For one night only, the Chopped Kitchen will turn into a celebrity playground as four television stars take their places at the stove and cook against the clock in three rounds of Chopped competition. Teri Hatcher, Anthony Anderson, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Dawn Wells will face off in the first-ever Celebrity Holiday Bash on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 10pm/9c, and in the spirit of the season, they’ll find holiday-themed ingredients in each of their baskets. While these all-stars may be after personal culinary vindication and lasting bragging rights in the kitchen, they’re also competing for charity, and the winner will ultimately be able to donate $10,000 to the organization of his or her choice.
To prepare for this all-star extravaganza, FN Dish is introducing you to each of the celebrities. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Anthony Anderson, the Los Angeles native who’s a longtime star of Law and Order in the role of Detective Kevin Bernard and who also plays Gary on Guys with Kids. Read on below to hear from Anthony, learn about his favorite dish to cook, and find out his go-to cookbook, late-night snack and more. Then check back tomorrow for another one-on-one interview.
Who do you like to cook for?
Anthony Anderson: Friends and family. I’m always trying to have something at my house, always trying to find a reason just to get people over to the house and sit down and eat and cook and keep them there.
What’s your favorite dish to cook?
AA: I just love being in the kitchen, so there’s no particular food that comes to mind …. Whatever somebody wants, I’ll figure out how to do it. If it has a recipe, it’s simple. Follow what’s on the page, and … I doctor it up.
Do you have a particular food style that you enjoy eating/cooking?
AA: No, I don’t. I just love being in the kitchen, so there’s no particular food that comes to mind. Whatever somebody wants, I’ll figure out how to do it. If it has a recipe, it’s simple.
Tell us about the behind-the-scenes food situation on the set of Guys with Kids.
AA: The babies eat great …. Tape night we have a chef come in, which is actually delicious … but Joe comes in and he prepares a meal for … the network executives. I mean he’s there for us, as well, but we never really knew he was there preparing, you know, a private night three-course meal for whoever comes up into the executive green room, and until I saw someone walking out one day. And I was like, where did you get that? Because that wasn’t for dinner tonight. And they’re like, Oh, Joe’s upstairs cooking tonight. And so that’s how I got hip to it and so I never eat … our crew meal on tape night anymore because I’m like, nah, Joe’s going to be here in an hour and a half, and I’m just going to wait for what Joe has to cook, because Joe is literally up there throwing down.
What was your most-memorable meal? What, where, who? Details, please!
AA: My most-memorable meal was … one episode of Iron Chef America I was judging, and Chef Mike Symon made — the secret ingredient was balsamic vinegar — and Chef Symon made fresh pasta that he folded 50-year-old aged balsamic vinegar in, and then boiled in water and balsamic vinegar and then sauteed some chicken livers, onions and garlic in a balsamic vinegar reduction sauce and added the pasta to that. And talk about something to die for … that was my most-memorable meal to date.
What’s your guilty pleasure food?
AA: Bread pudding
What’s your favorite cookbook?
AA: Twenty by Michael Ruhlman. And it gives you 20 different techniques around the kitchen to cook anything. And he also has another book called Ratio … if I want to make a loaf of bread for 20 people or two people, it’s all about the ratio of what you use to make it for two people or 20 people. So those are the two that are in my kitchen. They’re not necessarily cookbooks; they’re cooking technique books.
What kitchen tool can’t you live without?
AA: My garlic mincer … I love garlic. It’s tedious to really chop it finely, and I don’t necessarily care for chunks of garlic in my food. Where when I use my garlic mincer, I mince it, throw it in the saute pan or in the sauce or whatever, and you get the flavor and all that without the garlic bits.
What’s your favorite “food city” to visit?
AA: New York. I always find a great place to eat here.
What’s your favorite late-night snack?
AA: Three come to mind: vanilla bean ice cream, salt and pepper kettle chips, or microwaveable popcorn.
What’s one must-have at your last supper?
AA: Red wine
Rapid fire: Think fast!
Ketchup or mustard? Ketchup
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla
Coffee or tea? Tea
Burger or hot dog? Burger
Cream cheese or butter? Butter
Soda or water? Soda, but don’t tell anybody I said that.
Sprinkles or jimmies? Jimmies