'll do something Cajun, then Puerto Rican, then I'm doing something Korean, something Southern... I'm all over the place. I'm a hot mess girl!
I somehow highly doubt that. When you pitched your show, what was your point of view, then?
I was a caterer, but I knew they were into people who had a specific idea. I said, well, I don't know--I just like to eat! And I get bored and I like to change it up all the time.
I don't have mystery ingredients. My techniques aren't difficult. I haven't gone through any professional training myself, so rest assured--if I can do it, you can do it.
So you have never taken any formal classes?
Not at all. I was thinking of going to culinary school but my job in radio just didn't give me enough time.
What was your background then?
I moved to Korea for a year right out of high school for broadcasting.
Were you being trained as a journalist?
That was my first job out of school. I joined the Air Force. [The] military trained you for broadcasting for television, radio, and public relations. My first gig overseas... I ended up in the radio department. It was kinda like Good Morning, Vietnam! But in Korea.
How does that journalism background help with your career today?
It's like a house of cards. I'm stacked high with all these things: Journalism and writing and composing my thoughts at such an early age for the masses is invaluable.
I read you also interviewed celebs in Hip Hop Weekly about food and cooking. Which interview was the most intriguing and why?
Talking to this group from Memphis: 8Ball & MJG. They're a rap group. I remember them being on the phone in the grocery store when I was interviewing them and they had gotten in their car and they started eating. I said, 'How are you eating already if you just left the grocery store?' and they said, 'Oh, rotisserie chicken.' I just loved that they admitted it.
Any types of cuisine you are curious about but haven't attempted?
I haven't done any kind of Singaporean. From what I understand they have an amazing street food and hawker culture. I'm going to have to take a visit and write it off on my taxes.
Describe your cooking style in a few words.
Ease. I'm lazy. I want to get it done and I want it to taste great. I think some of the best food is simple.
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Describe yourself in a few words.
Crazy. I'm happy. I'm always trying to find the good in whatever current situation I'm in. I'm open and accepting of the world and what it has for me and for everyone else.
Upcoming professional plans?
My new season just started last week, season 8 of Cooking for Real. Good, seasonal foods for the weather coming up. I'm enjoying developing recipes for the show. I'm working on a cookbook, but that's for the future.