When chef Brooke Williamson signed on for MTV’s “House of Food,” it was to teach. As is so often the case with teachers, she wound up learning.
“I learned how to approach situations differently,” she tells Zap2it. “I come from a place of being a very understanding person in a kitchen. I started out in kitchens knowing nothing. But to understand where they were coming from and why they were there, I had to be harder on them than I normally would be on someone with no experience. They had to be broken down a little bit. They felt like they had won this opportunity, but I did not know yet if they deserved it.”
The Monday show combines elements of reality shows where all contestants live together with learning to cook from experienced chefs. Some participants had no idea it was such hard work; others didn’t take it seriously enough.
“I teach all the time in my kitchen, but I teach people who have experience,” Williamson says. “We have interns who we stick on the side and do prep work and knife work. These people were depending on us to be functional people in a restaurant and had absolutely no knowledge.”
Williamson learned by doing.
“I did not go to culinary school,” she says. “I trained in kitchens in L.A. with some great chefs. I attended a cooking school at 15, but I never did serious classic training.”
She and her husband, chef Nick Roberts, have three Los Angeles-area restaurants.
“Hudson House is a cocktail-driven gastro pub,” she says of the restaurant named after their son, Hudson. “The Tripel is a very, very small craft beer-focused [eatery] and another sort of informal but upscale bar meal. And Playa Provisions is four concepts.”
Called Playa because it’s across the street from the beach, it offers an ice cream shop, a seafood restaurant, a backroom whiskey bar and a sit-down restaurant.
Like anyone who loves a good meal, Williamson’s willing to travel. Just how far would she go?
“I would go across the world,” she says. “I have yet to go to Asia, which is embarrassing to me because Asian food is my favorite food to eat. I am dying to go to Japan and eat phenomenal sushi.”
What did you have for dinner last night?
“I had tomato soup out of the box. I went to Trader Joe’s. I was out of milk for my son. I had the organic tomato soup and the bag of Ruggedly Adventurous Cowboy Bark.”
What is always in your refrigerator?
“Peanut butter, sparkling water, almond milk, yogurt and carrots.”
What do you hate to cook?
“Artichokes. They are my favorite vegetable on the planet to eat, and I hate cooking them.”
What is the best thing you make?
“Braises and stews are my thing. I love making braised chicken and braised short ribs and beef cheeks.”