Staff Picks: Celebrity chefs we trust the most

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Courtesy Amazon/TNS

Ree Drummond is a celebrity chef best known for her show “The Pioneer Woman” on Food Network.

By The Pitt News Staff

Celebrity chefs dazzle viewers from their prop kitchens with smart fashion and charming personalities. But with all the focus on entertainment value, the inexperienced home cook can’t help but question the soundness of their advice.

If you’re looking for a new recipe and don’t know whose to try, we’ve got you covered. Our staff puts their full trust in these celebrity chefs for their wisdom, their experience and most importantly, their non-judgemental attitudes.

Mary Berry // Charlie Taylor, Culture Editor

In honor of the new season of “The Great British Baking Show” dropping this Friday, I want to recognize the original Queen of British Baking, Mary Berry. Although she no longer appears on the show, during her time as a judge, her charm and grace with the contestants provided a much-needed break from the usual cut-throat world of cooking competitions. She reminded audiences that baking should actually be about passion, patience and community — not anger, anxiety and sabotage.

For her gracious demeanor alone, I would trust Berry to guide me through each step of the pie-making process, as well as water my plants while I’m on vacation and act as godmother for my future children. But Berry is also a legend in the baking world, with over 60 years of experience and 70 cookbooks under her belt. I swear by her recipe for sticky toffee pudding, a British classic full of heavy cream and brown sugar that tastes like a warm embrace from a grandmother figure. Those looking for a lighter dessert — although nothing Berry makes is particularly healthy — should try her delicate Victoria sandwich cake recipe.

Ina Garten // Nadiya Greaser, Staff Writer

When Ina Garten says “store-bought is fine,” it is the benediction of a barefoot, benevolent kitchen saint, giving me the permission to be imperfect — to cut a corner or two in my small apartment kitchen, or to buy my wildflowers from Trader Joe’s. There is no judgment from Ina, although my life could not be farther from her enviable one, no matter how hard I try to emulate it. She went from working in the White House during the Ford and Carter administrations, to living in the Hamptons with an idyllic garden and orchard and a lovely sweet husband.

Even though she has the perfect life, Garten isn’t pretentious. She is the Barefoot Contessa after all, and she ministers from her kitchen with barefoot humility and helpfulness. Her catchphrase, “store-bought is fine,” has become a meme, but the advice is sincere — although Garten would never use store-bought parmesan.

In my house, we talk about Ina like a family member. I learned to bake from my grandmother, and when she came to America, she learned from Ina Garten. When I pull recipes from her cookbook, they often say ‘Ina’s’ in the top corner, an almost familial nod to the Barefoot Contessa. Her Gruyere Mac and Cheese is near perfect — if you leave off the bread crumbs — and her French apple tart is even closer. Her website and cookbooks have something for every skill level, and her steady guidance will never steer you wrong.

Tabitha Brown // Anna Ligorio, Staff Writer

For many, veganism can seem like a daunting, cutthroat society exclusively populated by rich white women who drink overpriced green juice and judge you for eating cheese. While people who fit this stereotype may exist, celebrity chef and TikTok star Tabitha Brown could not be more different. With 4.4 million followers and 67.1 million total likes, there’s a good chance that Brown has graced your TikTok “For You Page” countless times with her calm voice, colorful clothes, delicious and healthy recipes and overall good vibes.

Catapulting to stardom seemingly overnight, Brown and her family have become some of the most recognizable faces on the app. Through her short recipe videos, Brown educates her viewers about vegan recipes and cooking tips while simultaneously radiating positive energy. Brown promotes intuitive eating and making healthy, filling recipes. Whenever she adds a generous dash of garlic powder or favorite ingredient to a meal, she utters her signature catchphrase, “Cuz that’s my business”— because what she puts in her food is HER business. Dubbed “the Mom of TikTok” by her fans, Brown’s virtual kitchen is always open to anyone who wants to explore the world of vegan cooking.

Ree Drummond // Megan Williams, Contributing Editor

On her show “The Pioneer Woman” — after her successful blog of the same name — Ree Drummond cooks up recipes that have to feed both hungry kids and cowboys. She’s raising her family on a ranch in the small town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, so the nearest grocery stores and restaurants are all at least a half-hour away. Ree makes food from a pantry — meaning everyday ingredients that she doesn’t have to drive an hour for, but spruced up enough to look and taste delicious.

Her cooking is often interspersed with shots of her husband, Ladd, herding cattle or cleaning up fields with the help of their four children. Episodes often end with the entire family, every ranch-hand and their seven dogs rushing the kitchen and sitting down to eat. Ree’s food feeds a small army, and a small army that’s been working hard since four in the morning at that. Every recipe I’ve made — or, more honestly, my mom has made — from Ree’s pantheon of recipes left me feeling fat and happy. Who wouldn’t trust a woman with seven dogs, anyway?

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