Q&A with Chef Eric LeVine: Chopped Champion & Cookbook Author

You may recognize CHEF ERIC LEVINE from his appearance on Food Network's competitive series Chopped. Though his awesome performance (and win!) on the show may have gotten him the attention his dishes are so clearly worthy of, there's a lot of other reasons we're such fans of his.


For one thing, Eric is fearless - both in his work and personal life, and for another, the energy and passion he possesses is simply contagious, which made it such a pleasure to speak with Eric and get to know him a bit.

 

 

Celebrations: Your book,  Stick it, Spoon it, Put it in a Glass , is incredible - both visually and conceptually. We love making mini bites with really great ingredients, but are just crazy over your creativity with the 3 ingredient combination. Are there any tips you have for our readers on how they can use this approach in their own kitchen at home to make the most of their grocery list?

Eric: The best advice is to have a plan and a strong list of what you want, keep it simple and do what you know. Too often home cooks try get overly creative and then are unable to execute their plan. I like to keep things simple and build bold fun flavors.

 

Celebrations: You recently appeared for a second time on Food Network's competitive series, Chopped. What we want to know is, how did you celebrate your victories each time you appeared?

Eric: I hugged my kids, counted my blessings and thanked the good Lord for the ability to do what I love.

 

Celebrations: Last May you were an honored participant at the American Cancer Society's Taste of Hope. Can you tell us a bit about the experience and how our readers can get involved in this charity to help raise funds to fight cancer?

Eric: It was an amazing experience to be honored at such an event for my contributions to the industry and my fight against cancer; it was overwhelming. So many people go through cancer, but having support such as Hope Lodge and the American Cancer Society with people like Erica Blum and Pamela Mohr Weinstein in executive positions, it only makes me want to pay it forward every chance I get.

Anyone can get involved by donating their time to Hope Lodge and of course, Taste of Hope which happens May 3rd. My restaurant, Morris Tap and Grill, as well as my Gelato company, Sotto Zero, will be there for a fun night full of amazing food, wines and entertainment. 

 

Celebrations: What's your biggest cooking disaster?

Eric: It's never the big ones but the little ones that are the major disasters.  I was invited to host a dinner at the James Beard House in Dec 2008, and I shipped all of my product from my pace in Atlanta. Well, upon arrival all of the desserts were crushed and product smashed. My great friend Cade Nagy from Catering By Design helped me run around the city to find replacement product!

 

Celebrations: Last question: what's your all time favorite holiday recipe?

Eric: My favorite holiday recipe? Well, there are so many great ones but my grandmother's Honey Bread was my favorite growing up. And my mother in-law's Brigole always makes me happy.

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