Actress and Food Network star Valerie Bertinelli dishes on her new cookbook, Valerie's Home Cooking, and the restaurants she travels for.
I've read a lot of cookbooks, but loved that this one highlighted a lot of your family's original recipes. How fun was it to dig through some of those dishes with your mother? VALERIE BERTINELLI: I loved it! Especially going through them with my mom and then she would tell me stories about it, and which recipes she cooked the most because they would be the most stained. I would tease her and it was a fun way to get closer with my mother.
For you cooking is what? Therapeutic? Spiritual? VB: It’s love. I love cooking. I love showing my love through cooking. I love when I make something that my family likes to eat. It’s my heart, it’s a bit of my vulnerability. I think it’s all the best parts of me that I to try to accentuate and forget all the parts that drive me crazy.
I find, at least in America, that people who lost there way in the kitchen are slowly coming back to it now. Do you feel that? VB: I've seen that experience with people. I feel the connection when people walk up to me and asked me for recipes and feel the connection with them. But I've always had the kitchen as a big connection with my family. But I think you're right. It's like a touchstone for all of us. Especially for all of us who grew up with mothers who had no microwave cooked for the most part. They would cook breakfast, they would make lunches for school, and then there was a nice warm dinner when we came home. And every time my dad would have poker parties my mom was cooking for the boys. Every Halloween party she would have, it was an event. She made it look so easy! And I think it's because there was so much love in it and it just came so naturally to her. Oh, and my mom just so happened to be an artist also. I think that a lot of home cooks are artists in their true selves. They show their art through their food.
Do you have any favorite spots to eat, whether it’s in California or New York City or one of these big food cities that there is a restaurant that you have to travel to? VB: There is a place called Toni Bulloni’s in Toronto that I absolutely love! The owner’s name is Siva and he is an amazing chef. He makes Italian food like the business! There are also a few places in Los Angeles that are my go-to restaurants including Mozza and Petit Trois. There's all sorts of places out there.