The Home Cook


Celebrity chef, author and restaurateur Alex Guarnaschelli shares what she loves about Long Island

Alex Guarnaschelli (Photo by Squire Fox)

Alex Guarnaschelli is passionate about many things, from food to travel to charities. But if you get her talking about the history of American cuisine, she will proudly take her place in line and educate you on all things food and how simple ingredients are sometimes the most wonderful items in a cook’s kitchen.

After moving to France for several years to study at La Varenne Culinary School in Burgundy, Guarnaschelli began making a name for herself on the culinary scene. She returned to New York and in 2003, the venerable chef became the executive chef at Butter Midtown, a stylized dining destination that specializes in elite American fare, located at 415 Lafayette Street in Manhattan.

The Food Network star recently wrapped up her cookbook, The Home Cook: Recipes to Know By Heart. It seems cooking along with writing is in her blood, as the chef’s mother edited the seminal 1997 edition of The Joy of Cooking, which defined the food of the late 20th century. On her website, Guarnaschelli states, “I honestly feel as if I learned to eat according to whatever cookbook my mother was working on at the time.”

In The Home Cook, Guarnaschelli pens a cookbook for the everyday eater, with 300 recipes including Roasted Beef Brisket with Pastrami Rub, Fennel and Orange Salad with Walnut Pesto and Dark Chocolate Rum Pie.

A sucker for a good farm stand—she once said that her heart palpitates when she goes to one—Guarnaschelli loves fresh produce, and would love to cook her way through Long Island, vegetable-wise.

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Q: What do you love most about Long Island?

A: As a native New Yorker, I love the ingredients grown on Long Island. The apples, grapes, corn and potatoes…they inspire me for many recipe ideas.

Q: What do you enjoy most about Great Neck and the North Shore area?

A: I have many friends in Great Neck. It is such a beautiful and historic area of New York and the North Shore has incredible produce and great micro-breweries.

Q: Can you share your three favorite restaurants of all time?

A: Among my favorite restaurants are Hearth and Bistro Pierre Lapin in New York City. I also love Bostwick’s Chowder House in Amagansett and Duryea Lobster in Montauk.

Q: It is finally autumn! What do you love most about this season?

A: Squash and apples alone could sum up what I look forward to. There are so many varieties and every one has their own unique flavor. The changing of the leaves as the weather gets cold is stunning as well.

Q: Do you have a must-cook recipe this time of year?

A: I have to go with the roasted chicken wrapped in bacon. It goes beautifully with so many great Long Island fall ingredients, like slow-cooked apples or roasted grapes.

Q: What’s new at Butter?

A: We have a lunch prix fixe menu for fall. I always enjoy the transition from corn and tomatoes to squash and pears.

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