Chef gets TV show
By Willie Kiernan
Growing up in Cazenovia, Anne Burrell has had a connection to food from a young age, helping in the garden, picking lettuces for dinner and watching her mom use the fresh ingredients to make the family's meals.
"Before anyone knew about herbs, she was raised in an herb garden," said Marlene Burrell, Anne's mother and proprietor of Flowers on Main Street in Cazenovia. "I used to give her a quarter if she picked a cup of buttercups."
With her trademark spiky blond hair, Chef Anne Burrell has always been recognizable to people who follow the restaurant business. She has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York and has been Mario Batali's right hand in all of his Food Network Iron Chef America battles. With the opening of Centro Vinoteca in Manhattan, she has seemingly hit the top. And maybe she has when she airs six episodes of her new cooking show.
"She was watching Julia Childs on TV when she was three years old," mom said. "She cooked from the time she was able to reach the stove."
With the hustling New York restaurant scene and the upcoming TV programming, Marlene has a tough time keeping up with her small town girl turned jet setter.
"We usually talk once a week," said Marlene. "Sometimes I forget to call her back.
Graduating with a degree in communications, Anne decided her future lied in the restaurant business and enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, at the same time working to gain as much experience as possible. Following graduation, she spent a year in Italy attending the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners in Piedmont. She also worked at La Taverna del Lupo in Umbria and La Bottega del' 30, a one-Michelin star restaurant in Tuscany. During this year, she came to understand the Italian philosophy of food and her experiences set her on the path that she remains on today.
"The oldest of three children, she was always the best helper when it came to parties," mom said.
And about her new restaurant Centro Vinoteca and the piccolini menu?
"Friday night when you're out with your friends, invariably you can't get a table until 9:30 anyway, so you want a few nibbles," said Anne Burrell. "So that's the piccolini, and basically, I wrote a menu with food on it that I'd be excited to eat."