Sunny Anderson Talks Real Food

Sunny Anderson
Some reasons we adore Sunny Anderson, host of Food Network's Cooking for Real:

  • She admitted to watching Tom & Jerry cartoons when we called her at home in Brooklyn.
  • Her show teaches us about food from all over the world instead of relegating us to the same region season after season.
  • You'll never hear her say things like, "Just throw in some pre-made cake mix and a vat of Crisco..."
  • She served in the military AND had a successful career as a journalist AND owned a catering company before entering the world of edible television.
  • She's a real woman--not some bobble head with too much makeup and a coquettish act.
  • She is coming to town on October 14, unpaid, to host the March of Dimes' Signature Chefs & Wine Extravaganza at Jungle Island. [For more information about the event, click here or call 305-477-1992.]

And, she actually took time away from baking cookies to give us the dish. Here's what she had to say:

New Times: What is your relationship with the March of Dimes?

Sunny Anderson: March of Dimes is an organization I've been working with a while. I love the March of Dimes because my mom wasn't supposed to have a second child, and then she decided to and there were some difficulties with the pregnancy.

They're working to give babies a healthy start. My dad's a doctor, and to be a child who wasn't supposed to be here, you know what I mean?

You were that second child then?

Yeah. All the good work they do has made a dent in our society.

Do you have kids?

Absolutely not! I have two cats and a boyfriend. That's like having a baby...

Yes, yes it is. Have you been to Miami before?

I love the tropical, Caribbean, Cuban, all kinds of warm-weather foods so I'm always down there. I don't know how you guys get any work done.

This year's theme at the Extravaganza is Food Revolution, making things from scratch with high quality ingredients. Why does that particularly resonate with you?

In my show, Cooking for Real, I don't mind store-bought shortcuts. But what I enjoy is making food from scratch. I'm always trying to find ways to make it easy, but real. That's what good home cooking is. That's what sticks to your bones.

How would you describe your food?

I specialize in food of the world because I grew up moving around so much. My mom made food every day. It was different every day. We didn't get repeats.

Monday, we'll talk about why she hosted Good Morning, Vietnam! in Korea, how she knows 8Ball & MJG have an affinity for grocery-bought rotisserie chicken, and why she considers herself a hot mess (we disagree, but whatever...).

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Riki Altman