Anne Burrell on Her New Cookbook and More

By Kelly Dobkin  |  October 14, 2013

Celebrity chef Anne Burrell is known for two things - her unmistakable spiky blond hair and her reputation as a kick-ass Italian chef. Tomorrow she will release her latest cookbook, Own Your Kitchen, which is a collection of recipes designed to inspire and empower home cooks to get confident in the kitchen. Anne will be doing demos at NYCWFF this weekend and will be part of the La Sagra Sunday Slices event, and after her book tour ends, she'll be back in the studio filming another season of Worst Cooks in America with Bobby Flay. We caught up with the busy chef/superstar to discuss the book, her NYC restaurant plans and the whole "Italian chef" thing. Check it out below.

Zagat: Tell us about the new cookbook, what's the idea behind it?

AB: My first book, Cook Like a Rock Star, was my history of becoming a girl chef and this one is my journey as a girl chef. It's all the recipes and stories that have helped shape me as a cook. It’s also meant to get people excited about cooking, to get in their kitchens and experience it and build confidence and eventually own it - own their kitchen.

Zagat: Where are the recipes from?

AB: They’re from all over the place. All the stories that go along with them - they’re like where the recipe came or where I was when I got the inspiration for it. There’s stuff from everywhere. I branched off a bit from Rustic Italian cooking, which is always where my heart lies. People want to cook more than that stuff and so do I. I thought people would be interested in making things that I like to eat, stuff that I like to eat when I’m home, but things that are also accessible and delicious.

Zagat: The recipes in this book seem extremely user-friendly. Was that important to you?

AB: Absolutely. I believe that’s what will help people, empower and inspire people, to get in there and do things that they can actually achieve a positive result and then feel great about it and feel the joy that I feel when I cook. Then it just inspires them to continue cooking.

Zagat: Do you still see yourself as an "Italian chef" despite the fact that you’ve expanded your repertoire on TV?

AB: My roots and my comfort zone is definitely with Italian ingredients and cooking techniques, but because I have my cooking techniques down I feel like I can apply those to all kinds of flavors and ingredients. It’s also just in my interest as a chef  - I get bored doing the same thing over and over again, so that’s also why I’ve expanded. Do I consider myself an Italian chef at the core of everything? Yes. But I also just consider myself a chef.

Zagat: Any update on the NYC restaurant?

AB: It’s still out there and it’s still in my mind and in my heart although I don’t have any developments on it. It’s just my time has been to limited, so I’m really hoping that I can get chunk of time together that I can really just focus on it and get myself together to do it. No updates on it but it’s still in my heart and my mind.

Zagat: With Chef Wanted, we're sure it’s been nice for you to be back in the restaurant setting, even on TV. Would you or are you planning to do another restaurant-driven show?

AB: I’m waiting to hear from Food Network if they’re going to pick up Chef Wanted and if they do, then yes, we’ll clearly do another season of that. If they don’t pick it up maybe that’s time I need I need to put together my own restaurant. Whether it’s on TV in a restaurant or in my own restaurant, something with a restaurant will happen this year.

Zagat: Which type of show do you enjoy doing more - reality TV or straight-up cooking demo show?

AB: I love them all for very different reasons, they’re very different shows. But if you ask me and if I had my choice, my most favorite is my cooking shows. Just because I feel like I'm affecting people more and I love the teaching aspect of doing shows like that.

Zagat: Any new projects coming down the pipeline?

AB: The minute I finish my book tour I go right into filming Worst Cooks with Bobby Flay again. I lost last season so I’m looking for redemption.