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Chef Anne Burrell Talks Chefs Making Waves, Scotland Travels And Her Love Of Karaoke

Anne Burrell is an American chef, television personality, and karaoke connoisseur. You can’t miss Anne with her trademark spiky blond hair and electric personality. Anne has been on several culinary TV shows, hosting The Food Network’s Secrets of a Restaurant Chef, Chef Wanted, and co-hosting Worst Cooks in America. She starred in season 4 of Iron Chef America where she served as Mario Batali’s sous-chef. She has also written two New York Times best-selling cookbooks.

Anne was a contestant on season four of The Food Network competition show, The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs and in 2015, Burrell won the fourth season of the Chopped All-Stars Tournament winning $75,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

After college Anne went to Italy and attended the Italian Culinary Institute where she learned all the most important things about culinary work. Anne worked at a small restaurant in Italy before moving back to the US as a sous-chef at Felidia, owned by celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich. Later, she became the chef at Savoy where she found her true culinary style which features rustic dishes with simple yet powerful ingredients. After Savoy, she began teaching at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. 

Most recently, Anne was chosen to be a guest chef on the first ever Chefs Making Waves, a food, wine & spirits festival at sea. In between good bites to eat and delicious drinks, we had the pleasure of chatting with her about her love for karaoke, her recent travels with her husband, and the roots of her competitive spirit. 

Chef Anne Burrell Talks Chefs Making Waves and Scotland Travels
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What are your must pack travel items?

I have to say, as I get older, my must pack travel items are my toiletries, and it’s amazing how many of them I need. I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I need eye cream. I need this cream. I need that cream. My vitamins, my LED mask, hairspray.’ That means I always have to check a bag.

You got married a few years ago. Have you had any fun honeymoon or anniversary trips?

In October it will be three years. We did not do a honeymoon because our wedding was such a destination event. Upstate New York doesn’t really sound like a destination, but to have everybody come, it was like, this is your life in terms of people who joined us. It was surreal in my little town in upstate New York. So that was dreamy. We lived on that prayer. See what I did there? Karaoke reference.

Just this past New Years, my husband and I went to Scotland. It was the first trip that we had taken in so long that didn’t involve any sort of work. There were castles and Hogmanay. There was a giant ABBA sing-along, like 20,000 people. There was a torchlight parade where they gave you a giant candle and 20,000 people walked through the city of Edinburgh. It was so magical. Then we did a bus tour through the Highlands and a little boat trip on Loch Ness. I have to say, for New Years. It was such a blast.

Chef Anne Burrell Talks Chefs Making Waves and Scotland Travels
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Will you ever do Tournament of Champions?

I don’t really think that’s my jam. You know, it is amazing to see all of this young up and coming talent. I feel like it’s time for them to have the spotlight.

I love your competitiveness. I can relate to it at all times when you’re on TV. Where does your competitive spirit come from?

I don’t know where my competitive spirit comes from. Honestly, I never knew I had such a competitive spirit until I started doing Iron Chef. Then it was like, when we were winning all the time and we were the team to beat. In my mind it was like a slow-motion movie of us walking in, Mario, Mark and I, looking at the other team, like, ‘Oh, who are they? Doesn’t matter.’ 

It was so much fun. I think being there really ignited my competitive fire. It doesn’t matter on the Food Network what show you’re competing on. You want to do your best for you and your team. Even on Worst Cooks I take every loss personally and I’m not even cooking. They’re the worst cooks in America. I go home and it takes me like a good 24 hours to process. I go home and I’m mad. 

Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Worst Cooks is hilarious because you’re the only one standing. You seem like the most patient person there.

It’s so funny because people say that, and I would say in that arena, I am. I don’t know if my husband would 100% agree with that. I will say he’s very patient for being patient with me.

You’ve previously donated a lot of your winnings to juvenile diabetes charities. Why is that important to you?

I have a nephew that has type one diabetes, so it’s a family thing. I do whatever I can to help him personally, but there’s so many people that are afflicted with that. I feel like it’s the progression of medical science that has gone into making people’s lives with type one diabetes easier. It’s amazing, but we’re still not there yet.

Chef Anne Burrell Talks Chefs Making Waves and Scotland Travels
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

What dish would you travel for?

The dish that I would travel for is a dish I feel like I haven’t met yet. I feel like that’s the reason why I travel.

What’s your favorite karaoke song? I just learned about your karaoke obsession.

My love for karaoke! People are like, ‘Oh, what’s your song?’ And I’m like, ‘I have a whole set list.’ I’m a karaoke junkie and my husband and I have a setup in our house. Sometimes, like on a Tuesday, we’ll sing for like an hour. My warm up song is always “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver. 

@thetraveladdict.com

Chef Anne Burrell leads the Chefs Making Waves cruise in “Take Me Home Country Road” during the Sailaway with all the chefs onboard. @Sixthman @Norwegian Cruise Line #chefanneburrell #cruise #cruiselife #norwegiancruise #foodie #foodietiktok #karaoke #travel #travellife #worstcooksinamerica #thetraveladdict @Andrew Zimmern

♬ original sound – thetraveladdict

During Sail Away, they put me on the spot and I was like, ‘All right, I got it.’ I mean, it’s always a crowd pleaser.

We have the eight-track tape of John Denver’s Greatest Hits that my parents would play in the car when we were kids, so that comes from that. I love anything by Billy Joel, Elton John, “Runaway Train,” “Wagon Wheel.” A new favorite that my husband turned me on to was “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” by Elton John. “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper. Anything Beatles. I like Oasis, “Wonderwall.” My very favorite is “Don’t Look Back in Anger.” You know, Sally can wait, man.

Chef Anne Burrell Talks Chefs Making Waves and Scotland Travels
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

I love it. What’s in store for 2024?

I feel like life is kind of in a delightful, busy minute. I love being busy and I love the non-routine of my life. I’m just not someone that could go sit in an office. My husband does that, and I get that. They need that stability and I’m like an anti routine-er. I’m like, ‘All right, what next. There we go.’ I have lots of stuff coming up.

Have you been on a cruise before? What’s been the highlight of this cruise? 

I’ve been on a cruise before once. This one is very different. I will have to say, I feel like this cruise has been magical. To get the ten chefs in this group all together in one place for four days, it’s amazing that even happened in the first place. To be able to spend a few days with each other, the camaraderie of that is amazing. 

So that, and karaoke. I got to host bingo. That was fun too. To meet the fans, to sort of be in the fray, to hear their stories about why they are here is amazing. When you’ve been doing this for a minute, I don’t want to say we’re callous to things, but you’re not in the suit all the time. 

It’s nice when people understand why we do what we do and who it’s for and how it’s received. To hear people’s stories is so beautiful and it’s so nice and it’s so lovely and it makes me feel like what I do is special. It is important and it makes me know that it’s a responsibility.

I’m sure hope you’ll be back again.

I hope so! I mean, I drank the cruise Kool Aid. I think it tastes like Tito’s and soda.

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