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Chefs' Culinary Secrets & Cooking Philosophies







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Chefs' Culinary Secrets & Cooking Philosophies | Jeff Smith, Michel Roux, & Giada De Laurentiis

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson



Cutlery image Jeff Smith

Acclaimed 1980s TV celebrity and chef known as "The Frugal Gourmet" and the shortened nickname "The Frug"; owner of Chaplain's Pantry in Tacoma, Washington, in the 1970s, was an ordained Protestant minister. Jeff's national television career took off when he appeared on the Phil Donahue Show; his popular TV show was the most watched cooking show in the US at the time. Author of a dozen successful cookbooks, including The Frugal Gourmet, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine, and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American. Died in 2004.


"I know that most of us believe that corn on the cob cries out for fresh butter. But, in order to cut down on the cholesterol, try this: Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and add a bit of crushed garlic. Do not let the garlic brown, but let it cook a tiny bit. Brush that on your corn and you won't miss the butter at all. In fact, I think that you will prefer the garlic oil."

"Try to buy the herbs and spices that you use most frequently in bulk, and then put them in your own spice bottles. The saving realized here is about 70 percent. Hard to believe, but it is true."

Extracted from: Smith, Jeff. The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American, William Morrow and Company, Inc., NY, 1987.


"How can people say they don't eat eggplant when God loves the color and the French love the name? I don't understand."

"The squid is so cooperative. Its body forms a tube that can be stuffed with marvelous fillings. You don't have to be Greek to enjoy this one."

"Slaves were taught to be fine chefs, but they endangered their lives if they made a mistake or served an ill-prepared dish. Rather than being reprimanded, they were often hauled into the dining room and flogged in the presence of the guests."

Extracted from: Bay Gourmet website, (


"Please understand the reason why Chinese vegetables taste so good. It is simple. The Chinese do not cook them, they just threaten them!"

Extracted from: On The Table: The Curious Home of Gary Allen, A Collection of Culinary Quotations (


"Remember that a grill is different from a griddle in that the griddle has ridges so that the food does not lie flat on the cooking surface. A griddle, on the other hand, is simply a flat cooking surface."

"Herbs and spices are some of the most important ingredients in your kitchen. Try to keep them as fresh as possible, so don't buy them in large amounts. Keep them in tightly sealed jars. Try to buy most herbs and spices whole or in whole-leaf form; they have much more flavor that way. Crush the leaves as you add them to the pot. Or use a wooden or porcelain mortar and pestle."

Extracted from: Smith, Jeff, The Frugal Gourmet Whole Family Cookbook, William Morrow & Company, NY, 1992.



Chef foods divider


Cutlery image Michel Roux

Three Michelin Star chef, Michel cooked for nearly two decades at the esteemed Waterside Inn at Bray in Berkshire, near Windsor in England. Is considered by many to be the godfather of the culinary revolution in Britain in the 1970s. Has had two TV shows and a number of successful cookbooks. In a poll of UK chefs conducted by Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine in 2003, Michel and his brother Albert were voted the most influential chefs in the country. Michel was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France for patisserie in 1972 and an honorary OBE alongside his brother in 2002; is the recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence.


"Eggs must be kept in a cool place, but should always be taken out of the refrigerator an hour or two before using."

Extracted from: Roux, Michel, Eggs, Quadrille Publishing Limited, London, 2005.


"To be a great chef, you have to be a gourmet."

"Most British people eat rubbish, the kind of junk I wouldn't feed to my dog... There is only one restaurant in London with three [Michelin] stars. ONE. In Paris, there are nine... I am always concerned about talking about Michelin because people will think I'm putting them in a good light so they're good to me. But I don't care! Nineteen years without a break, AND I don't have to blanch my cooks' heads in boiling water to make sure I keep them. When my chefs leave, I have a party for them. You talk to people who've worked for those other chefs, and they'll tell you that when they go, they're lucky to get a piece of paper. They just kick them out."

Extracted from: Cooke, Rachel, The Observer, Food & Drink section interview with Michel Roux, "I love ze souffle, eet reminds me of ze boobs of ze woman", (, July 11, 2004.


"Never add too much salt to a sauce before it has reached its desired consistency and taste. Add pepper only just before serving to retain its flavor and zip."

"Always add cold water to a stock. Hot water will make it cloudy and it will lose the desired crystal clarity."

Extracted from: Roux, Michel, Sauces for Savory Dishes, Quadrille Publishing Limited, London, 2005.


Chef foods divider


Cutlery image Giada De Laurentiis

Popular and sensuous Food Network chef; granddaughter of film producer Dino De Laurentiis. Began her professional training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris; held positions as a food magazine stylist for magazines like Food & Wine, and cooked at the prestigious Ritz Carlton Fine Dining Room and Wolfgang Puck's Spago in Beverly Hills. Later founded GDL Foods, a catering company in Los Angeles. Host of several popular Food Network programs, including Everything Italian and Giada's Weekend Getaways. Spokesperson for Barilla, the world's largest producer and manufacturer of pasta. Recurring guest chef on the Today Show. First cookbook, Everyday Italian, showcased many of the delicious Italian recipes from her cooking show of the same name; second cookbook, Giada's Family Dinners, quickly became a #1 New York Times best-seller, as did her third cookbook, Everyday Pasta.


"Pancetta keeps well in the freezer, so don't hesitate to buy a big piece if you have trouble finding it regularly."

Extracted from: Woman's Day Special, Holiday Celebrations with Emeril & Food Network, "Giada De Laurentiis: Quick Tips," Volume XIV, Number 4, December 28, 2004.


"When you buy oysters, make sure that they smell fresh, not fishy, that the liquid that they're in is clear, and that they're all pretty much the same size."

Extracted from: Food Network website cooking video, Giada De Laurentiis, "Everyday Italian: Easy Fried Clams and Oysters," 2006.


"My goal is to make Italian food clean and accessible and beautiful and tasty, with simple ingredients that people can find at a local grocery store, because people don’t want to go to a gourmet shop in search of items that will sit in their pantry for years after they use just a teaspoon or pinch of them."

Extracted from: Murphy, Jen, Food and Wine magazine website, "Interview with TV Chef Giada De Laurentiis," (, 2008.


"My family is really the reason why I started cooking, so not having them be a part of the shows wouldn't be right. And of course, food is so important to us. When I was a kid, for my birthday every year, my mother made me pasta béchamel, which is rigatoni with a white cream sauce. My mother and I, our favorite part of any baked pasta is the top, where the cheese gets crusty. And for my birthday, I got to pick the top off! Then my brother and sister would say, "This is disgusting, we don't want to eat it anymore."

Extracted from: Dunn, Jancee, Redbook magazine website, "Giada's Recipe for the Good Life," (, December 2007.


"One of the most important things is having a well-stocked pantry. Twice a month I go to the store in search of staples like garlic, onions, canned tuna, canned beans, dried pastas, jarred tomato sauces (just make sure the first ingredient is tomatoes, not sugar!), frozen peas and spinach, chicken stock, capers, and herbes de Provence—the basics that will enhance a dish and bring a meal together in a hurry. Then, once a week I purchase fresh produce and meat. I find it's easier to pick up one or two things than to be overwhelmed by tracking down every single ingredient in a recipe."

Extracted from: Cooking Light interview, "Table Talk with Giada De Laurentiis," (


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