To most people, Oprah is so much more than a celebrity — she’s an iconic talk show host that thousands of people look up to and respect. She’s intelligent and friendly, articulate and healthy, confident and beautiful… the list goes on. So it’s kind of a big deal when she gives her stamp of approval on anything.
Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat, the clever faces behind Bite Me More and the authors of the Bite Me, Bite Me Too and Lick Your Plate cookbooks, recently had the honour of developing a few recipes for Oprah herself in the Thanksgiving issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.
First, they revealed how to make a gorgeous mushroom bruschetta appetizer that makes regular tomato bruschetta pale in comparison. Then, they concocted the perfect healthy breakfast recipe for all the sugar lovers out there: a Greek yogurt fruit parfait topped with coconut whipped cream. Both recipes sound absolutely divine even without Oprah’s approval, but there’s something extra special in knowing that we could be eating exactly what Oprah wants to eat.
So we asked Julie and Lisa about what it takes to put together a dish worthy of Lady O and what they got out of developing recipes for her. Here’s what they had to say:
How did you get connected with Oprah?
When we were on our book tour for Lick Your Plate, we were lucky enough to meet with Oprah’s team and they asked us to provide recipes for O Magazine last year. Seems the foray was a success because — perhaps also in part due to our chunky white chocolate cranberry cookies we left behind — we now have recipes in this year’s issue, pages 131 and 134.
Why did you choose to create bruschetta and a parfait for her?
Both recipes are quick, easy and perfect for the holiday season. This healthy bruschetta is the ultimate appetizer, meaty and savoury without being heavy; and the parfait, layers of sweet fruit, vanilla Greek yogurt and whipped coconut cream, [will let you] finish the meal without breaking a sweat (or the diet).
Were there any guidelines you had to follow in terms of ingredients and nutritional info?
Oprah is focused on living your best life, including [through] health and nutrition. Our focus was on how to lighten up the holidays while keeping them infused with fantastic flavour and satisfying bites.
How would you describe your overall experience developing recipes for such a widely respected figure?
To say it’s a complete privilege to be creating recipes for someone we have admired, idolized and quoted for decades, would be a gross understatement.
How do you usually go about developing good recipes?
Creating recipes starts with inspiration and we get it from a number of places – seasonal ingredients, hot trends and of course, cravings! Actually developing recipes starts with fulfilling a mandate that ingredients be readily available – we don’t want to send anyone on a hunt for hard-to-find ingredients. And then it involves a few rounds of trial and error, putting together the best parts of the testing attempts into one amazing, easy-to-recreate recipe.
What was different about creating a recipe for Oprah compared to your usual recipe-developing process?
Apart from making sure we please Oprah’s palate? We approached these recipes for her the same way we do every recipe we create – we make sure they are easy, straightforward and perfect for the home cook – we want to set everyone up for success in the kitchen and at the table.
Want to make an Oprah-worthy meal? Then take a peak at Bite Me More’s recipes for some inspiration.