When did you first get in to cooking and do you remember the first recipe you tried?
What do you get when you mix down-home values with quirky up-town flair and a solid culinary education?
A deliciously unique cooking personality!
Meet Chef Emily Ellyn, best known as the Retro Rad Chef from Food Network; appearing on “Food Network Star,” “Cupcake Wars” and most recently as the winner of “Cutthroat Kitchen.” She’s also a culinary educator and food writer, who is the national spokesperson for Frigo® Cheese and the Cake Genius at “Cake Central” magazine.
Emily encourages everyone to dig through their mother’s recipe box, dust off their pressure cookers, and take the old and make it new. She takes the retro, remixes it, and makes it RAD! Don’t miss this rising culinary star, with her trademark cat-eyed glasses, cooking up fun at food and spirits events around the world.
I always woke up before everyone else and would creep around the house looking for entertainment. Since no humans were budging from their beds, I’d sneak up to the living room and watch cartoons until the news or church channels took over. Growing up pre-cable meant that this happened after about two shows. Then the boredom set in and I’d shift my curiosity to the kitchen.
My first memorable solo chef meal was a delicious French toast and eggs breakfast. My first customers gave it rave reviews despite the large welt I’d seared into the plastic laminate countertop with the sizzling pan. This burned badge of accomplishment remained in that top long after I left for culinary school at the age of eighteen.
What's your kitchen like and how do you keep organized when cooking?
Number one rule I was taught by my mother and continue to follow is clean as you cook!
Other than that I’m usually fluttering around kitchen cooking so I have to keep organized. I am lucky to have two kitchens - a filming/stage kitchen and a prep kitchen. In the prep kitchen I have clear plastic bins labeled with all the different cooking utensils and specifi cupboards dedicated to props for food photos.
What tips would you give to someone wanting to become a better cook?
My favorite thing to remind people is to EAT and TASTE. You can’t cook if you do not know how things taste! My dad always said, “Cook what tastes good!” He would start cooking then taste…add a little of this and then a little of that…taste and repeat until it satisfied his taste buds!
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and what would you cook for them?
I would will COVID away and invite the neighborhood! I love my friends and neighbors and hate that we cannot gather.
I would make big bowls of homemade pasta, loaves of bread, veggies and salad from the garden and toast all of them with copious amounts of wine ;)
Do you do any other crafts and what are your hobbies?
Crocheting! My mother, Carol Hummel is known as the Mother of Yarn Bombing and is best known for her Yarn Trees that can be seen all over the world including the entrance of many groovy Phish shows. Check her out at CarolHummel.com
Which cooking blogs do you love to read?
I’m not such a blog reader as I am a culinary blog/poodcast listener...the top culinary podcasts that I crave! AND, I am able to shovel in my weekly helping of listening by setting the speed at the double speed setting!!
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Life is SHORT, so don’t be afraid to be YOU. You are so cool and unique and for the love of God, the minute you realize this, you will be able to love yourself and you will surround yourself with cool like-minded individuals who want to help raise you up!
How much time do I have for this interview? Because I could go on…
When you are not afraid, you can be authentically you. When you’re totally honest everyone around you will be comfortable being authentic/real/honest too. You will be able to pursue your goals by creating and co-creating on a higher level. With no identity issues, you will work together to elevate the community and the collective energy will allow you to accomplish so much MORE. WOW! This is an opportunity to be great and the worse thing that could ever happen is you give it a go and it doesn’t turn out how you thought. We learn from it and we do it again with some educated modifications! And hopefully along the way you are eating good, experiencing neat new things, and meeting people who teach you lessons and/or support your dreams…
I realize it is not that easy! Fear is a weird thing that messes with our minds and is even imposed by outside influences. We just need to be reminded we are all human and we are all dealing with some level of fear in some area of our lives. Hopefully, through loving and respecting those around us, we will leave a legacy, which has elevated the whole.