Food Network Star Alex Guarnaschelli Says Making Your Own Ketchup Is Too Fussy
ICYMI, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is kiiind of a big deal. Not only is she pretty much the face of all things food TV, but she’s also the absolute smartest when it comes to cooking, teaching others to cook, and being a freakin’ awesome mom to her 13-year-old daughter (and preteen food-enthusiast) Ava. And while fans are used to watching Alex from a TV screen, people are def wondering what it looks like in the chef’s *actual home* right now, too.
Lucky for you, Alex spoke with Women’s Health about what exactly goes on in her personal kitchen, including the contents of her fridge, pantry, and everything her family cooks amidst the lockdown. Excited? Same.
But what’s the occasion, you ask? Well, Alex partnered with Vitamin Angels, a global non-profit that aims to fight malnutrition in underserved communities by providing essential prenatal vitamins to mothers across the world. So, she’s out here (virtually) spreading word about the org.
As a once-single mother herself, Alex knows what it’s like to worry about caring for a child on her own. That’s why she wants to highlight this organization while also giving viewers what she’s best known for: awesome food tips and great-tasting recipes. You can catch her cooking on IGTV, giving you some serious inspo and talking about why the Vitamin Angels cause is special to her in the process.
And, yes, you can *also* find giving WH a little breakdown of her fridge and food setup. Keep reading for the deets on Alex Guarnaschelli’s at-home kitchen. You’re welcome!
She always keeps a full fridge.
“A refrigerator has to provide food and nutrition first and foremost, and then it has to have that variety of entertainment to it as well,” Alex explains. “My fridge is always full because my fridge wasn’t full growing up, so I just do the opposite.” That said, she organizes her refrigerator as follows.
The Top Section: Condiments
For Alex, the top shelf of her fridge is allll about the condiments. “I’m really a condiment person,” she says. “I think I’ve got a problem.” And FYI, when she says the word condiments, she doesn’t mean just your classic ketchup, mustard, and mayo (though those are definitely included), but *homemade* hot sauces, salad dressings, and jams as well.
“My fiancé makes homemade hot sauces for us and puts them in these little jars,” she says. “They’re perfect for putting on eggs. He’ll also make vinegars from scratch, while I’ll focus on making homemade jam.”
The Bottom Section: Fresh Produce
Alex and her S.O. aren’t the only ones with a knack for making things from scratch. Her daughter Ava is pretty skilled in the kitchen as well. “My daughter has a pickled vegetable project going on right now,” Alex explains. You can find all of Ava’s pickled creations in the bottom section of their fridge.
Once their family munches on all of a jar’s contents, they’ll use the pickle juice as an ingredient in a dish as well. “It’s almost like a two for one ingredient,” says Alex.
The bottom of the fridge is also home to Alex’s produce drawer, where she loves to keep fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and jalapeños, all grown fresh from her backyard garden. “My fridge is like an accidental homage to the season,” she explains, since it usually contains whatever’s growing at that time of year.
The Door: All The Healthy Fats
That last section of Alex’s fridge? Her side door, which she deems “very important” when conceptualizing a meal. She likes to use it as a visual reminder of what flavors she can add to her dishes. It’s where she keeps her “healthy fats,” like avocado oil, hazelnut oil, capers, and grating cheeses like pecorino and Parmesan, which she can use to throw together a quick dressing or add on top of a meat, grain, or veggie.
She doesn’t forget about the pantry, though!
And while Alex thinks her fridge is very important, staying inside this year has brought a lot of attention to a different part of her kitchen.
“The global pandemic has made me look at my refrigerator and also my pantry,” she says. “The pantry is almost more important than the refrigerator right now. It’s made me think, ‘Okay, what if I’m stuck in my house for three weeks? Am I going to have enough food to sustain my family?'”
That’s why she keeps things like canned sardines, chickpeas, dried beans, lentils, and bulgar in there: Not only do they taste great and are a good source of protein, but they can be stored for a long time, too.
“I think chefs are all about ingredients and excitement and what’s available now,” she says. “But that’s taken a turn because of the pandemic. I’m living with my mother, daughter, and fiancé all at once. I have to think of lasting nutrition for ages ranging from 79 to 13. That’s kind of interesting. The most unusual restaurant I’ve ever accidentally cooked in is my own home.”
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