Secretary Confidential: How is it being the “new kid on the block”?
Sunny Anderson: It’s cool, I’m used to it. I moved almost every year growing up and in my adult life, I’ve kept the same pattern. So, being new is old to me. I just hope I’m around long enough for someone else to be the “NKOTB.”
SC: How did you make the transition from guest appearance on Emeril, to full time FN host?
SA: Hard work really pays off. After taping with Emeril, I thought “what was that?!”, what just happened?” People at the network began to tell me I did a good job. I trusted those few people and thought about the benefits of Food Network. It seemed similar to my radio career. I thought about how it was another love of mine that I could indulge in all day if I wanted.
After I made the decision to chase the dream, I just wouldn’t take no for an answer. I kept in touch with everyone and let them know I was still very interested. This put me in the pipeline. Out of this came Gotta Get It! Now, look at the mess I created. It’s been a great transition, and I am totally thankful for everything.
SC: I have the winter blues…what food is going to bring me the most comfort?
SA: A big 9X13 of baked mac and cheese or an 8X8 if you are watching your waist. You can use my Spicy Mac and Cheese recipe or your own. It’s the warm 9X13 that does the trick.
Lactose intolerant?? Try the Interstate Chili I just did on Cooking for Real. Lazy? Check the National Coney Island website. I pay homage to their chili with my recipe, and they mail theirs nationwide! That’s what I love about Food Network … the foodie viewers that’ll send off an email to me after a show.
SC: You talked so fondly of your Grandmother in the red velvet episode, how did she shape where you are today?
SA: Boy, I really do feel thankful to have such a great matriarch with endless skills in the kitchen. We mostly visited for weeks at a time during the summer, and I’d come home 20-30 lbs heavier because I was my Grandma’s taste-tester, and she could never say no to anything. Not only did I eat well as a child, I got to watch and learn.
SC: What ingredients or dishes do you run away from?
SA: I used to run from radishes, until recently. They were served sliced on the side of a soft corn tortilla taco. I needed some texture, some crunch, as there was no lettuce in it, so I added the radishes and for the 1st time in my life, I liked them! I am freeeeeeee!!!!
SC: Any future plans for a cookbook or restaurant opening?
SA: I can’t figure out how people do it! They are high functioning humans to have shows and other businesses as well. I can barely handle all of this stuff, and there are hosts that have way more on their plate and pull it off. If I ever get space for more, I’m sure I’ll add more, because I don’t like inactivity, but I’m not quite sure it’s a restaurant. A cookbook though, eventually.
SC: Tell me about your experiences meeting other Food Network chefs, and who haven’t you met that you’d like to?
Have a “Q” for the vivacious Ms. Anderson? Send it over to firstname.lastname@example.org!