Chef News

Charleen Badman: On Male Chefs, Cooking for Famous People, and the Irrelevance of Her Lady Parts

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Your most embarrassing moment in the kitchen: Anytime I let frustration get the best of me. Once, when I was very young and green, I slammed a chocolate sauce bottle on the table so hard that both the top and the sauce hit the ceiling. The prep cook at the time said he saw Jesus. I cleaned it up quietly.

National/international chef you admire: Gabrielle Hamilton of Prune in NYC. The woman is as real and true as her food.

You started eating more healthfully and lost a lot of weight. Do you still allow yourself a guilty pleasure?: I am not totally against splurging and eating to your heart's content. I still go on "Research and Development" trips and eat everything . . . okay, I taste everything. But anymore, I choose to eat foods that make me feel physically comfortable -- vegetables and more vegetables.

Describe your cooking style: It's definitely seasonal, rustic, and inspired by whatever I'm interested in.

Has your cooking or your philosophy about cooking evolved since you opened FnB?: Oh, my God, yes. I have slowly made the menu healthier and more vegetable-driven.

You love incorporating exotic ingredients and obscure dishes. Why?: I'm always curious and inspired by different flavors and other cultures. I try to use ethnic- inspired dishes in a genuine fashion, though. I hate fusion confusion.

And you seem to especially love Middle Eastern. What's up with that?: I love the fact that they use vegetables, legumes, and fewer proteins, and they complement with herbs, chiles, and savory sauces.

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Nikki Buchanan