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FOOD Out chef Anne Burrell cooks it up
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

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Recently, Anne Burrell blew into town for a Cooper's Hawk event at the Skyline Lofts in Chicago. The out celebrity chef whipped up some major dishes demonstrating her skills while answering questions from the audience. How to expertly cut an onion and mentioning her favorite flower is cauliflower were all part of the instructional act that night.

Burrell brings a lot to the table, with numerous television appearances mainly on the Food Network where she hosts Secrets of a Restaurant Chef and Worst Cooks in America.

Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants founder/CEO Tim McEnery teamed with Burell to host the evening.

Windy City Times: Where did you two meet?

Anne Burrell: We go way back. We met yesterday!

Tim McEnery: Initially in Aspen our team met with Anne. I wasn't able to go. They didn't offend her so that was good and now she is here.

AB: It was at the Food & Wine Festival. They were so delightful. I immediately liked how they rolled.

WCT: So they called and asked you to come to Chicago?

AB: Yes. I love Chicago. It doesn't take much for me to come here in the first place. There's food and drinking with Cooper's Hawk so why not?

WCT: Well, this is a good combo with her food and your wine.

TM: We focus so much on the food and wine program that it means the world to us for Anne to come in and work with us at an event.

WCT: There are more events on the way?

TM: Yes. We have Tyler Florence and Fabio Viviani, but at this moment Anne is our favorite.

AB: Today, anyway!

WCT: Anne, talk about the twins on Worst Cooks in America.

AB: Skyler and Spencer Nick are from Chicago and Eagle Scouts. They gave me a cooking merit badge. I was very excited.

It was interesting to watch their dynamic because they are identical twins. They will change places and even confused their mom. One of them was sent home before the other one so we could see how one would function without the other.

WCT: Has one contestant on the celebrity version of Worst Cooks stood out for you?

AB: When I had to send Erik Estrada home. I was like, "Ponch, what are you doing?"

I get starstruck around them. Barbara Eden was on there and I kept calling her "Jeannie." The producers told me she would like it if I called her Barbara.

There has been a lot of amazing people.

WCT: Do you cook at home?

AB: I do. I go through phases where I cook more than other times. I'm a single girl that's a chef in New York. My fridge typically has condiments and vodka in it. When I open the refrigerator, a cat occasionally jumps in there.

WCT: What's your cat's name?

AB: I have two: Nancy and Marcia.

WCT: Marcia named after The Brady Bunch?

AB: Nancy's full name is Nutty Nancy Crazy Pants and Marcia's is "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia." So you are right.

We had Greg Brady on Worst Cooks and still lives that role every day. We did a "Time to Change" song and dance. We was wearing the peace sign ring and belt buckle. He's a nice guy.

WCT: I interviewed Barry Williams before and he's a character. What are your projects for the rest of the year?

TM: We are opening up five restaurants this year.

Hopefully if tonight goes well and Anne has fun, we will do this again.

AB: What could go wrong? Now I am jinxing myself!

WCT: Do you ever get nervous before an event?

AB: Every single time I do a demonstration I have one second of paralyzing fear. Then I get up and go. I will be on autopilot. Sometimes I can't believe what I just said.

WCT: I saw you do one at the Restaurant Show and the crowd loved you.

AB: That is the fun part. I really encourage audience participation and questions. Heckle me if you want, because I will heckle you right back. It is all in good fun!

Worst Cooks in America mixes up things on the Food Network every Sunday at 8 p.m. CT. To find a Cooper's Hawk near you, visit .

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