One of the highlights of a cheerful holiday season is getting together with friends and family to enjoy an exceptional meal. After all, nothing brings us together quite like great food and drinks. Because we know planning and preparing excellent dishes can be a daunting task, we invited Top Chef Judge Tom Colicchio to sit down with us for a quick chat where he shares his take on holiday meal planning, technology and wholesome food.
Q: If you could share one piece of advice for people trying to plan meals for crazy holiday family gatherings, what would it be?
A:Prepare. It’s really important to get all of your prep work done ahead of time. We call this the “mise en place” –and by getting everything in place, doing all of your knife work and portions that can be completed early done in advance, you really save yourself time and have a much smoother cooking experience. For example, you can prep all of your vegetables ahead of time, your purees can be completed days in advance, your cranberry sauce can be made five days in advance—there’s no reason to stress yourself out by tackling every step of a recipe at once!
People also shouldn’t be afraid to use their microwave. There’s nothing wrong with heating up a puree in the microwave, it’s not doing anything to it, it’s just heating it. Heating a puree is actually better in the microwave than on the stove.
Q: What is it about the Bing Food & Drink app that you like and how do you think it will help people in the kitchen?
A:It’s all about using technology to find inspiration and do the things you want to do easier. The Bing Food & Drink app gives people a way to search through hundreds of recipes—even by ingredient to create seasonally inspired menus—make reservations and shopping lists at the click of a button and even navigate through a recipe hands-free so your screen stays clean when your hands are messy.
Q: What tips do you have for people who want to try new flavors and expand their repertoire?
A:I always say that if it grows together it goes together. Look at the farmer’s market and see what’s in season. Pick out your ingredients—it’s ok if you don’t have a recipe in mind—then use the Bing Food & Drink app to search by ingredient or ingredients and find inspiration.
Q: You’ve talked a lot about the importance of introducing kids to real, wholesome food. What do you love to cook for your kids? What are tips to parents to encourage their kids to eat wholesome food?
A:The best way to get kids to eat wholesome meals and eat a variety of foods is to really involve them in the process. I take my kids to the farmer’s market with me and they help me pick out produce. We also went apple picking earlier this season and then when we came home we made apple cider and apple pie. When kids see the farm where their vegetables are grown, the market where they can pick them out and then see the finished meal in front of them its way more exciting for them. With the Bing Food & Drink app you can involve your kids in the cooking process by having them help you pick a recipe based on an ingredient they helped purchase or picked straight from the farm.
Q: What attracted you to Bing?
A:I think most people use about 10% of the power of the devices they carry with them every day. By maximizing the technology you already have you can find the information you want, like recipes or cooking demos, much easier. Bing brings together the information people want—like recipes— on the device they want, when they want it.
– The Bing Team