Author, reality star, entrepreneur and foodie Bethenny Frankel dishes about her chef inspirations and her ideal last meal. She also discusses why she's stayed calm while being the target of a $100 million lawsuit filed by her former manager for a share of the profits Frankel made from selling her Skinnygirl cocktail line after firing him.
What’s the most surprising lesson you’ve learned in your success in the food world?
That passion, commitment and making things easy is really the way to reach people's homes and hearts. No one has time to be a five-star chef except a five-star chef.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
I don't believe in regret, but I wouldn't have worried so much. However, I'm worrying at this very moment.
Do you think that women have a tougher time in this industry?
I think this is an incredible time for women and saying that it's harder for us will soon become a copout. You get what you get and you don't get upset. You make it what you want.
A lot of people have called your response to the lawsuit “graceful” and mature – something we don’t see a lot of among celebs. How do you keep it classy?
I work really hard; I have always had a conscience and integrity (which is what you do when no one is looking). I can't control what other people are doing nor do I want to. I'm happy where I am and I only sweat the small stuff. I torture myself more over a $40 Gap T-shirt than a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
Which chef has been your biggest inspiration?
They're all great, for so many reasons. Bobby Flay made grilling his angle and built an empire. In the meantime, Rachael Ray showed that being a cook won't stop you from being a success. From “Top Chef” to the Food Network to the local pizza place, I learn about food every day.
What would be your ideal last meal?
A crab cake from Old Homestead or Gibson's in Chicago, an old-school Caesar salad, eggplant Parmesan, a New York steak from the Strip House, Tom Colicchio's mushrooms, (restaurant) STK's brussels sprouts and the peanut butter s'mores from Prime 112 in Miami.
I might even have fries from Pastis to go with that steak and a slice of Di Faro's pizza as an appetizer. I could go on and on.
Did pregnancy and now motherhood change your taste in food at all?
I didn't crave anything special except for red velvet anything, but I wanted more food more often and it was non-negotiable. I did, however, find out I was pregnant after eating a jar of pickles, using the juice to pickle other things, then drinking the juice.