I'm a Gemini and a mother to a seven-year old. I've been cooking for over 20 years. I live a life steeped in food, but also love muscle cars, Formula 1, and sunsets.

I have a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan called Butter. I work a lot with Alex's Lemonade Stand, which helps fight childhood cancer. And when I'm not working on either of those things, I'm either cooking or judging on CHOPPED or ALL-STAR ACADEMY.

I'm here at reddit New York eating Wheat Thins with Victoria to answer your questions. AMA!


Update: Please continue to follow me on twitter and instagram for my never-ending love affair with food and ingredients. Please check out ALL-STAR ACADEMY on Food Network on Sunday nights. I picked my two mentees and it looks great. But it's a rocky road to the finish.

Thank you! And enjoy!

Comments: 931 • Responses: 103  • Date: 

Ableyoungthug471 karma

Does Ted Allen ever get to taste the food on Chopped?

Alex_Guarnaschelli456 karma

ALL the time. He's a nibbler. smiles

Alex_Guarnaschelli235 karma

And he likes to stay connected to what the contestants are doing.

ClownJamboree335 karma

Hello Alex, big fan here.

  1. On Chopped no one ever mentions the food being cold (or too hot). Due to the format of the show, as a judge do you just accept that the food will probably always be cold and must shift your focus on other aspects for critique?

  2. Aside from Richard Blaise, it seems like celebrity chefs can only appear on the Food Network or shows like Top Chef/The Taste, but not both at the same time. Is this defined in your contract? Don't these entities realize that they all stand to benefit from a celebrity chef being more widely known/popular regardless of where they have been seen? I'd love to see you on Top Chef masters!

  3. How often do you and other celebrity chefs (that you are friends with) actually cook in your restarants?

  4. Are there any amazing chefs that you know who would no doubt be very popular "celebrity chefs" if they didn't prefer to stay out of the limelight? If so, can you drop any names?

  5. Truffle oil and sriracha seem to be all the rage for people attempting to "elavate their food". What ingredients do you see as being the next big thing(s) on the horizon, and what ingredients do you wish would become more popular?

  6. Finally, my wife has given me a free pass to make sweet sensual love to you and Amanda Freitag at the same time with our bodies smothered in nutella while Aarón Sánchez cheers us on. Can you please get the wheels in motion on making this dream a reality?

Thank you!

Alex_Guarnaschelli414 karma

1.) Yes. We never factor in temperature. Would be unfair, as everyone finishes cooking at the same time, but we taste the food person by person, which means the fourth contestant has food that waits far longer than the first.

2.) Keeping judges and chefs on specific shows retains their uniqueness. Can't interchange all chefs on all shows, just like you don't have the cast of the BIG BANG THEORY on GIRLS. Although it would be really great if they did.

3.) A LOT. We all began with a great passion for cooking, and that burns brightly within us all still.

4.) Not off the top of my head.... I think you'll find them if they wanna be found. And if they don't, good for them. And if they do, good for them.

5.) I wish salt would become more popular. I wish vinegar, mustard, pickles, and capers - what I call "the spark plugs" of cooking - would become the new cupcake for fall. In the meantime, I'll settle for the right amount of Sriracha and whatever the right amount of Truffle Oil is, as ways people are exploring new ingredients and broadening their view of flavor.

6.) Love your questions so far, but this one might get you CHOPPED! :)

cookieguyster306 karma

What's one dish you love but you would never cook yourself?

Alex_Guarnaschelli557 karma

That's a fascinating question.

No one's ever asked me that.

Pretty much all Japanese food, because the technique behind it, to me, takes a lifetime to learn.

CheezIt624249 karma

Alex, I'm a huge fan! You seem to really love what you do - I love your thoughtful critique of the dishes on Chopped. Two questions:

Have you ever experienced any challenges being a woman in this profession?

Also, what does Geoffrey Zakarian smell like?


Alex_Guarnaschelli622 karma

Mom, is that you? Hahaha!

There are so many challenges in this profession, I would hardly relegate any to gender. Put your head down, set up your cutting board, and cook. That's my plan.


Geoffrey smells like - that is fucking brilliant - he smells like Madagascar vanilla extract combined with 25 year barrel-aged Scotch. And orchids.

CheezIt624455 karma

he smells like Madagascar vanilla extract combined with 25 year barrel-aged Scotch.

I knew it. I knew it in my heart.

Alex_Guarnaschelli470 karma

To sit next to Geoffrey Zakarian is to know what true aromatherapy is all about. Not only an impeccable dresser, but the most interesting-smelling man in the world.

sparkleboody213 karma

Hey Alex!! My wife and I watch Chopped a lot. I've always wondered, on average how long does filming for an episode take place? Is it an all day event or even a few days or just simply resolved in a matter of hours?

Alex_Guarnaschelli347 karma

An average episode of CHOPPED takes 14 hours to film. One episode per day.

jackson9664205 karma

Hi Alex,

How does the Chopped judges panel resolve disagreements about whose dish to put on the chopping block? Have such disagreements ever become heated?

P.S. my girlfriend and I love you!!

Alex_Guarnaschelli293 karma

Hugs to the family!

Deliberations are often heated. We have definitely had a lot of rough moments on the set. Because emotions run strong. And we are all Alpha dogs. I can't tell you how they are resolved, as I have signed a non-disclosure clause ;)

But it's very human. And very real. And I think you can feel that when you watch the show.

Michele5481165 karma

Hi Alex,

Do you ever get the urge to force feed Scott Conant an entire raw red onions? ha!

Alex_Guarnaschelli224 karma

No, I love him. And he loves onions. Just not 80 pounds on top of an appetizer on CHOPPED.

I would spoon-feed him perfectly cooked spaghetti.

beautykeen162 karma

Have you ever tasted something on Chopped that was disgusting but you had to act professional for the sake of the show/competitor's feelings?

Alex_Guarnaschelli276 karma


Of course.

But cooking and eating food always involves great emotion, from the person who cooked it to the person who eats it. CHOPPED looks easy when you're sitting on your couch with a bowl of popcorn, but let me tell you, it's a whole different world when you open that basket, and Ted is giving you that stare.

yourparentsliedtoyou161 karma

What are your thoughts on Anthony Bourdain?

Alex_Guarnaschelli397 karma


I think his book KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL was seminal in its raw, real look at cooking and restaurants. I love his literary voice and thirst to bring the food of all cultures to the forefront. To him, I believe, food, culture and humanity are all synonymous.

formiscontent160 karma

Oh and: Chopped After Hours. Seriously, how drunk is everyone?

Alex_Guarnaschelli230 karma

There might be an occasional glass of wine. Or two.

Jeffrey903130 karma

Are there going to be any more Iron Chef America episodes? It appears that Food Network has cancelled the show, even though there is no official mention of it.

Alex_Guarnaschelli185 karma

I am confident that show will come back. Stay tuned.

cookieguyster115 karma

What's your favorite non-Food Network show?

Alex_Guarnaschelli322 karma

3-way tie:

  • Breaking Bad
  • House of Cards
  • Downton Abbey

Alex_Guarnaschelli244 karma

And WALKING DEAD! It's a four-way tie!

legolover326111 karma

Hi Alex! It's so awesome that you're doing an AMA! What's the craziest risk you've seen someone take on Chopped and have it work out? And if you could be reincarnated as any food or drink, what would it be and why? :P :)

Alex_Guarnaschelli172 karma

That's a bleeping good question.

Can you write that?

Uh... someone made a panna cotta in six minutes the other day, and poured a hot sauce over it to boot!

It defied gravity, and all pastry logic, and was delicious. Not sure if they won. But damn it was good.

Haclark107 karma

What would your daughter say is the best thing you make?

Alex_Guarnaschelli198 karma

I asked her, and she said "chicken cutlets." And brownies. I made her some brownies this weekend.

eaterofworld102 karma

I feel like I lucked out happening to check out /r/IAmA and seeing that my favorite Chopped judge happened to be here! Your critiques are always mine and my girlfriend's favorites on the show.

I'm desperately trying to become a bit better in the kitchen (for an engineer who just started cooking frequently about 3 years ago) but I seem to have hit a little bit of a wall and I'm trying to figure out what I can do to improve my kitchen-sense. Any tips on how to develop my cooking further?

Alex_Guarnaschelli156 karma

Sometimes giving your brain a break is the best way to get things rolling.

Why don't you eat out tonight? And take a breather?

And then voraciously dive back into a mixture of cookbooks, shopping outside your comfort zone at the grocery store, and preparation for mistakes and disaster. A delightful journey!

cookieguyster96 karma

Who would you rather compete against: Gordon Ramsey or Bobby Flay?

Alex_Guarnaschelli157 karma

I have to pick Gordon Ramsey. Bobby Flay is a mentor to me, and has accelerated my street smarts and self-awareness.

moonvalentine77 karma

Hi Chef Alex!! :) I am a huge fan of yours and love how empowering you are to other female chefs! Thank you for being such an effortlessly cool, honest, and intelligent inspiration!

You have such an incredible ability to create unique combinations out of simple ingredients (bell peppers and ice cream?!). I know it's an innate quality but obviously a lot of knowledge has to go into that too. How would you suggest home cooks start learning how to create nuances and interesting flavors with that "cheffy" quality?

Alex_Guarnaschelli84 karma

I'm a big fan of cookbooks. A cookbook can be a window into one chef's sensibility. I also see you watch CHOPPED AFTER HOURS. I think that's a great resource into understanding how chefs think and combine flavors with technique. And last but not least - cook, cook, cook!

beernerd74 karma

What is your favorite meal to prepare when you're home alone?

Alex_Guarnaschelli117 karma

I always make carrot soup with far too much fresh ginger. And a lot of fresh jalapeño.

Alex_Guarnaschelli86 karma

I'm a flavor junkie.

It's true!

iia72 karma

Alex! I'm so glad to see you're doing an AMA! I wish I had something more substantive to ask, but since I live near NYC and have always wanted to go to Butter, what's the one thing you'd recommend I order?

Alex_Guarnaschelli108 karma

You have to have the raspberry beignets.

Alex_Guarnaschelli95 karma

The ricotta crostini, and the octopus.

barrell_of_pabstbeer70 karma

Hello Alex, enjoy your cooking. Do you prefer a ribeye or ny strip? What is the best way to cook this protein? I hear about reverse sears and all that. I just want a good way to do it. 4 minutes each side for medium rare? Thanks. GO team Alex.

Alex_Guarnaschelli115 karma

Ribeye all the way! Sear in an INSANELY HOT cast iron skillet, stovetop.

merlinspants58 karma

Hi Alex! Nearly four years ago I served you a cupcake from Buttercup Bake Shop at the SHARE "Second Helping of Life" event, and it was basically the highlight of my bakery career. I'm a huge fan and always love watching your appearances on Food Network.

Question for you: What is one of your new favorite restaurants in NYC? Anyone/any place doing something that you find particularly inspiring or exciting?

Alex_Guarnaschelli65 karma

There are so many exciting restaurants in New York. But some are not new. I am always thrilled with the food at Hearth, L'Artusi, Tartulia, and Sotto in particular. But I love institutions like Eisenberg's Sandwich Shop, Ferrara bakery, and Di Paolos. Long live little Italy!

wyteoliander55 karma

Hi Chef!

I am a huge Chopped Fan. My question for you is, when judging the chopped dishes – do those crazy meals actually taste good? Or do you sometimes have to say to yourself “Well, this is literally the best s/he could possibly do with Kimchi, Pickled Eggs and Cow’s eyeball”?

Also, I am frequently wrong with the overall winner. It sometimes seems like the winner is chosen by the entrée. How important is that last dessert course?

Alex_Guarnaschelli74 karma

There's never one course that truly determines a winner. And we don't weigh any course more heavily than the other. Sometimes the food doesn't taste good. But that's usually because of the show and its limitations. The basket is a big backpack of boulders to carry around when cooking.

cookieguyster53 karma

What's your favorite type of cookie?

Alex_Guarnaschelli121 karma

JESUS that's a hard question!!

I'm a sucker for an Italian bakery. You know those sandwich cookies that have the jam in the middle, that are half-dunked in chocolate with sprinkles? Those are my favorite.

By the way, I'm telling you my answer!

But I also love a good chocolate chip walnut cookie.

Don't lie like you like oatmeal raisin better!

mydogfarted53 karma

Knowing how grueling life can be in the kitchen, would you want your daughter to follow in your footsteps?

Alex_Guarnaschelli150 karma

No, yes, maybe, sort've, sometimes, possibly. I'm going to let her decide.

AmberHeartsDisney50 karma

Why do you (and the other chopped judges) seem to dislike Truffle Butter Oil so much?

Alex_Guarnaschelli106 karma

We love truffle butter. There is only truffle oil. Which has an average of 26 vegetable extracts, NONE of which pertain to a truffle.

Alex_Guarnaschelli80 karma

And when you add too much (which is easy), it can obscure so many other beautiful flavors.

meowisssa46 karma

Big fan! I love following you on Instagram and when I see you're judging on Chopped. What were your favorite things about living in France?

Alex_Guarnaschelli96 karma

The croissants, the smell of strawberries on the street, rotisserie chickens, champagne, the charming aspects of being straight-up broke, cooking my heart out and constantly screwing stuff up... and getting the biggest cultural kick in the ass POSSIBLE.

miss_r44 karma

First and foremost, I adore you! One of my most favorite chefs ever.

Oftentimes, I really want to cook but I find out I am missing certain ingredients. What are your standby ingredient replacements when you are missing a certain kitchen staple?

Alex_Guarnaschelli108 karma

I try not to replace, as all that work ends up disappointing. Better to have standby recipes than to have standby ingredients.

cookieguyster41 karma

Do you have a guilty pleasure fast food place? Or do you try to stay away from them altogether?

Alex_Guarnaschelli188 karma

I love In-N-Out burger. A double-double burger with a Neapolitan shake is whassup.

Jokuki40 karma

Hello Alex!

I've been a huge fan since I saw you as a judge when Chopped first premiered! You, along with Alton Brown and Gordon Ramsay, are by far my favorite chefs I've encountered. I just have a couple questions about cooking and the road to becoming a great chef:

  1. How long do you think it took you to get a "kitchen sense"? In other words, how long did it take for you to gain a 6th sense, an instinct, for cooking for things such as: how long something has to cook; how ingredients work together; how to create recipes from random ingredients, etc.

  2. Any essential tips you'd give to someone just starting out? I feel like I have the standard tips down, like keeping your knife sharp and having a good frying pan but I still feel like something's been missing over the couple years since I've started cooking.

  3. Favorite type of meat/vegetable/spice/fruit to work with?

  4. Do you have any tips for cooking for a large amount of people? The largest I've done was for 40 people. The menu was a standard mixed salad with almonds, fettucine chicken alfredo with a zuchinni substitute for dietary needs, and mini cheesecakes (cheesecakes made in a muffin tin), and that took an entire day to make, with cheesecakes taking an entire night to make/cool. All of the food was served buffet style so I had to make everything in advance then transfer it and everything was just chaotic because I only had my small kitchen to work with.

Alex_Guarnaschelli61 karma

1.) That "kitchen sense" takes a lifetime to develop. But I would say it started to feel manageable at the 10 year mark of cooking.

2.) Sounds like you are afraid. And I might be wrong. But in the event that I'm right, just stop being afraid, and keep cooking. And one day you'll wake up super-excited because you're a chef.

4.) Duck. Kohlrabi. Dry ginger. Pixie mandarin oranges.

5.) My advice when making menus, big or small, is to cook Coco Chanel-it. That means apply the same rule that Coco Chanel did when she would remove one accessory from her outfit before leaving the house. Write the menu, cross one dish off. Make a lot of things that are in your comfort zone, and that you can largely make ahead. If you're cooking for a group that loves you, they won't care anyway, because they love you.

avianchaosx39 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, Chef Guarnaschelli! One of the things I've always wondered (as someone who loves to cook and loves food in general): do you have any strong aversions? How do you handle it when you have a strong aversion to something a lot of other people love? (For me, it's cilantro, I just can't have it no matter how it's included in a dish).

I remember from The Man Who Ate Everything by Steingarten that he just exposed himself to all the things that he thought he hated enough that he was able to quell his distaste for certain foods. Wondering if you've ever had to do this!

Thanks again!

Alex_Guarnaschelli44 karma

Always think it's a good idea to follow Steingarten's advice. He's brilliant.

I can't stand arborio rice, or risotto. But LOVE to cook it for other people. You can separate likes and dislikes in cooking, if you want to (or need to). Or you can just cook with things you love.

Kellicipes38 karma

Hi Chef Guarnaschelli! You are my favorite chef on Chopped! What's your best advice for a newbie food blogger?

Alex_Guarnaschelli77 karma

I think photography is really important.

A picture is so seductive. As far as the niche thing goes, why don't you start with writing about what you absolutely love yourself. If people are living something with you, they will believe you, and your following will grow.

Bodley60536 karma

Hi Chef, I just wanted to say that you winning Next Iron Chef was probably my favorite moment in a culinary competition tv show. What is least favorite culinary trend right now, or ever for that matter? Also I love you.

Alex_Guarnaschelli61 karma

I'm a fan of trends, even if I don't like them, they spark ideas about what to do. Don't knock a trend. Make your own.

akfriend35 karma

What are you top 5 essential kitchen tools?

Alex_Guarnaschelli62 karma

Microplane grater, a good attitude, an oyster knife, a sabatier paring knife (price $6.99), and a cast iron skillet.

ohnoitslubu32 karma

What books do you think all young chefs and cooks should read to continue to grow and learn? Thanks for the AMA.

Alex_Guarnaschelli85 karma

There are a few books that I recommend.

  • Comfort me with Apples, Ruth Reichl
  • Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris
  • the 1997 JOY OF COOKING
  • The Soul of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman
  • Prune: A cookbook by Gabrielle Hamilton

mr_pgh32 karma

Have you ever had a Primanti's Sandwich and what did you think of it?

Alex_Guarnaschelli38 karma


scotinnewengland30 karma

Who washes the dishes on Chopped (Big fan, would be fun if the chopped folks had to wash their own dishes)?

Alex_Guarnaschelli43 karma

The crew. The crew washes the dishes. And believe me, some days they're a little cranky.

cookieguyster29 karma

Did you ever have a kitchen accident so bad that it made you consider giving up cooking?

Alex_Guarnaschelli67 karma


I have been to the hospital in the middle of a dinners shift. Accidents are part of the profession. I have made a sauce so disgusting that it made me wonder if I could be a chef, but that's another story.

deburk040128 karma

Hey Alex! I'm a huge fan! You have been such an inspiration to me and I just wanted to say thank you for that. I have a 4 year old son who loves watching and helping me cook. I was wondering if you could recommend a few things that would be perfect for us to cook together. I want to build memories in the kitchen with him. Any suggestions?

Alex_Guarnaschelli53 karma

I recommend simple things. Pick an ingredient, like white mushrooms or tomatoes, and make a simple side-dish together. A simple cake - chocolate, with buttercream - can make a lifetime of memories, watching him lick the beaters.

Sisiwakanamaru28 karma

Hi, you're one of my favorite judges on Chopped.

Do you like peanut butter?

What are some of the dishes that can be made with peanut butter? Either savory or sweet.

Thank you

Alex_Guarnaschelli38 karma

I do like peanut butter.

Especially on rye toast with orange marmalade.

I don't love peanut butter when it's cooked for a long time, so I like it a lot in a dip, and I like it a lot in a vinaigrette when it's mixed with roasted peanuts for texture.

muffingrl24 karma

If you had your own talk show, who would you want as your first guest?

Alex_Guarnaschelli96 karma

I totally would love my own talk show, and I've spent a lot of time thinking about this.

I would have 3 guests on my first episode. Prince (who would not have to do anything but show up to be enough of a guest), Ann Burrell, and Benedict Cumberbatch, because he's a tasty cake.

Michele548122 karma

What is your favorite junk food?

Alex_Guarnaschelli50 karma

I really love Oreos, and Cool Ranch Doritos. I also have an unnatural attachment to Pepperidge Farm Tahiti cookies, but those aren't really that junky. They're just damn good.

Uncannie21 karma

Chef Alex - I listened to your interview on Food is The New Rock and loved it! Are you listening to any new bands or recommend some tunes to play while cooking? Thanks!

Alex_Guarnaschelli58 karma

Shit, new bands?

We listened to "Jump" by Van Halen over the weekend...Honestly speaking, my taste in music is very eclectic. I listen to a lot of Biggie Smalls, Beethoven, and Aerosmith. I like Haim and SONIC HIGHWAYS, the project the Foo Fighters did.

MrMiaogi21 karma

I have an ambition to open my own restaurant alongside my pastry chef sister. We both have the determination and skill sets to perform this. However, I have not worked in a kitchen before and she has limited experience. What are some common mistakes and tips you have in making a restaurant successful?

Big fan, ate at butter last week finally and had a pleasant meal.

Alex_Guarnaschelli49 karma

It's so important for you to have hands on experience if you're going to open a restaurant, most of all to see if you actually like it in the day-to-day. I recommend you both get some practical experience before exploring ownership.

Fox24821 karma

What's your favorite animal?

Alex_Guarnaschelli47 karma


Without question, it's a tie between a cheetah and a thresher shark.

ampsss19 karma

Hi Alex- I love cooking/baking and watching you on Food Network is an inspiration! I'm throwing a party this weekend...could you suggest an easy recipe for Chicken thighs that is a crowd pleaser???? Appreciate your advice! :)

Alex_Guarnaschelli41 karma

I would try my baked Marsala chicken, from my cookbook OLD SCHOOL COMFORT FOOD. Or simply bake the chicken thighs until cooked, and toss them in a mixture of honey, soy sauce, garlic and fresh chilies at the last minute.

AdolfClooney19 karma

Hi Alex ! IF YOU HAD to choose between savory and sweet and what you chose would be all you had for the rest of your life which would you choose? Savory or sweet?? you cant have a wonderful blend of both either :I

Alex_Guarnaschelli39 karma



I. Love. Dessert.

End of story.

QueenOfTheOzone18 karma

Hi Alex! Thanks so much for doing this AMA! My husband & I are huge fans & love watching Chopped! Our work schedules are completely opposite so when we get a chance to watch some tv, it's always chopped.

My Question: You seem to be an extremely busy woman. How do you balance family life, TV & Butter? From your social media accounts you always seem to be on the go.

PS: I love following you on Instagram! Your daily posts of wonderful delicious food is lovely....& makes me extremely hungry. #yum #growlllll

Alex_Guarnaschelli29 karma


I don't balance well. Something seems to always fall by the wayside.

That would be my most honest answer. Like anyone, the struggle for balance is impossible.

I am very proud of CHOPPED.

ironsprite18 karma

ALEX!! My hubby and I ate at Butter about 5 years ago on our honeymoon, and you came out and chatted with us for a few minutes because you're awesome. So thank you for that!

How do you balance running a restaurant, doing everything for Food Network, and being a mom? Do you have ANY time for yourself??

Alex_Guarnaschelli37 karma

Doing what you listed above is doing things for myself. But I'm also a night owl. Which means I get my quiet time often between 2-4 AM.

KChan32318 karma

Hi Chef Alex! Thanks for being such a great inspiration. My question is this: as a young woman just starting out on my own and trying to start cooking great food at home instead of eating out all the time, I often find myself with a pretty bare pantry and no idea how to fill it. What ingredients are must-haves in your kitchen?

Alex_Guarnaschelli40 karma


Dijon Mustard.

Red wine vinegar.


Olive oil.

And a heavy dose of excitement.

Jacobjellybean17 karma

Whose your favorite band or musician? Also, my parents call you my Mom because you walk like me and apparently you have the same build.

Alex_Guarnaschelli64 karma

Not sure how to address the mom thing?

Aerosmith is my favorite band. Guess our song would be "Walk this way"?

etralos17 karma

Many chefs get into the booze game - if you could launch an AG label for some kind of booze, what would it be?

Alex_Guarnaschelli41 karma

First and foremost - I will never be a bootlegger. But if I had to choose... I would make a really clean gin.

ningrim16 karma

What's the best cut of meat and preparation method for beef fajitas?

Alex_Guarnaschelli20 karma

I like a skirt steak, or hangar steak. Has a lot of flavor, but also takes on the flavors of a marinade brilliantly, and doesn't break the bank.

cpflynn12316 karma

If you were cheese, what kind of cheese would you be and why?

Alex_Guarnaschelli23 karma


It's made in Switzerland. But it has all the qualities of a good French cheese - slightly tangy, slightly salty, great texture, melts and grates well.

That's me!

rbtEngrDude15 karma

Who's your favorite Formula 1 driver/team?

Alex_Guarnaschelli17 karma

Oh Schumacher for life! Of course I also like Vettel.

cookieguyster15 karma

If you were a guest on Sesame Street which character(s) would you most want to do your segment with?

Alex_Guarnaschelli26 karma

Animal. With Snuffy as a taster.

ThatOneIowan14 karma

Date night is coming up! What would you recommend I make for my girlfriend? She loves duck!

Alex_Guarnaschelli19 karma

I have a recipe for whole roasted duck in my cookbook.

Otherwise, slow-cook the legs in the oven, and pan-sear the breast meat stovetop, until the skin is crispy.

If she doesn't love you after that...

foojman13 karma

Non cooking related: You seem to be a bit of a automobile/racing fan. Have you ever been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed?

Alex_Guarnaschelli19 karma

No, but I know about it. And I wanna go! I'm somewhere between a muscle car and Formula 1 with my passion. Would it surprise you that i find car racing relaxing, relative to cooking?

Michele548113 karma

Are you a creature of habit? What position do you sleep in? Do you believe that ignorance is bliss?

Alex_Guarnaschelli28 karma

ABSO-LUTELY. Aren't you?

I sleep on my left side.

Hell yes. She said, unblissfully.

dxdexter13 karma

Hi Alex, I'm a big fan! Do you use organic food items on Chopped/Food Network?

Alex_Guarnaschelli15 karma

Sometimes. But not always.

oh_sheesh13 karma

What should I make for dinner tonight as a single male in my 20's?

I consider myself a passable cook, mostly just lacking in motivation after work.

Alex_Guarnaschelli25 karma

Understandable. A long day at work doesn't always mean I wanna cook when I get home either. Can you pick one day a week where you cook a few things, so you have homemade stuff on days when you're more tired? I find some braised chicken or a pasta casserole goes a long way.

kulii10 karma

Hi Alex! I'm a huge fan!

Your Instagram is filled with the most delicious looking dishes, but what are your top three meals of ALL TIME?

Alex_Guarnaschelli19 karma

Thank you!

The first time my mother made a roasted leg of lamb, with ratatouille.

The first time I ate a macaron in Paris.

And last week when my daughter shared some eggplant parmesan with me.

AKDMF44710 karma

Hey Alex, I've loved how you cook in the kitchen and your demeanor as a whole.

What was absolutely the hardest thing you had to face as s chef when you first started, the challenge that almost broke the Camel's back so to speak?

Alex_Guarnaschelli21 karma

I could not stop cutting and burning myself.

My hands were very sore. And I never dreamed it would be as hard as it was.

smp10069 karma

Huge Chopped fan, have done some amateur baskets with my friends. All that said, what is a dream appetizer basket for you? And a nightmare desert basket?

The toughest ingredient we ever used was a stalk of sugar cane. Any tips on what I could do with that?

Alex_Guarnaschelli17 karma


I think you have witnessed plenty of nightmare dessert baskets, if you watch the show. So I won't elaborate.

My dream appetizer basket would be ramps, soft-shell crabs, garlic breadcrumbs, and a gummi tarantula candy.

vakabiel8 karma

Hello Chef!

I have a son that wants to be a chef someday (he's 14 right now) and we watch a lot of Chopped, Top Chef, and Master Chef Junior.

What do you think about doing a kids version of chopped?


Your mystery box ingredients are: Chicken Livers, Puffer fish, Chocolate and Lima Beans. WHAT DO YOU MAKE?!

Alex_Guarnaschelli17 karma

Stay tuned...

Ceviche, of course!

aferrari4586 karma

Hey Chef Alex! Huge fan of your work and all of your recipes, I have made some myself actually.

--Have to know though, what would you say is the most difficult part about working on the set of "Chopped?" Do you find it hard to taste some of the outlandish concoctions that these chefs come up with? Or have your years of experience "numbed" you to it? Thank you!

Alex_Guarnaschelli15 karma

I am not numbed to any part of being on CHOPPED.

I am astounded at how much heart people pour into their cooking.

And how many people feel their lives have been saved by embarking on a career in food.

citizenkane866 karma

Since weeknight tv is generally terrible I find myself watching a lot of chopped, so my question is has there ever been an ingredient pulled out of the basket that you had to go "WTF is that thing?" and quickly google it?

Alex_Guarnaschelli9 karma

Thank you for watching. Please continue to do so!

Of course there are ingredients we don't know.

And yes, we always read up on them, and taste them, if we're not familiar.

mr_pgh5 karma

What I should do with all of these fresh brussel sprouts?

I typically oven roast them with some sweet potatoes and bacon.

Alex_Guarnaschelli6 karma

Peel the leaves off, drizzle them with olive oil, and roast them in the oven until they're crispy with a pinch of salt.

Alternatively, thinly slice them and char them quickly in a hot pan with a little butter and a splash of vinegar.


dublos5 karma

All-Star Academy, Episode one:

When you chefs had to cook to decide which of you picked first, none of the chefs seemed that surprised. How far in advance did you know?

In what few shots we saw, your brussel sprouts didn't seem excessively charred. If it's going to feature that prominently in your worries and in Simon's comments, why didn't we see them?


Do you ever have to fight media reps, or magazines to be referred to as one of the best chefs in the city/country/world instead of one of the best female chefs in the city/country/world?

Alex_Guarnaschelli13 karma

You seem to think we knew in advance. And while we anticipated they would throw us curveballs like that, we genuinely didn't know, and had never competed against one another before (despite all the shows we've done together).

Unfortunately I am not the editor. I am only responsible for being nervous, trying not to burn stuff, and mentoring cooks.

With the word "female" or not, it's a privilege.

Alex_Guarnaschelli10 karma

And by the way, if that's my biggest problem, I'm doing great.

violue4 karma

You've competed on quite a few of Food Network's cooking shows, which one was the hardest?

Alex_Guarnaschelli13 karma

Next Iron Chef, without a doubt.

royalewithsleaze4 karma

What's the toughest thing about owning multiple restaurants?

Alex_Guarnaschelli7 karma

I don't. I only have one.

BrennanDobak4 karma

Muscle car: what is your dream muscle car, and do you own it yet?

Alex_Guarnaschelli7 karma

No, I do not own it. My dream muscle car is a 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Rally 350.

bakerowl4 karma

I'm a female pastry chef at a top hotel/resort and I and my fellow dough 'ho's in the bakeshop have been dealing with a fair amount of disrespect and sexism from the rest of the kitchen. What have been your personal experiences with being a successful female in what is still generally considered a "man's world" and how have you overcome them?

Also, what are your thoughts on the annoyingly frequent trend of outsourcing desserts in many restaurants ranging from the casual chains to the upscale fine dining? I may create a massive flour bomb if I see another chocolate lava cake on a dessert menu.

Alex_Guarnaschelli6 karma

I find that respect is earned over time, regardless of gender. And the way I got any respect I have was by doing the best job I could, every day. Work hard, and respect will just come.

I don't know why and I wish it would stop.

mattypootoo3 karma

What is your favorite meal/dish to cook with your daughter? And why is it so special?

Alex_Guarnaschelli5 karma

Probably pork chops. Pork chops and brussels sprouts. She eats the pork, I eat the brussels spreads.

VesuviusDogg3 karma

Chef Alex, I take particular pleasure in the Chopped contests among kids and teenagers, and have seen some extraordinarily talented young adult chefs on the show. I sometimes can't help but think Chopped (and Food Network programming in general) is helping foster a rising generation of super-chefs, possessing a hitherto unimagined creative sensibility and potential. You are too young, and Chopped still too vital, to be thinking of the show's "legacy". But what are your thoughts on this? Are you as inspired by the possibilities to come as I am?

Alex_Guarnaschelli5 karma

I am hoping that i am part of such a legacy. And I do think about it already.

I think a lot of these cooking shows - CHOPPED in particular - are showcasing up and coming chefs. And that's what i love the most about the show.

Jacob_the_Tank3 karma

What was the proudest moment of your culinary career?

Alex_Guarnaschelli8 karma

Winning Iron Chef. Cannot be beat.

kenzmy3 karma

Hi Alex! You're my favorite celebrity chef and I love watching you on Chopped! I always thought if you did an AmA I would have something thoughtful to ask, but instead I have just a random questions for you: Do you prefer pancakes or waffles?

Thanks for taking the time to do this!

Alex_Guarnaschelli4 karma

Pancakes all the way.

vendalina3 karma

hello Alex! First you Rock! 2nd how come on chopped when chefs are making pasta dishes why don't they use angel hair pasta it cooks in 3 mins? I love when you disagree with the other chefs .. thank you for being you!

Alex_Guarnaschelli6 karma

There is no angel hair on the set.

progdrumr3 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I’m a big fan but in all honesty, I wasn’t from the start. Perhaps it was me not being able to handle what a strong woman you really are but in reality it does seem as though you’ve toned that down a notch. What changes have you gone through as a person from when you first started at Food Network til now? Your “Snark” is definitely your charm and I wanted you to know that it is definitely something needed and appreciated on the network!

Alex_Guarnaschelli14 karma

Being snarky is a tough road.

Thanks for sticking with me. I intend to be as snarky as this, if not more, until the day I fall over. But it can be lonely.

I am raising a child, who is 7 years old. And she keeps me somewhat in check. And reminds me that the world is not all about me. That's important.

The problem is when I get to cooking or eating food, my passion seems to make everything fall out the window. Stay tuned for more potential change. In the meantime, I snarkily promise nothing.

clperry17013 karma

Alex, how old were you when you decided that being a chef would be your life's work?

Alex_Guarnaschelli5 karma


marymaloy3 karma

Hi Alex, Huge fan..

I am taking my family to New Orleans and Destin next week. Do you have any suggestions for culinary yumminess that we should go partake in while in those places?

Alex_Guarnaschelli6 karma

Have a muffaletta and don't miss an old school place, like Pascal's Monale. New Orleans is so rich with places old and new.

ectro243 karma

Hi, my mom and I are huge fans.

She wanted to know if you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?


Alex_Guarnaschelli7 karma



cookieguyster3 karma

If you sold your restaurant and opened a food truck instead, what would be on the menu?

Alex_Guarnaschelli6 karma

I could never do that. Let's start there.

But if I did... it would be an ice cream truck with lots of homemade candy. And i would really regret it, but also love it.

Power-Girl2 karma

What's your favorite color?

Alex_Guarnaschelli10 karma


formiscontent2 karma

Of all the chefs I've seen compete here and there you're one of the more analytical when it comes to everyone's performance, rather than focusing on your own work. Do you think that has been advantage overall?

Alex_Guarnaschelli7 karma

I don't think there's any advantage greater than remaining as calm as possible in all situations, and that's something I struggle to this day to master. Some chefs are just as analytical, but may be less vocal about it.

crazyisthenewnormal2 karma

Chef Guarnaschelli, thanks so much for doing this! I'm a big fan. =) What spices do you enjoy being innovative with the most?

Alex_Guarnaschelli4 karma

I love whole coriander seeds. And aleppo pepper the MOST.

Youknowlikemagnets1 karma

Which of your restaurants in NYC would you recommend I go to first? Little background: I'm a carnivore :)

Alex_Guarnaschelli2 karma

Butter. For the Tomahawk Ribeye Steak. STAT!