Alex Guarnaschelli is a star in the foodie world. She is the latest Iron Chef, an author and the executive chef at two swanky Manhattan restaurants. WSN had the chance to cover the Taste Talks festival in Brooklyn last week, sitting in on a panel of television chefs, including Chef Guarnaschelli, discussing the impact and role of “celebrity chefdom” in their respective lives. Chef Guarnaschelli noted the response from her fans, such as their newfound courage to buy something strange in the produce department or to cook something that they saw on “Chopped,” is what keeps her wanting to step back into the spotlight. After the panel, WSN asked her a few questions about food and college life.
Q: What do you think food can mean to New York college students?
A: I think there’s a lot of food in college-based communities that represent a melting pot of a lot of different food and cultures, so I think it’s possible to do a lot of affordable eating. Going somewhere you know, in Chinatown for example, or even Little Italy, or just going to a bakery, and fine dining is somewhat limited when you’re on a ramen and Rice-A-Roni and loaf of bread kind of diet. I get it. I think there’s such a cultural melting pot, and I always tell college students take what money you have, go to the grocery store, start in the produce section, buy a lot of produce, and when you’re done with your money, you’re done. You can make so many great things, and I don’t think you need a lot of cash in the city [to eat well].
Q: We have one night to splurge on any kind of food. Where should we go?
A: There are a lot of restaurants that I like for the big splurge. I love Hearth, that’s an Italian-American restaurant on 12th Street and First Avenue. When your parents are in town and they’re paying, you should go to La Grenouille and have a soufflé and experience what the world used to be like. I think going to Chinatown and having a great dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor is a great thing to do. Experiencing the sort of artisanal culture that still exists in New York, like going to [Faicco] pork store on Bleecker Street or going to Ferrara Bakery and having a cannoli. There’s a lot of good stuff.
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