Alex Guarnaschelli: Alex’s Day Off

The successful Food Network chefs turn out series after series, year after year. Think Bobby Flay, Emeril Lagasse, and Alton Brown. They explore one show format and then move on to the next, hopefully adding to and perfecting their onscreen performance. The Food Network mines the re-runs.

Alexandra Guarnaschelli is joining their ranks with her second FN show. The first show was The Cooking Loft. She came to FN as one of the few professional chefs on the network who continues to lead her/his own kitchen — at New York’s Butter.

Now she has a new show, Alex’s Day Off, premiering Sunday, October 18th at 9:30 am ET/PT. She is Ina Garten (the Barfoot Contessa) gone to the big city. Bobby Flay is executive producer. The show is about the kind of cooking she does on her day off. Like Ina, Alex visits purveyors. She cooks themed meals for family and friends in her own kitchen (or a studio version of it). She isn’t svelte like Giada De Laurentiis or perky like Rachael Ray, and that’s part of her strength. Like Ina, when she is on camera, she fills it with enthusiasm and pleasure.

As for trademark line, like Emeril’s “Bam!” Alex has her “ridiculous!” She said it more times than Super Chef could count during sneak peak of the first episode. The breakfast foods Alex makes in the episode include hash browns with Camembert, fried eggs with bacon fat and toast “soldiers,” spice-rubbed bacon, and donuts with cinnamon sugar and hot blueberry jam. There is loads of fat and not many vegetables or fruit (except for Alex’s version of a screwdriver and some jam). Then again, her restaurant is called Butter.

Super Chef: How did this new show come about?

Alex: I got a phone call from Bobby Flay about a year ago, he just saw The Cooking Loft. He is the executive producer. Rock Shrimp is the production company.

Super Chef: What makes your program stand out? How is it different from the Cooking Loft?

Alex: It is not the same show at all. This is a show about the food I like to cook. I am French trained but I cook very American food. It is about how fun it is to be American, to live in this big bad country of ours, to use the ingredients we have. It is about me in my neighborhood, connected to people who grow and sell what we eat.

Super Chef: Did you consult other FN chefs about your program? Which FN chefs are your biggest influences?

Alex: Bobby Flay is definitely my biggest influence. I identify with him. We are both native New Yorkers – there is a cultural connection, it draws me to him. Also, Ina Garten, she is amazing. I love Giada, too.

Super Chef: Except for a handful of chefs, you, Bobby, and a few others, most of the hosts on FN are entertainers not chefs. What do you think of that direction?

Alex: I think Daisy Martinez, Anne Burrell and I are the new generation of chefs on FN. But in order to have a cooking channel that speaks to everyone, some people are learning how to cut an onion; others are sautéing four different kinds. I pick up tips from Rachael Ray or Michael Chiarello. It is the perspective that makes it interesting and not so much the training.

Super Chef: What else are you up to? Cookbook? Products?

Alex: I am working on a cookbook; hopefully it will be out late next year. It’s about being a French trained chef, but using ingredients that are new American. It fuses the French techniques I have learned with my approach. It is not about food in a hurry. It is a representation of how I love to celebrate good food.

7 comments on “Alex Guarnaschelli: Alex’s Day Off
  1. zi says:

    I am sorry, I just lost my appetite seeing this overgrown woman with no sense of fashion cooking body fattening food. How could she make it to a TV show is blowing my mind.

  2. whitney says:

    It’s disturbing that you described Giada as “svelte” as if that were a personality trait, like “perky.” She’s an accomplished chef, why the need to describe the way she looks? I’m sure you don’t do that with male chefs.

  3. Whitney,

    You don’t think women (and men) chefs play up their looks, especially on TV?

    Take a look at this Giada pic.

  4. clazzy says:

    A visual experience is one of a lasting impression in ANY profession. My appearance and the manner I carry myself afford me many opportunities & of course I am smart buthat isnt what is SEEN with the eye. It affords me the attention to move forward THEN I must prove what I have on the inside. HOWEVER, it is always nice to see an attractive appearance to stay or change the channel. This girl has a nice face but she is but a huge frame and it isnt appealing to “stay” UNLESS she has an quick character trait that will force u not to change the channel. I have watched Alex a few time and altho her recipes are okay… there is no real combo of anything that makes me dvr it so I dont miss it. Bobby Flay, for example isnt the greatest looking guy chef (like I could watch Todd English all day just selling cookware!)but Bobby has an arrogance about him and a love of self personality that keeps u on the channel for about 10 minutes or so… then ur done unless he has a great recipe! Them most informative cook as she is cooking is Rachel Ray…. except her ingredients are too many and sometimes too costly for the everyday cook! But I do DVR her. I dont see her as arrogant or unattractive. She has improved her hair and wardrobe enough to let her “stay” on for 30 minutes! The WORST cooks that I can hardly stand to watch are PAULA DEEN, COOKING FOR REAL AND DOWN HOME NEELYS (that couple truly suck~) OH well, to each his own. I like Giadas recipes coz I’m Italian but I dont think that child ever eats… she grazes! But Giada has a great presence and style and a beautiful family!

  5. clazzy says:

    Sorry for the typo’s! I DO SEE THEM! We need some new blood for the Food Network.. OMG… speaking of “new blood” the show that may make me NEVER watch ANY FOOD show EVER AGAIN on TV is the nerve it took FOOD NETWORK to put on that PIONEER WOMAN~ speaking of BOOOOOORING and then to top that off …. the end of one of her shows, we have to watch her family NAP! Geeez, where are the I LOVE LUCY reruns when u need ’em!?!

  6. clazzy says:

    By the way, Can not tolerate Mario Batali sweating in his meals and Wolfgang Puck’s cookware, slow cooker and other pieces of crap’ charging an arm and leg for it just because of his name! Wish I could find an Italian cooking chanel to hold my interest. I did like Michael Mina (but havent seen him on tv in ages) I also like Lidia’s Italy and Ciao Italia!
    I would prefer to watch my favorite Italian cook on youtube… Her name is CLARA~ Clara’s Depression Cooing! A 97 year old beautiful heart with a lovely sweet funny personality like none other and the good old fashioned recipes from my growingup days that my parents made and my grandparents made! THE BEST and there is NO show on FN that comes close to recipes from the OLD FASHIONED DAYS and RECIPES!

  7. clazzy says:

    grrr… I did not mean Michael Mina for a good Italian chef on tv that I have not seen in a while (I dont know him.. think he was a winner in Top Chef) but I cant think of that Italian guy’s name… except for MICHAEL!

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