Chef Nathan Lyon
To Chef Nathan Lyon, high-quality extra virgin olive oil is a kitchen essential. “Lucini® Premium Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil® is so perfectly balanced that both cooking and finishing with it will bring harmony and flavor to any dish. It is not just a finishing oil,” he states. In his cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, he challenges readers to only cook with oils that they would dip their bread in and asks if they would dip their bread in Canola oil. “If you do not enjoy the flavor of the oil you are using in your kitchen by itself, how on earth is it going to translate into better tasting meals?”
Who inspired you to become a chef?
I always had a great love for cooking and gardening, but it was my Mom who pushed me to pursue my dreams when she asked me, “What would you do if you won the lottery, if you could do anything you wanted?” When I responded that I would go to culinary school, to be a chef, she replied, “I think you should do that. I think you should be happy.” Thanks, Mom!
Where do you look for inspiration in the kitchen?
After loading up on fresh produce from the farmers market each week, I look to see what’s fresh and available right on my kitchen counter! It’s seasonal produce that keeps me creative and excited about cooking. Every week there is a new fruit or vegetable or herb to play with and enjoy. It keeps my mind active.
What three ingredients are you never without?
Extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt and fresh thyme. These three foundational ingredients complement most foods: seafood, meats, and an endless variety of vegetables; you can create a masterpiece in the kitchen.
Friends just informed you they will be over for dinner in an hour – what is your go-to dish?
In the summer, it would be freshly made pesto with pasta and a delicious grilled vegetable salad utilizing all the tasty greens and vegetables that are in season and full of flavor and nutrition.
What is one skill that is essential for every home cook to know?
A tip more than a skill – to keep your knives sharp. They are your greatest tool in the kitchen!
Chef Nathan Lyon is known to television viewers across the country for his simple, innovative cuisine featuring fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. Nathan’s first cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh is one of the “Top Cookbooks of 2012” by the Washington Post and his work as host of Good Food America on Viera Living, earned him a 2013 Emmy® nomination for “Outstanding Culinary Host”. He is the chef and co-host of Growing A Greener World (PBS), creator and host of A Lyon in the Kitchen (Discovery Health and Fit TV), and was among the final four on the second season of The Next Food Network Star. Read more about Nathan at www.chefnathanlyon.com.