After participating in Häagen-Dazs’ 50 Summer Moments Program, we had the unique opportunity to speak with Chef Alex Guarnaschelli about her partnership with Häagen-Dazs, her favorite #HDMoment from the summer and culinary trends for the fall.
FP: We love the concept of the e-book “Ode to Summer.” Can you share with us your involvement with the book? What did you enjoy most about the project?
AG: Partnering with a brand like Häagen-Dazs was not a struggle for me considering I grew up eating their ice cream.
“Ode to Summer” is available for free download. You download the book for free, and for every download, Häagen-Dazs donates $5 to honeybee research.
I think it’s a really neat concept because bees are responsible for pollinating a third of our natural food supply in the entire world and that’s quite a responsibility for a little critter to have. This concept generated a lot of excitement for me about the project.
Fans across the country submitted tweets. I submitted tweets of my own about my favorite summer moments and I wrote the forward to the book. The 50 favorite pictures were selected to comprise the book. It’s kind of neat. On a grim day in November, if you want to relive summer, it’s not a bad way to go.
FP: Speaking of memorable moments from the summer, did you have any favorites from the summer?
AG: Yes for my father’s birthday, I made a cake and my parents came over and bought over Häagen-Dazs ice cream. It was such a scoop of childhood reminiscence for me to have birthday cake with a scoop of Häagen-Dazs ice cream with my daughter and my parents. Three generations all together.
FP: That’s definitely a HD Moment for sure!
AG: Yes it is. It’s funny how easy it is to have those HD Moments.
FP: Now that fall is in full bloom, what do you see as the fall culinary trend this season?
AG: I just read yesterday that pumpkin is the new bacon because it is so versatile and you can use it in so many different ways. I love all the different squashes and pumpkins that we get in this part of the United States this time of year.
FP: Besides pumpkin, do you have any favorite meals or soups you prepare for the fall season.
AG: I am a big French Onion soup person. I like comfort food. I like vegetables soups that are very light. Just because it’s winter, it doesn’t mean food always has to be heavy. I love vegetable minestrone. I like using more unusual vegetables-roti bagel, celery roots, the root vegetables. Also, f the soup is not too heavy, then of course you have room for a scoop of ice cream. I always like that.
FP: We like the ideal of that also!
Häagen-Dazs is one of our foodie pleasures no matter the season. What are some of your foodie pleasures?
AG: I don’t really have any. I love to cook and love to eat. It changes all the time.
FP: Like the “Ode to Summer” book, we agree that many moments revolve around food. Do you have any advice for novice chefs looking to create memorable moments of their own?
AG: I am a big fan of cookbooks. I think interestingly enough a great way to begin is to have a little cookbook collection and read a lot about cooking. Read about the different ways people use recipes in their cooking. That can give you a jumping off point for your own experiences.
FP: You know we had to ask…are you looking forward to Iron Chef Redemption?
AG: NO…Of course I am. It premieres November 4 at 9pm on Food Network. Are you asking me if I am looking forward to watching myself be completely stressed out and try to become the next Iron Chef? There is a mixture of feeling sick to my stomach, terrified, and excited. Does that make sense?
FP: Yes it definitely makes sense. We’re always curious about people seeing themselves on TV.
AG: I am not good at watching myself on TV at all. I will probably watch with one eye open. I will be having many HD moments watching Iron Chef.
FP: We want to wish you the best of luck on Iron Chef Redemption as we will be watching for sure.
AG: Thank you. I really appreciate the support!
Here are the links to download your free copy of “Ode to Summer.”