Food Network star Ingrid Hoffmann was in Chicago Saturday for the hot, hot, hot 1st Annual Food Network in Concert at Ravinia--a day and night celebration of food and music.
The red hot event featured the enticing combo of the “rock stars” of food and music in concert on multiple music stages, cooking demos, wine and food tastings, panels, creatively themed lunches and dinners with the stars and under the stars.
Hoffmann, voted one of People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful Women for 2008--who's just as hot now as she was then--was at the celebration to sign her newest book, Latin D'Lite and participate in the Festival's Greatest Hits--where she cooked up her "D'Liteful" Catalan Noodle Paella dish.
Her Latin charm oozed when I was able to catch-up with her Saturday morning at JC Penny’s cozy space on the Ravinia grounds (pictured at the top of this post).
I had a zillion questions but first off, I wanted to know her secret to staying fit.
Most likely, her good genes don't hurt, but with four cookbooks under her belt, a line of cookware and cooking shows on Food Network and Spanish TV, she is surrounded by food 24/7, so there's got to be more.
When I asked Hoffmann what influenced her cooking, she explained saying, "I'm a mutt, I was born in Columbia, raised in Cali, and Curaçao and now reside in Miami. My family is a mix of Spanish, South American and Cuban...so my recipes draw from 22 different regions."
Growing up, Hoffman ate global. Her mother, Yolanda Ibarnegaray, a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, thought nothing of mixing a French side, with a Cuban entree and a Mexican dessert.
Hoffmann believes in eating healthy--"not dieting -- but making things healthier." That doesn't mean that she goes low fat or no fat, she actually uses fat liberally in her cooking but uses good fats-- such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Her cooking is mixed with her lifestyle which incorporates friends, family, happy colors--her favorite is magenta--her Latin roots and her ability to embrace the traditional along with new trends.
Here are ten ways she keeps fit...and keeps cooking:
- She cooks from scratch, explaining that "cooking from scratch doesn't have to be a complicated thing."
- She believes in layering flavors using spices liberally but layering them so no one spice overpowers the dish.
- Presentation is all important--if it looks good it will taste good.
- Eat three good meals a day and add healthy snacks in-between.
- Eat "from the ground" using fresh fruits and veggies and avoiding processed foods.
- Eat "from the sea"--use fresh seafood--not the processed, packaged fish you find in supermarket freezer cases.
- Cook at home, as often as possible, at least three nights a week.
- Share the table.
- Keep things colorful.
- Stock up on healthy snack food--her personal "go to" favorites are almonds, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, apples and avocados--lots and lots of avocados.
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