Today we go behind the scenes with a TV chef (one of my favorite types of TV). Casey (aka, Casey2Cook) is a successful chef who won a season of Cooks vs. Cons! (BTW, that is my biggest nightmare — being quick and fast in the kitchen). Such an inspiration and I learned so much from the interview. Thanks so much, Casey! And FYI, her partner Steven is Natori’s E-Commerce Shipping manager!
How did you start cooking? What inspired you to become a chef?
As long as I can remember I always wanted to be in the kitchen. Helping my Mother or Grandmother making dinner… stir the sauce, cut the peppers. It always made me happy to know that I was aiding in preparing a meal for someone to enjoy.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
I love cooking everything! Literally, any and everything. If I had to choose a favorite it would have to be my Nacho Mac and Cheese!
Is there a specific cuisine you like the most?
I am really into Spanish/Italian fusions. I grew up eating Italian food and I always loved the flavors of Spanish cuisine so the mix of the two, Perfection!
What are your top 5 go-to ingredients?
My top five ingredients have to be: 1. Garlic 2. Cilantro 3. Butter 4. Paprika 5. Black Pepper
Congratulations on your win on Cooks Vs. Cons — for people who are not familiar, what was the format of the cooking show?
Thank you! It was super fun… Cooks Vs Cons is a competition show on the Food Network. The basis of the show is taking two professional cooks and putting them against two home cooks and seeing if the judges can spot the con! Great concept.
Do you think that the show was a good test of everyone’s skills?
The show was a great test of skill! I mean, any time you have a clock racing against you it helps to step up your game!
What is next for you? Did the show help you move forward? What do you want to do now with your career?
I have been spending a lot of time building my social media presence on Instagram (@Casey2Cook) and Facebook etc. I love speaking with my followers and being able to help them with questions and tutorials on cooking. After the show I received so much love and it has been a great experience. Hoping to go back and compete again, maybe on Chopped! Thank would be fun!
Being creative and efficient in a kitchen is not my skill set, any advice on how to become a better cook (for us beginners)?
Hire me to teach you! Haha.. I do in home private classes! I would also recommend watching videos online and PRACTICE! Practicing is the biggest thing.. You won’t learn to build flavor profiles or knife skills without practicing. Just like anything else it takes time to build that up, but once you do it is like riding a bike! You’ll never forget.
You have completed a lot of different jobs in the kitchen working with top chefs. What is your favorite job as a chef (and why)?
I have had my hands in every aspect of the culinary world, pun intended. From a line chef to a private chef, blogger to recipe developer.. Catering a 200 person dinner to just cooking at home for my family! I have to say my favorite has to be what I am doing now. I miss the stress and excitement of the restaurant life, but I love that I can teach people how to cook on a personal level.. I love that I can share my recipes and have people all around the world make them! Such an awesome feeling to have someone reach out and message me that their kid is eating veggies for the first time because they love my recipe!
What are your favorite restaurants in NYC and why?
I love RIDER in Brooklyn. The Executive Chef and Owner is my mentor and his food is just out of this world delicious! I also love to go to food festivals around the city or just duck into random hole in the wall places. Sometimes you find the most amazing food just by taking a chance!
Thank you so much, Casey! I love your instagram and can’t wait to learn more from you! To look at her website, go here. Facebook, here. Instagram, here. Pinterest, here. And twitter, here. Happy cooking!