Food Network celebrity chef Anne Burrell is in Bermuda this week for the City of Hamilton’s Taste of Bermuda event, taking part in the tastebud-awakening weekend as the event’s official celebrity guest chef.
Earlier today Mrs. Burrell spoke to a room of culinary arts students at Bermuda College where she discussed her illustrious career and addressed student questions.
Mrs. Burrell spoke fondly of “immersing herself in the culture and kitchens of Italy” as a young aspiring chef and recalled her inspirational climb up the professional ladder in the restaurants of New York and of her experience at culinary school in the 1990s at a time when, she says, only ten per cent of students there were women.
Mrs. Burrell said of her time as a culinary arts teacher, “Before every lesson I would research every dish I was making – not only how to make the dish but also the ‘whys’ of the dish. It’s not about just being a ‘recipe chef’, it’s about learning how things behave and why; for example, ‘if you do this or add that, this will happen’. That’s when you get creative. Learning the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of doing things made me a better chef.”
As for any advice she would give Bermuda’s Culinary Arts students, Mrs. Burrell said, “Anytime you have a chance to travel or learn something new, I would say do it, especially at the beginning of you career when there is so much coming at you. Take what you can from every single place you go because you will have that knowledge forever. When you feel you are in a job where you aren’t learning anything new anymore, it’s time to move on from that job. Also, I would stress the importance of repetition – it’s through repetition that things become second nature to you and its when those things become engrained that the ‘soul’ comes into your flavours and you hone your technique and craft.
There is no shortcut for experience.
“Hold onto the passion you have now, going into the business, and always carry that with you and remember that being a chef is ultimately about providing joy for other people.”
Students asked Anne a host of questions throughout the morning from, “What is your preferred dish to make?” to, “What was your favorite kitchen to work in?” and “Do you have any advice to give other female chefs?”
Culinary student Ashley Stephens, 19, said of meeting Ms Burrell today, “It was an amazing and inspiring experience to speak to a female trailblazer in an industry which I have a passion for. She was honest and encouraging and has given me a renewed excitement about the journey I am taking in the culinary arts, not only when it comes to career possibilities but also with regards to the many things there are to learn.”
Culinary Arts student Gideon Wheddon, 18, said, “It was so great to meet Chef Burrell today. She was very relatable and seemed genuinely focused on the students and interested in our questions. She definitely makes me want to keep going on my path and learn as much as I can right now.”
Mrs. Burrell said of her time with the students this morning, “It was my absolute joy to speak with the chefs of the future here in Bermuda this morning at the Bermuda College.”
On Sunday afternoon, Ms Burrell will be taking part in two cooking demonstrations at the City’s Tasting Village followed by a book signing. Fans interested in meeting Mrs. Burrell can purchase one of her cookbooks from the Bermuda Bookstore in advance of her in-person signing on Sunday October 2nd immediately following her live main stage cooking demonstration at 4pm. Bermuda Bookstore is located on Queen Street near the Birdcage. A limited number of books are available for sale.
Anne Burrell is an American chef, television personality, and former instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education. She is the host of the Food Network show Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and co-host of Worst Cooks in America.
She was also one of the sous chefs featured in the Iron Chef America series and appears on other programs on the network such as The Best Thing I Ever Ate. She was a contestant on the fourth season of The Food Network competition show, The Next Iron Chef Super Chefs and was also a contestant on the first season of Chopped All-Stars Tournament. In 2015, she won the fourth installment of the Chopped All-Stars tournament. She also hosted the series Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell from 2012 to 2013.
Anne has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York and studied the culinary landscape and traditions of Italy. In 2011, she published her first cookbook, Cook Like a Rock Star, which earned a place on the New York Times Best Seller list. In 2013, Anne released her second cookbook, Own Your Kitchen.
For more information on Taste of Bermuda go to the City’s website here.
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