Stuart O'Keeffe wears many hatschef, television personality and author, among other thingsbut everything revolves around his passion: food.
Among other things, he has appeared on Hollywood Today Live and the Food Network's Private Chefs of Beverly Hills, been a brand spokesman for Tupperware and is featured on OWN's Home Made Simple. The telegenic chef also has The Quick Six Fix Cookbook, which offers 100 recipes that involve six ingredients, six minutes of prep and six minutes of post-meal cleaning.
Windy City Times: Some people shun this label, but would you consider yourself a "celebrity chef?"
Stuart O'Keeffe: Yes, I would. That's what I do. I cook for a lot of celebrities in Hollywood and LA when I'm not on television.
WCT: When would you say you got your big break?
SOK: I think it was when I got the sponsorship with Tupperware in 2008; I did that for two years. While I did that, I got on "Private Chefs," and it just kind of spiraled from there.
WCT: It seems that your mother was your biggest influence, career-wise.
SOK: She was. Growing up, she'd always make me prepare the vegetablespeel potatoes, chop Brussels sprouts. I'd do a lot of prep before she'd come from working in the store all day and finish the meal.
WCT: I'm sorry you had to deal with Brussels sprouts.
SOK: [Laughs] Well, I learned to make them taste good.
WCT: I didn't like them until a few years ago, when they served with bacon.
SOK: Yeah, that's the secret. I like bacon and balsamic glaze; they're really tasty. If you fry them in a deep fryer, they're even better.
WCT: You stay pretty fit. I imagine you don't eat too much of the bad stuff.
SOK: Oh, I dobelieve me.
SOK: I swear to God that I do. I'm very lucky with my weight. I don't eat that way all the time, although I had fried chicken last night. I felt like I wanted to be bad last night, so I did. I work out five days a weekI have to. I like the feeling that working out gives me.
WCT: Let's talk about Quick Six Fix, which is quite a catchy title.
SOK: Thank you. It's been out for about a year, and it's still going strong, and that's awesome. It's about simple cookingand I just wanted to bring people back to the basics again. They are six key ingredients [per recipe], six minutes of prep and six minutes of clean-up. Clean-up and prep are probably the most annoying things when it comes to cooking,
WCT: I'd agree with that. Do you have particular favorites in the book?
SOK: I do. For breakfast, I really like the avocado toast recipe; I have that every morning before I work outand it's really simple: avocado, wheat toast, lemon juice, chili flakes and egg whites on top of it. That's my go-to healthy breakfast in the morning.
My favorite pasta dish is the pasta with shrimp. It's so easy and so tasty. I also love my barbecue rib recipe. The great thing about that recipe is that you can do it in the pressure cooker and cut your time in half.
I started experimenting with pressure cookers recently, and they really impress me. Coming from Ireland, we did have pressure cookers at homebut I'd be terrified of them, thinking they'd explode in your face. I never trusted them. Now, they're foolproof and super-safe.
WCT: And the fact that the cooking time is so short is very important in this day and age, when everyone seems to be busy.
SOK: Yes. One thing I'd recommend is maybe shop for your ingredients the day before; then, they'll be there when you come home from work the next day. I feel like that's so important.
WCT: Out of curiosity, have you been to Chicago?
SOK: Oh, yeah. I did Taste of Chicago about seven years ago. I've actually been there several times; I like that city.
WCT: What do you like?
SOK: The food, of courseI love the pizza and the people. I don't like the weather, but in the summertime it's nice.
See ChefStuart.com .