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Chef Burrell shares restaurant secrets

Anne Burrell is stepping into the spotlight with her own cooking show on TV, after serving as a sous chef to Mario Batali.

by: Reuters:Richard Leong | 14 Jul 2008

In Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, the 38-year-old New Yorker shares concise and practical restaurant techniques that can be applied to jazz up familiar dishes and at-home meals.

Burrell, known for her robust, rustic Italian food, is an executive chef at Centro Vinoteca in New York and teaches at the Institute of Culinary Education.

Q: How is your cooking show different from others?
AB: "What makes me different is that I work in a restaurant every day. I'm giving people a sneak peek into my world. Now I can take that and share it with everyone else."

Q: What are important tips you have for home cooks?
AB: "I think people will be surprised with the level of seasonings I use. I'm committed to seasoning my food well and that's what happens in a restaurant.

Also there are things like browning food and using high heat. At a restaurant, it's the secret of using flavours. These are the secrets that I'm trying to let people know."

Q: What is the biggest mistake home cooks make?
AB: "Not tasting your food. It's such a simple thing, but people follow a recipe and they don't taste food as they go.

If it doesn't taste good, you can adjust along the way. But you need to taste every step of the way. In the restaurant, we taste all day long, every day."

Q: What is your secret weapon to liven up a dish?
AB: "I always use my 'Holy Trinity' which is salt, olive oil and bacon. My motto is, 'bacon always makes it better.' I try to use bacon and pork products whenever I can."

Q: What is one of your signature dishes?
AB: "Pici pasta with a sweet and spicy sausage ragu. It's just very hardy and earthy. To me, it's just comfort food."

Q: When you eat alone, what do you cook for yourself?
AB: "I whip up some poach eggs and toasts with olive oil."

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