The new season of “Daphne Dishes” starts on June 7 on the Food Network!
I was fortunate to be part of a group interview with the host of a new cooking show on the Food Network. Here’s what I learned about this funny and talented woman.
Daphne Brogdon has made her way into the TV chef world in a circuitous, but not completely unlikely way. She has been a radio show host and producer, TV host, has done improv and standup comedy. Then she met her husband, Chef Mark Peel. “First it was just ‘isn’t this fun having a chef boyfriend and a chef husband and it’ll be fun to meet my girlfriends at the bar and we’ll eat and drink. And then when I had kids, I was like ‘he wasn’t kidding when said he was never home.’” A mother of two children, she felt some isolation and wanted to connect with other people so she started a “vlog” (video blog) called www.CoolMom.com and Momversation.
Then one day, an executive from the Food Network left her a message saying they wanted her to call them. “I do a lot of work for my husband so I assumed they wanted to talk to about him, but they wanted to talk to her. “I was very surprised when they said ‘we’ve been noticing your videos and we think you would fit really well on our channel.’”
“Daphne Dishes” is filmed in Brogdon’s house. The network offered her a set but she wanted to do it in her home to be with her children, who make appearances on the show and are quite used to being on camera, like their mother. “I’m not a private person and I was in stand up for seven years. I’m very much like ‘this is me warts and all’ so I guess, for good or bad, my kids get dragged into it.”
Throughout her career, Brogdon has had to deal with negative, hurtful comments. “I don’t have a thick skin,” she says. “You’re still human and you want everyone to like you but I never want to offend. When you’re in a public forum and serving the community, you have to listen to them. So I try not to personalize it.” Brogdon recalls an example of someone on social media saying she shouldn’t have used a chicken marinade the way she did because of salmonella. “I took a second because my first reaction was ‘well what do you know’ but then I waited and said ‘I did boil it and if you boil it it’s okay but I really appreciate that you’re noticing it and that you watch and of course you’re absolutely right that maybe it wasn’t explained enough.’”
Brogdon comes up with her recipes the same way she comes up with a joke. “I get a riff, like I kept thinking what if I stuffed a bunch of onions inside that pork? What would that be like? And then I’ll start playing around with it.” She frequently consults with her husband who will give her tips.
“When we were first together, I was intimidated to cook for him,” says Brogdon who admits it could still be very intimidating having a cooking show with a husband who is a chef. “It could be, if I didn’t have the sweetest most wonderful husband. And he gets it,” she says. “He’s a very secure person and he loves that I am happy and involved.” Brogdon says there are some times when she has to tell her husband to back off of the advice. “I’ll say ‘no that’s not what I’m after’ or he’s going more complex and I start hearing Calliope music. I’ve got to make it much simpler. Or I say ‘you could add that ingredient but our kids won’t eat it.’”
Brogdon can relate to parents dealing with picky eaters and often modifies meals to account for the kids’ different tastes. “I do modify. I’m not crazy. I pick my battles,” she says. “Let’s say I’m mixing up the rice (for a Mexican dish), I set some aside for them and then add the red pepper flakes for me and my husband.” She advises introducing kids to new things, a few at a time. For instance, she has introduced her kids to different, high quality cheeses. As an experiment, she prepared a box of macaroni and cheese and they hated it. “So, yay, victory, they wanted a real sharp cheddar cheese taste!” Now that her kids have gotten older (ages 5 and 9), Brogdon has taken to saying “This is it, I’m not making anything else. The old ‘I’m not a short order cook’ thing.”
Of her new life cooking on TV, she says, “It’s another performing platform and it’s a crackup because the two dumbest industries to go into are show business and restaurants and I’ve gotten into both.”
“Daphne Dishes” can be seen on The Food Network http://www.foodnetwork.com/
Daphne shared one of her favorite recipes with the E.A.T. blog:
The Best Cauliflower Ever
Recipe courtesy of Daphne Brogdon
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large head or 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets
Salt and fresh ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped
2 tablespoons soft tofu
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, 1 minute. Add the roasted red pepper and saute for another few minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a blender or mini-chopper and blend. Add the tofu and some salt and pepper and puree until smooth.
Add the puree and the red pepper flakes to the cauliflower and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds and cook another minute. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish and serve.
Yield: 4 servings Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/daphne-dishes-it-out-0232102.embed.html