An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Apr 2, 2014
08:44 AMThe Connecticut Table
A Julia Child Protégé, Sara Moulton, Giving Connecticut Cooking Classes
Chef, cookbook author and TV personality Sara Moulton has been a staple in the home cook’s kitchen—as critical to cooking success as a sauté pan or knife—for more than 15 years. She first appeared as host of the Food Network’s “Cooking Live,” then on “Sara’s Secrets.” Now, she’s focused on the new season of her public TV program, “Sara’s Weeknight Meals” and writing a new cookbook. On April 12 and 13, she leads a pair of intimate spring-themed cooking classes at The Silo at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford. (right)
What can we expect from these classes?
I was on the Food Network for six years, so I’m good at coming up with things people want to know. I like to get them thinking and it’s also fun—it has to be because it’s three hours long, which is the outer limits of what anyone can stand. I’m probably a better teacher than chef. I’ve always been really interested in childhood education—I’m not sure why I didn’t pursue it. There are all different kinds of cooks, too—intuitive ones and really scared ones. It’s fun trying to figure out how to engage people.
Do you still consider yourself a home cook?
I’m professionally trained but my focus, pretty much since I started working at Gourmet magazine, shifted to the home cook. It’s important because the majority of us are home cooks. It was my life. I have two kids, now grown at 23 and 27, but they come back like boomerangs. Throughout my career, I’ve always had many jobs [but] we still had family dinner. Even when I did two shows on the Food Network in 1999, I still came home in between to have dinner. It’s the glue that holds a family together.
How did you become a television chef?
I never thought I wanted to be on television because I worked for years behind the camera. I worked with Julia Child, that was my first experience, and through her I ended up at “Good Morning America” from 1986 to 1996 prepping food. I got on the Food Network, which was not something I thought I wanted to do. What I really liked about it, particularly in my first live call-in show, I loved the teaching aspect.
Tell me a little about your latest show, “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.”
[The show] continues to be focused on getting food on the table, but I don’t just mean getting food on the table—they’re nice meals. The show airs once a week but we’re in between seasons right now. I will begin taping season four the first week in April. We shoot for 10 days straight and then they roll them out once a week. We take over my producer partner’s house, Natalie Gustafson of Silver Plume Productions, near Greenwich. The show will start airing in June.
What are you looking forward to with your classes at the Silo?
It’s fun. [The Silo] is a nice, cozy environment—very intimate. If people are having issues, sometimes you can be more like a kitchen shrink, but you can really help them there. They are curious. It’s a serious cooking group that comes to these classes. I can really get to people and I like that. The second ridiculous reason [I’m looking forward to it] is I will bring my husband. There’s a great flea market right around there, The Elephant’s Trunk. My husband is a flea market [connoisseur], so it’s a weekend away for us. That’s a very pretty area of Connecticut. I like getting out of the city. I think I need it more than the husband does—I need more nature in my life.
You’re beginning your latest cookbook—how is that coming along?
I’m in the trenches of that. Some people can do it faster, but for me it takes a year to write a cookbook. It’s a book for the home cook, trying to make them the best they could possibly be with techniques. It is coming out in Spring 2016. The only bummer with the Internet is that things move so fast—I want to make sure I’m current with what people are concerned about. Like kale is hot right now, but in 2016 it won’t be. It will still be a vital vegetable, though. Right now, Middle Eastern flavors are coming back—hummus has been big for a long time, but now with pomegranate and molasses. In 2016, this may all be a big yawn. I need to keep up!