An Interview with Celebrity Chef George Duran

Posted by the Mom (aka Kelly Biedny)

Soooo, we were recently lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview celebrity Chef, George Duran. You might recall seeing him on TLC as the host of The Ultimate Cake Off or maybe on Food Network on Ham on the Street and Secret Life of… . With our Food Network addiction, we’ve definitely seen his shows and were super excited to ask him a few questions to share with you!

  1. In your bio, you indicate you missed your mom’s home cooking when you left for college–Did you spend time in the kitchen with your mom and/or dad cooking when you were a kid? If so, do you have a particular memory you can share?I always love to tell people that my mother loved to over-feed me through her umbilical cord! The truth is that her food is beyond delicious and was the focus of my childhood! In fact, I remember clearly one time as I watched her knead sweet dough, I would steal bits and pieces of her dough and run to my room with it. I would then take the dough and press it onto the light bulb on my reading lamp and wait for it to "cook" into a mini-pizza. I was always passionate about cooking!
  2. While you were at NYU studying communication, did you cook for yourself and your friends?At NYU I discovered the world of dinner parties in my apartment! It was magical! Friends would come and I would figure out how to cook cornish hen and serve it up. I was quickly learning that there was this incredible social element to food that I would someday share with the rest of the world!
  3. When did you realize you wanted to become a chef, what was the key influence?I was passionate about television production throughout college, but I knew I had to merge another one of my passions to make it big. And food was an easy choice. I decided right then to fly out to Paris and take a 3 year culinary journey and boy did I learn a lot.
  4. We love creative, fun recipes and your recipes are just that–what inspires you when you’re creating a recipe?My first inspiration is who is going to eat or cook the recipe. If someone is new to cooking, I will do my best to inspire them to cook a recipe without intimidating them with complex ingredients or difficult instructions. For example, I always have moms and dads come up to me and ask me where they can find some of my quick and easy recipes online.  And there is only one place I tell them to go and that’s ReadySetEat.com. This site has a database of recipes that use minimal ingredients, many of which can be made in 30 minutes or less! But, if they happen to be food connoisseurs, then I’m pulling out the big (French) guns and pointing them to recipes that will absolutely bewilder their palate!
  5. I know how food and the interaction, preparation and tradition associated with it has affected me throughout my life. From your experience with food, what suggestions can you give to families that want to include/inspire/teach their kids with the ‘family food experience’?This is a great question as I just became a father and I look forward to bringing food into my child’s life! Remember to be active in the kitchen with your children! Listen to what they like and then encourage them to be part of the cooking process, even on a minimal scale (ie, ripping lettuce, getting their hands into the dough, etc.). Have them taste everything you taste and I guarantee that they will want to learn more. But if there is one thing you MUST do though it’s to ALWAYS sit together as a family for dinner (and even the other meals if you can). Oh yeah, and NO TV at the dinner table!
More info on George Duran…George attended collge at NYU where he began his carrer in radio and TV production. After college he worked as an on-air personality for comedy segments until 2000, when after stint producing the popular MTV show, House of Style, George moved to Miami—and a Latin music television station.

In 2002, after years of honing his culinary skills, he found his hobby gradually turning into a full-blown obsession. One he would follow to Paris, France, where he attended culinary school at the Ecole Superieure de Cuisine Francaise Groupe Ferrandi. While attending school, Duran created and hosted Pop Cuisine on France’s Cuisine TV network. In 2005, he returned to New York, taking his career as a TV Chef to the next level—creating and hosting Food Network’s popular Ham on the Street. This led to the hosting The Secret Life of… in 2007. In October, 2008, George’s first book, Take This Dish and Twist It hit bookstore shelves and in the fall of 2009, Duran became the spokesperson of Hunt’s, appearing in their multilingual Crash Kitchen campaign commercials, as well as other marketing initiatives. his newest gig is as the new host of The Ultimate Cake-Off program on TLC.

Duran’s interests lie in French, Armenian and South American cuisines as well as cinematography and video editing. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. For further information check out http://www.georgeduran.com.

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