Interview with Chef, Michael Symon Print Recipe Print Recipe


Highlight: Interviewing Michael Symon, one-on-one at the Food & Wine Festival in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

You guys, this man his hilarious. If you watch him on the Food Network or The Chew, that’s exactly him. It’s almost like he could be your big brother or cool uncle.

Okay yes, I might have a little celebrity crush, but common how can you not? He’s very real, very much in love with his wife, passionate about food [his job], great sense of humor and every dish has a memory or story attached and you can’t help, but be emotionally pulled in. It’s a beautiful thing.

At the end of the interview, he was so kind and acknowledged my interview skills & questions. I was so shocked, I turned red [see picture above] and gushed, “wow, thank you! actually, you’re the first person I’ve ever interviewed…” Rookie move.



Q: As a restaurant owner, how do you handle allergies such as gluten?

Being in the service industry, they’ll accommodate, absolutely. At Lola there’s a gluten-free menu, but since the menus are always changing, it’s best that people call ahead that way the restaurant will be prepared. <that’s a good tip in general>


Q: As a Chef, how do you stay healthy?

He’s pretty fit for being a chef, right? I had to ask what his secret was. First thing he told me was that some days he’ll eat up to 7,000 calories A DAY. My jaw dropped. Staying active and having two dogs, means he’s walking 4-5 miles a day. The other thing, he hardly eats anything processed or that comes from a package. That says something right there.




Best. laugh. ever.


Q: For those just starting off, what items do you recommend people have in their pantry?

  1. Good quality olive oil
  2. Variety of vinegars, whatever you prefer
  3. Whole spices – grind or toast as needed
  4. Good pasta

Michael doesn’t keep a lot of food on hand, instead he buys only when needed. I asked him about entertaining and how he handles last minute guests. He learned from mom and always have a few items in the freezer. Although he’s a busy man, him and his wife love to entertain at their home in Cleveland.


Q: Who does most the cooking at home?

Although Michael’s around food all day, you’d think he’d want a break. Nope, him and his wife cook at least 5 days a week.

So your wife cooks too? Yes, she’s an exceptional cook as well, said she makes an excellent roasted chicken and several great pasta dishes.

I love a good cooking duo.




A few great tips Michael shared during his demo. . .

  • Eat what is closes to you. Eat local.
  • Cook food you like to eat. That way you’ll enjoy cooking and your family will as well.
  • Protein should always be at room temperature, at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  • Salt in the beginning to build maximum flavors [vs. at the end]

If you’re wondering about his food, it’s exceptional! I attended a dinner that he cooked for and everyone was blown away with the flavor, consistency, and pairings – we all left with very full bellies, but absolutely worth it.




Next up, I really want to try his Coriander Chicken Enchiladas and also these pickled green beans!

You can catch Michael Symon on the Chew, weekdays at 12pm PST. Hey Michael, what do you say you bring a few food bloggers onto the show? You just let me know when you’re ready and I’ll clear my schedule 🙂

More Food & Wine recaps to come… Have a wonderful weekend everyone ~ Cheers!


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  • Averie Cooks

    What a great interview & can’t wait to see what else you were up to down in Mexico!

  • Heather

    I kind of adore Michael symon! He seems like a truly fun guy 🙂

  • Liz Tesar

    I love his cooking tips, especially the eat local.  I try to do that as much as possible!

  • Kristen

    Such a great interview, Lisa! You are a star!

  • Claire Gallam10

    Ahhh!! How cool is that!!

  • Shaina Olmanson

    Looks like a great time! I agree: Eat whole foods. Great advice. How fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing what else you did in Ixtapa.

  • Bev Weidner

    HOW COOL WAS THIS? Did you touch his head?

  • Anonymous

    Oh boy did I want to!! Major self control.

  • Nia

    Awesome!! What a memorable trip — on so many levels. Now your first celebrity chef interview is under your belt!!

  • Chicadvisor

    love watching him on Iron Chef.

    I have a giveaway on April 1. Please come check it out.Thanks.

  • Naomi

    Great interview, Lisa. Looking forward to seeing what else you did down there.

  • Katie

    Oh my gosh…ahhhmazing!! I can almost hear that laugh through your pictures. LOVE!