Imagine full-on fitness pro and glowy TV personality Brooke Burke in the kitchen and you likely picture her blending veggies into a green smoothie—not whipping up a big bowl of buttery risotto.
But comfort food plays a major role in the Malibu mom’s culinary repertoire. It’s so important to her, in fact, that she developed a new online TV series around it. Part talk show, part cooking demo, Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke takes the host into celebrities’ kitchens, where they prepare—and dish about—meals with personal meaning.
As Burke sees it, nourishment is about more than just vitamins and antioxidants; she believes the emotional and spiritual sustenance we get from sharing traditional recipes with loved ones is just as important (even if a few ingredients would make a nutritionist cringe).
“I grew up with a 5:00 p.m. family dinner—it was something that I could count on in a very chaotic family with a working mom,” says Burke. And this kind of ritual is especially important in such a go-go era, she says. “It’s when we hit the pause button—when we get to catch up and talk about our day and have no distractions. I’m able to transfer love through the process of preparing and serving a meal to my family.” (You can’t say that about your take-out kale salad.)
Read more about what Burke learned while filming the show, as well as the comfort food recipe that’s a favorite with her clan, below. —Erin Magner
What was the best piece of advice you got from the show? I loved what Carnie Wilson said: “Never be afraid to screw it up and throw it away.” I think that you have to find freedom and confidence in the kitchen—[cooking is] really about the process and the joy of sharing with people that you care about. I threw away about 20 batches of French crepes before I perfected my Saturday morning family breakfast favorite!
Which food is particularly soothing for you? Matzo ball soup. I have carried on my family recipe, tweaked it, and perfected it. That soup is sort of a cup of life… whatever it is you like, it seems to be in this one pot that’s filled with love. For me, that’s comfort food. It smells like home.
How have your eating habits changed since filming the show? I’ve simplified my process at home and really learned that all of the ingredients in many of these different kitchens around the country are the same. It’s just how you put it together: olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, herbs. All different walks of life and all different countries have common ingredients, and it really is about how you mix it up!
For more information, check out Breaking Bread with Brooke Burke