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This October, you can join Anne Burrell and other Food Network at Sea guests as they set sail and cruise the Mediterranean. In anticipation of this voyage, we recently caught up with her to talk about one of her favorite destinations, Italy. Below, she dishes on her first time there, her favorite ingredients to cook with and tools she uses in the kitchen.
FN Dish: What was it like the first time you were in Italy?
Anne: I visited Italy in May and it was so beautiful there. There were flowers everywhere –it was springtime and everything was just opening up. The grape vines were just starting to bud; it just seemed like there was sunshine everywhere.
FN Dish: What do you love most about making an Italian feast?
Anne: The Italian kitchen is very ingredient-driven — it’s about using perfect ingredients and respecting them. It’s different than the French kitchen in that French cuisine is more about manipulation, covering things up with butter and cream. The Italian kitchen is more about what’s in season, doing as little as you can to it and just letting it speak for itself. It’s so simple, rustic and beautiful.
FN Dish: What are three ingredients that you can’t live without?
Anne: Salt, olive oil and pancetta — that’s my holy trinity.
FN Dish: What’s your favorite kitchen tool for whipping up a delicious Italian meal?
Anne: One of my favorite pieces of kitchen equipment is the food mill. You can pass tomatoes through it or potatoes for either gnocchi or mashed potatoes; you can also puree soups in it. It’s an Old World tool; it’s not about turning anything on. There’s no bells, no whistles — it’s just you and your good old fashioned elbow grease.
Italy sound tempting? Join Anne on the upcoming trip from October 22 – November 2. While Anne’s never been on a cruise, she says, “I’m very excited — and my mom and my sister are coming with me, so we’re going to have a good time.” What can guests expect? “I’m a lot of fun. I like to drink wine and I like people around me to drink wine. We’ll laugh and experience Italy together.”
Tune in to all-new episodes of Secrets of a Restaurant Chef starting Saturday at 12 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Central.