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Gwen Chats with George Duran

October 4, 2008
George Duran and Gwen Reyes
Le Sigh
Originally uploaded by freshfiction

During the 2008 Book Expo America in Los Angeles, I had the chance to not only
meet, but also assist and interview one of my favorite chefs and Food Network
Stars, George Duran!

I have followed George’s career ever since his show HAM ON THE STREETS
premiered in 2005. When I found out that he was going to be at BEA
demonstrating a recipe from his new book, I set myself on course to meet the man
that I admired so much.

After winning the “perfect PB&J” building contest, I had was gifted the
opportunity to taste his Peanut Butter and Jelly Bread Pudding as my prize. Let
me tell you, it was soooo good, even though it sounds kinda iffy. I have since
made it, and every time it has come out better and better. I recommend
strawberry jam and smooth peanut butter, btw.

Afterwards, George sat down with me for this quick interview. Check it out!

Gwen: After college, you worked in radio and television before you decided to
explore cooking professionally. What made you decide to pick up your life and
move to France for culinary school?

George: I was a bit confused as to where I wanted to learn French cuisine. I could have
easily attended a great culinary school on the East Coast…but I wanted to learn
more than the cuisine. I wanted to immerse myself in the language, culture, and
customs that are a part of French Cuisine.

Gwen: Many Food Network fans know you from the fantastic show Ham on the Street.
How did you come up with the idea to do the show?

George: Fantastic? Did my mom tell you to say that? I had originally come up with the
idea for the show in France while playing around with the Parisians by feeding
them chocolate truffles on the streets. I was getting great feedback until I let
them know that they were made with goat cheese! Their reaction was priceless and
I knew I was on to something special.

Gwen: Tell us a little about your new cook book Take This Dish and Twist It.

George: I am so excited about this book! Essentially it’s my humor and creative mind put
into pictures and words! It’s comfort food with a gourmet twist.
I’ve always wanted to serve peanut butter and jelly for dessert, but it just
wasn’t gourmet enough. So I went ahead and perfected a PB&J Bread Pudding that
will rock the dinner table! The pictures are vibrant, the recipes are curiously
exciting, and the entire book is under $20! You can’t even order decent takeout
for under $20 in NYC!

Gwen: What/who are some of your influences (cooking, entertaining, etc.)?

George: I’ve always been moved by the greatest talk show hosts of my time, Letterman and
O’Brien (yes, I’m young). But Alton Brown is a secret culinary hero of mine.

Gwen: What are some of your favorite recipes in the book?

George: Tough question. I always get great reviews for my Forgotten Chocolate Souffle.
Essentially it’s a Souffle’ recipe that I was making and had forgotten how long
to cook it for. I ended up under cooking it resulting in brownie style edges,
but the center was gooey and raw! Serve with strawberries and you’ve got
yourself possibly the best dessert of your life! As for something savory the BLT
hotdog! If you love the BLT then you will go nuts for the BLT Hotdog!

Gwen: What’s next for you? More Secret Life of…?

George: I am in the works for some new shows. Pitching. Writing. Directing. All that
stuff but most of it is top secret! I promise there will be plenty of noise when
it comes out!

twist itGwen: Just another chance to plug the book. Why should we run out on
October 7th to buy Take This Dish and Twist It?

George: Because it’s the only cookbook where you can play a game of What did I fry?
Check out the fried items on a stick then turn the page to see the answers!

If you’re interested, check out George’s web site,

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