Chef Sara Moulton’s passion for well prepared, good food has undeniably remained constant throughout her extremely successful career. An honors graduate from the Culinary Institute of America, Ms. Moulton’s career began in various restaurant kitchens in Boston and New York. In 1979, she left the United States for the opportunity to train with a master chef in Chartres, France. When she returned to American restaurants in the early 1980s, she worked as sous chef for New York’s La Tulipe. It was during this time, Ms. Moulton co-founded the New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, to aid and promote opportunity for women entering the culinary profession.
Her desire to start a family resulted in her departure from restaurant work in 1983. This is when her first entrance into culinary instruction began, with her brief employment at Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now known as the Institute for Culinary Education). Then, Ms. Moulton began working in the test kitchen for Gourmetmagazine. Four years later, she was promoted to executive chef for the magazine’s dining room, a position she continues to retain.
Ms. Moulton’s television experience started in 1979, when she began working off-camera on the PBS series, Julia Child and More Company. It was Ms. Moulton’s friendship with Julia Child that eventually resulted in her obtaining the position of executive chef for ABC’s Good Morning America. By 1997, this off-camera position had evolved into her becoming the on-camera food correspondent for the show. Subsequently, Ms. Moulton joined the Food Network to host her own cooking show, Cooking Live, which aired for six years, before concluding production on March 31, 2002. The very next day, Ms. Moulton began hosting, Sara’s Secrets. Although last year was her final year at the Food Network, Ms. Moulton’s presence remains strong, with episodes from Sara’s Secrets remaining in the current weekly viewing schedule, and over 1300 recipes credited to her on the Food Network website. Despite her departure from the Food Network, her television career will continue with a new cooking show, (currently in pre-production) that will premier next April on PBS.
To further encourage healthy cooking and eating at home, Ms. Moulton has authored two successful cookbooks Sara Moulton Cooks at Home and Sara’s Secrets for Weeknight Meals. Also, she is actively involved in her official website, saramoulton.com, which includes an online recipe database, a section for culinary questions and answers, and her weekly choice of helpful kitchen products with cooking resources and information. (These feature sections are archived for reference purposes.) Website extras include an online photo album, an online calendar of events, weekly polls, and biographical information for Ms. Moulton. Finally, the site also includes Ms. Moulton’s personal blog.
Chef Sara Moulton’s determination for encouraging everyone to enjoy healthy and delicious home cooked meals is sincere. Currently, in addition to her position as executive chef for Gourmet magazine’s dining room (which includes providing cooking demonstration and instruction, judging various cooking competitions, and recipe testing/development) and her work on her upcoming PBS series, Ms. Moulton tours regularly, making personal appearances in continual support of accessible public cooking education.
Recently, we asked Ms. Moulton 5 questions:
1. How difficult is it to work as the executive chef for Gourmet magazine, while making public appearances, doing television projects, writing cookbooks, maintaining the website (and its blog), and everything else associated with being a celebrity chef?
Being the executive chef at Gourmet is not hard. I have been doing it for so long (since 1987) and have set up some good systems. Also, I have a great sous chef and a great prep cook/dishwasher. The core of my job is to cook lunch for clients, aka advertisers. I also test and develop recipes for clients, consult, give cooking classes and demos and judge cooking competitions. The job has expanded since I have been here which is what makes it so fun. But I still basically work 9 to 5, believe it or not.
2. Any newer-than-new upcoming projects you would like to share?
Last year was my last year on the Food Network after almost 10 years (although I am still on 6 days a week). Now I am working on a PBS show with a producer friend from the Food Network which unfortunately won’t air until next April. I am very excited about it though because we will have much more creative control than I did at the Food Network. We will probably put out a new cookbook with it. I have been doing a lot of appearances this year mostly as part of “Simon’s Super Chefs Live” mall tour. You can go to my web site (saramoulton.com) to find out where I will be (and also check the Simon’s website for a calendar).
3. What was your most memorable moment spent with Julia Child?
Geez, there were so many. She was truly a great great lady (and one of the funniest people I ever met). I guess it was being at the White House with her. She won a Sara Lee frontrunner award in 1999 and was asked to go to the White House to accept her award. She was also asked to bring a protÃ?Â©gÃ?Â©. She picked me!! I was so honored.
4. What is your least favorite food?
5. Any one-word advice or suggestion for aspiring chefs?
Work hard and have the right attitude and you will get ahead. It is more about attitude than anything else.