Location: New York, NY
Age: Over 50
Marital Status: Married
Education: B.A. in the History of Ideas from University of Michigan, A.A.S. from the Culinary Institute of America
Celeb chef Sara Moulton’s lifelong mission has been “to help people get dinner on the table during the work week,” at whatever cost. Since turning fifty, her mission hit the sort of snag that many FOFs can sympathize with. After nine years as an on-air chef for the Food Network, Sara was let go. “They headed in a different direction, and I did not fit in their plan,” she explains. “They were looking for younger… whatever, I’m not even going there.” A few years later, Gourmet magazine, Sara’s other mega media platform, folded. “Since then, I’ve been doing freelance work and it’s been fun.” says Sara. “It’ll continue to be fun as long as I can pay the bills.”
No matter what, she refuses to sell out. “I had two new television concepts and both times the producer tried to turn it into a reality show,” says Sara. “It seemed so fake and so stupid. I thought, if this is what TV is, than I don’t want to do this. I’m hoping someone might say, ‘Wait a second, lets go back and actually have a real show where we teach people something.’”
Until then, Sara is exploring new ways to get her mission accomplished. She’s footing the bill for her very own iPhone app, launching in the next few months. “It’s really fun to be in charge,” she says.
What can we expect from your iPhone app?
Apps are sort of the Wild Wild West. This one focuses on what I’ve always focused on, getting dinner on the table during the work week. I’m designing it to generate grocery lists from my recipes. You’ll be able to take it to the supermarket and check off ingredients as you buy them.
When will it come out?
Hopefully mid-May. I’m working with a talented, young photographer, Jessica Leibowitz of MyCameraEatsFood. She and I are doing everything ourselves. Every single recipe has to have a photo. We have 9 photos left to shoot. Jessica was actually my daughter’s college roommate.
How many children do you have?
Two—a daughter and a son.
Where do you live?
An apartment in Chelsea in New York City.
Do you ever get away from the city?
My family has a farm house up in Massachusetts, a mile from New Hampshire. We’ve gone every summer since I was a kid.
What else are you working on?
I’m still working as a food editor at Good Morning America. I’m also working on some freelance projects. I just got off a Celebrity cruise to the Caribbean. I did a bunch of demos and cooking classes. I’ve also been working with Chantal Cookware. They sponsored my book tour last year and this year we are continuing our relationship.
What about your new cookbook?
Yes, I wrote Everyday Family Dinners. It’s up for an IACP award. [Read more about Sara’s new cookbook.]
Will iPhone apps replace cookbooks?
People are downloading recipes, not buying cookbooks. People expect you to give recipes to them for free. It’s like, excuse me, how am I supposed to pay the bills? Having said that, it certainly hasn’t stopped me from writing them. But, I think this [iPhone app] might be the wave of the future.
Do you have any hobbies or passion projects?
Cooking it’s not only my career, it’s my hobby. When people ask, ‘What do you do in your downtime?’ Well, I cook. I do some other things. Since gourmet tanked, I’ve taken up knitting.
What do you think has been your biggest success?
Aside from my kids, which is always my biggest accomplishment, I’d say the show I did on the Food Network, “Cooking Live.” It was a call-in show that aired from 1996-2001. I did 1200 hour-long, live shows. I was doing what I do best–teach. My goal is to help people get dinner on the table during the work week and I think that I did help a lot of people do that through that show.
Do you ever want to go back to television?
I’d love to go back on television. I’m raising funds for round two of my public television show called “Sara’s Weeknight Meals.”
Do you have a favorite chef or culinary idol?
I worked with Julia Child so obviously I love her stuff.
Do you have a favorite cookbook?
Vegetarian Epicure I and II. If you make one recipe from a book that’s pretty great. If you make 2 or 3, that’s amazing. I would say I made 10 or 12 or 15 or 20 from her book.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
I haven’t been eating out as much since I’ve been ‘unemployed.’ So I haven’t gone to any new hip or happening ones recently. But, if someone else is paying I always love Le Bernardin, Nobu or Mailalino.