Artist snapshot: Amelia de Frost
April 8, 2016
Celebrity chef Amelia de Frost, dominates the fine culinary art of microwave cooking in her smash-hit YouTube series, You Should Try… And now, for the first time ever, YOU can see Amelia de Frost live in action as part of You Are Here 2016!
We caught up with Amelia to find out more about her life as a celebrity:
Hi Amelia, we can’t wait to see your show recorded live at YAH16! Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your culinary background.
Oh, you know that’s, exciting for me too, I can’t wait to see you there. You know, I’ve always loved cooking ever since I was a little girl, but things weren’t always that easy back when I was younger, you know. We didn’t have the same technology that we do today and when I discovered microwaves (and that was back in 1987 when I was trying to complete a Prochef Level One certification at the Culinary Institute of America which is in New York City – I moved there to study – )… even in 1987 they weren’t so popular amongst the ‘gourmet’ types and so, I didn’t make it through the course, but… ah, you know, that’s how I came to start cooking with a microwave.
What was the inspiration behind You Should Try…, how did the show start?
Well, you know it started out a little bit like the same way Jamie Oliver started out, you know? He started life just as a kitchen hand and they could see that he was really talented and he became a big star. And the same thing is true for me you know? Originally I was part of a documentary series about people’s hobbies and the producers saw that I ah… I had a lot of knowledge and so we were able to continue the show not just as an interview style documentary, but as a real cooking show. And that is how we got here today.
What can audiences expect from the live recording of You Should Try… at YAH16?
What can they expect…let me see. Ah… you know, my show is like nothing else. That’s a fact. People that come to watch me cook will be transformed forever. You know? Because people don’t understand how easy it is to make food using a microwave. And I don’t understand how people can still go about trying to cook using pots and pans and all of these things that make life so complicated when you can just do it so simply with a microwave. So, in short, they can expect to walk away feeling liberated from that. From those shackles. That is what we’re trying to do here, and we’re very proud to do it.
Has becoming a celebrity chef changed the way you see yourself and your cooking?
Has becoming a celebrity chef changed the way I see myself? …Well…Ok. You know one thing it has done for me is it has made me realise that I have a very important role to play for the benefit of the whole of society, really. I know that sounds a little bit over the top but, in all honesty, I have found my calling. And that is to help people, you know? Help people understand how they can improve their lives through cooking. And becoming a celebrity chef has not really changed the way I see my cooking. My cooking has always been of high quality and you know, its enjoyed by many, its enjoyed by my self, by Frank, by my producer Larry, and so that has not changed. But what has changed is that the reach of that has gone beyond what ever I could have imagined, and the importance of that is you know, really huge.
What was the best dish you have ever cooked?
I’d have to say my favourite, is a really simple nacho dish, which one of my Mexican friends has shared with me. And, it’s really simple. It’s just corn chips, cheese, an easy salsa that you make previous to the chips (you make that separately so it’s a little bit complicated): it’s a few steps. You can’t just do it in one. I have been meaning to do an episode on the nachos dish. It’s a very good one. And in fact, when I was younger, I used to make nachos every day after school, but they were very different you know, and they took a lot longer, you had to use the oven. So anyway, there’s some influences there from the old nachos I used to do, and ah… there’s a really great recipe actually if you’re interested in nachos. Weber Cooks does a really fantastic nachos dish. It’s a two step process – he makes it very easy, he makes it look very delicious. So maybe I’ll do an episode on that one day.
And what dish didn’t turn out so well?
All of my dishes turn out well… All of my dishes turn out well. There’s not… I’m not trying to brag, but I don’t really have an answer for that, sorry.
What are the three best things about microwave cooking?
The three best things, ok… Simplicity, speed and flavour. Those are the most important things about food and they’re the best things about microwave cooking too, so it’s got it all, you know?
Some people say that microwaves destroy the nutritional value of food. What would you say to those people?
To those people I would say, there is an excellent anti-vaccination movement that you should join. …Ha. No. Sorry. That’s a little bit antagonistic but, in all seriousness, get your facts straight, you know? Where are you getting your information? What kind of articles are you reading? Have you even tried microwave food before? Have you seen what comes out of a microwave? It’s pretty obvious that the food is good for you…and…I don’t know. I just think that that’s bogus. It’s not even worth discussing.
You seem to get a lot of fan mail, what do people write to you about?
I do get a lot of fan mail: that’s true. And it varies from… you know, person to person, but my favourite is… there are some very special children – and I, you know, I’m not usually a fan of children. I find them… you know… this is honest, I mean, I don’t want to tell everybody, but… truth is I don’t love children, I find them a little bit… annoying. But there is a group of children in Melbourne (and thank god they’re in Melbourne, they’re nice and far away) and their family are big fans of the show and they send me really nice fan mail: pictures of me and Frank that they have drawn… of us, you know, with the microwave. And they send me some fudge. Homemade fudge! That was nice. I ate that. I microwaved it in fact. It was even better, as you would expect. And ah… you know, that kind of thing. I get lots of fan mail.
Thanks so much for your time, Amelia! Finally, what advice would you give to budding young microwave chefs?
No problem. No problem at all. And in terms of advice that I would give… I would say… you know, here’s one of my favourite quotes (and I quote myself here): Follow… no, wait. Sorry…. Open… your heart… no. That’s not it either, sorry. … This is so silly. (laughing) Ok, here we go… Open your mind, your heart, and your mouth. That is the best advice I can give.