Brian Boitano’s new show, What Would Brian Boitano Make? premieres this Sunday! He was just in town on a media blitz, and we caught up with him for a quick chat. As promised, we asked your burning questions.
FN DISH: Everyone knows you as a skater. Why the jump to a cooking show?
BB: Before the Olympics I was on a strict regimen with a limited diet. I always dreamed of what I would make and what I would eat after the Olympics. After I won, I started having friends over and entertaining a lot, and it just grew from there. I’m actually very lucky because food and skating are my two loves. I’m still skating full time and juggling that with a show is ideal.
FN DISH: So your love for cooking grew out of your passion for skating?
BB: Cooking really did grow out of being a skater, and the love for food certainly was there. It really helps that skating is very similar to creating recipes. The way you layer different aspects of a program is the same way you layer different flavors in a recipe.
FN DISH: How so?
BB: For me, creating a recipe is a form of choreography. I cook by layering different tastes – like sweet and salty – and different flavor complexities. Cooking is very similar to skating in that, if you’re doing a program you need a layer of jumping, a layer of spinning, and then finally a layer of emotion. Skating is all about finding the balance of layers, just like cooking.
FN DISH: Are you ready for some questions from our fans?
FN Dish: Here’s one from Robin Koury: “Having traveled the world as an athlete what locale’s cuisine has inspired you the most and why?”
BB: Japan definitely had the biggest impact on me. I love those flavors. Funny story about my first time with sushi: I was 19 years old and had it for the first time. You know how the ginger is sliced very thinly? Well, I thought that it was turkey, so I put the whole thing in my mouth. It was the worst thing I’ve ever tasted, so I had to regroup and discover sushi again.
FN DISH: Aloha wants to know, “Who is your favorite Food Network Chef?”
BB: Ina Garten and Tyler Florence. Hands down. They line up with my theory of food, which is to keep it really simple. I think that accessibility is really important. If it’s something my friends can’t make, it’s not fun for me.
FN DISH: Kirsten asks, “Do you cook with the same precision, discipline and technique you’re so famous for on the ice, or do you feel liberated in the kitchen — throwing things together and experimenting?”
BB: I feel more like experimenting when I’m in the kitchen. I’m not like that at all when it comes to skating. I’m very strict and rigid. So I’d say I’m strict on the ice and carefree in the kitchen.
FN DISH: Tina Z wants to know what it takes to win a gold medal in the kitchen.
BB: Wow! I can’t even imagine. Chefs go to school for years and years and years and do the same thing that I did with skating in terms of a strict training regimen. But I’m a self-trained home cook and definitely don’t want people to think that I’m an Olympian in the kitchen. I’ve gotten to a place where I think I’m a pretty good home cook, and it’s all about honing that and always striving to be better.
FN DISH: And finally, AM Cook asks, “If you had to pick one activity, would it be skating or cooking?”
BB: Can I install ice in my kitchen and skate while I’m cooking?
FN Dish: Well played!
Be sure to watch What Would Brian Boitano Make? Sundays at 1pm/12c.