With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell eliminates the intimidation of restaurant dishes and reveals concise, easy-to-master techniques for the at-home cook on her Food Network series, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. Chef Burrell has also worked at some of the top restaurants in New York, studied the culinary landscape and traditions of Italy, and battled alongside Mario Batali on Food Network’s Iron Chef America.
Growing up in upstate New York, Chef Burrell developed a passion for food and cooking at an early age. After obtaining an English and Communications degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, she pursued her interest in the restaurant business by enrolling at The Culinary Institute of America. Following graduation, Chef Burrell spent a year in Italy attending the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners while working at La Taverna del Lupo in Umbria and La Bottega del’ 30, a one-Michelin star restaurant in Tuscany. During her time in Italy, she grew to truly appreciate and understand the philosophy of Italian cuisine and culture, which left a lasting impact on her culinary point of view.
Upon her arrival in New York City, Chef Burrell was hired as a sous chef at Felidia, working with Lidia Bastianich. She then served as a chef at Savoy, where she cooked over an open wood fire and created flavorful menus inspired by countries around the Mediterranean. Here, she developed her personal culinary style—a real love of rustic food made with pure and simple ingredients that have intense flavors.
After a three-year teaching stint at the Institute of Culinary Education, Chef Burrell returned behind the stove to cook for special events at the Italian Wine Merchants. Her job also included traveling to offsite events with Mario Batali, who enlisted her as his sous chef when he was offered a spot as one of America’s Iron Chefs.
In 2007, Chef Burrell got a stage of her own with the opening of Centro Vinoteca in New York. The West Village hot spot became an instant hit with her “creative-authentic” Italian menu of small plates (piccolini), antipasti, pastas, and main courses accented by the bold, pure flavors for which she is known.
StarChefs.com named Burrell the New York Rising Star Chef of 2008, and that same year she was able to parlay her TV experience with Chef Batali into hosting duties on the Food Network. She has gone on to co-host Worst Cooks in America with Bobby Flay and Chefs Wanted with Anne Burrell. Her first cookbook, Cook Like a Rock Star, was released in 2011 and earned a place on The New York Times Bestseller List.