Interview With Daphne Oz
4.9.12

For this week’s installment with our lovely guest editor, Daphne Oz, we asked her to answer a few of our most pressing questions about relationships, balancing it all, and what it’s really like to work with Mario Batali.

The Chalkboard Mag: Having such a large platform on ABC’s The Chew, people seem to really love your energy and what you bring to the table. What are the main messages/aspects of yourself that you strive to express to viewers?
Daphne Oz: “I think what people are really enjoying from The Chew is a genuine sense of being among friends. We are a total Chew Crew—we talk all the time, go out for dinner, hang with each other’s families.  We got so lucky with this incredibly fun, informative, easy-going team and show, and are thrilled to be able to share that camaraderie with our viewers. We get these amazing pictures Tweeted and Facebook-ed to us of our recipes viewers have made at home with their families, and that’s what The Chew is really all about: getting America back to the dinner table, having fun in the kitchen, and enjoying the process.

“I learned cooking from my mother, and she from my grandmother, who made dinner every night for her husband and six children. Like so many home cooks, I have an arsenal of delicious (and generally pretty healthy) recipes I grew up with that are easy enough for anyone to make. I love getting to share these family recipes because they make my message about making health a priority and not an obsession tangible and real for people who want to do this in their own lives. My goal is just to make sure I keep learning and improving. Thankfully, my esteemed co-hosts are excellent teachers who I get to pepper with questions and remind what it’s like to be cooking at home where supplies may be limited, but skills are on the rise!

“My passion is figuring out how to enjoy all our favorite foods while cutting corners on fat and calories where possible and safe. You will never see me serving up ‘rabbit food’ on the show – I love good meals way too much – and you will NEVER see me using artificial sweeteners or flavorings, toxic processed fats, or any other low-quality, ‘food-like products’ just to scrimp on a few calories. I’d rather have you eat real butter and sugar in smaller portions.

“Healthy eating has to be delicious and made from actual food – not processed creations – if I want you to stick with it long term, so my goal is to show plenty of taste bud-tantalizing meals for you to try that are either conscious of ways to make a dish a bit healthier than the traditional version, or so effing indulgent that it’s worth every glorious bite as a special occasion treat. This moderation and attitude of figuring out where to make smart choices and where to splurge carries into all aspects of my own life, whether I want to throw a sumptuous dinner party for friends without breaking the bank or figure out a way to successfully share limited closet space with my husband, so Chew viewers can also rely on me to keep things practical. Of course, it’s more about practical luxury and loving your life than just plain old functionality…

“Most importantly, it’s my job to make you look good, and the best part is having FUN being happy and healthy.”

TCM: What is the best kitchen/cooking tip you have learned from Mario Batali after working with him these past few months?
DO: “The best dishes are often the least complex. Choose a few quality ingredients, prepare them the right (Mario might say ‘best’) way, and then let them come together to create an incredible dish. The goal with food people will love to eat is to let them fully taste all the natural flavors present. Oh, and always take your pasta out of the water one minute before the cooking is complete so the noodles can finish in the saucepan and pull flavors in. It makes all the difference between good pasta and a mind-blowing dish.

TCM: What are the most important lessons you have learned from your parents?
DO: “My parents were big on teaching their children how to be heard and how to listen. I have three siblings, and we are all strong personalities, but we learned from an early age that we could not always be right and that being right all the time wasn’t the goal. It makes us stronger to listen, observe and absorb new and better information. For my parents, it was about us learning how to be a part of a group without losing our sense of identity.

“My parents also fostered a healthy sense of competition, less with each other than with ourselves, where it was always important to try our hardest and, if and when we failed, to learn from our mistakes. Commitment, struggle, success – these are the things my parents wanted us all to learn to be comfortable with so we could hope to achieve happiness and fulfillment long term.”

TCM: You seem to be all about moderation, not striving for perfection. Is this an important aspect of the type of role model you would like to be for your fans? Can you elaborate?
DO: “Hugely important! To create a healthy lifestyle where you are truly in control, it doesn’t help make you more powerful or resilient to set rigid boundaries. If you are creating your own path, nothing is off limits unless you say so.

“Traditional perfection seems so narrow and one-dimensional to me. I do believe that we have ‘perfect fits’ for each stage of life, but also that perfection as a goal has to be flexible and dynamic to change with us as we grow. It’s more important for me to be working towards being better than to be working towards being perfect. One is about letting me find productive ways to enjoy my life, contribute more and receive more—essentially, it’s about continuing to grow. The other feels like it’s about stunting growth by trying to put a fix on how my life ought to look.

“Moderation is key because it puts the focus on making choices! My goal is to choose happiness, and sometimes that means indulging in things I know may not be the healthiest if I feel they are going to add to the richness of my experience overall.”

TCM: What are a few of the things you’ve learned about relationships since getting married in 2010? How do you juggle marriage and career?

DO: “What I’ve learned in a little over a year being married is that happy marriage—like everything else!—is about compromise. Sharing your life with someone you love quickly breaks you of any bad habits. If you’re rigid and unyielding about your opinions, choices or routines, chances are you won’t make for a great partner. At our core, we’re still animals: we want affection, companionship, appreciation, understanding. Think about what Fido would want, and act accordingly.

“The examples of lasting, loving partnerships I’ve seen all put a lot of focus on having fun together, and my husband and I try to find ways to play with and entertain one another every day. Is humor a virtue? I think it should be. Making room for silliness also ensures that serious conversations don’t get lost in a lifetime of being serious.

“We love learning together, having even small adventures, and pushing each other to keep growing. But we do have our fights! Learning how to  ‘fight well’ – with honesty and kindness,  as bizarre as that sounds – is one of the keys to finding productive resolutions and avoid hurting each other unnecessarily.

“Juggling our various commitments while making time for each other is a process, and it’s one we’re always focused on improving. One of our best resolutions is to leave cell phones in a bowl by the door so that, once we’re home, we’re really present and enjoying one another. We eat together most nights and spend the weekends making great meals with friends (we love to entertain), wandering around NYC and taking road trips or seeing family.

TCM: What other exciting projects do you have lined up at the moment?
DO: “I am working on my next book, due out with HarperCollins next spring. This one is all about getting out of the mindset that you have to wait to have the life you want and instead figuring out your ‘perfect fit’ life for right now. It’s basically about how to maximize this moment, because you’ll never get it back.”

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  1. Hi Daphne, I enjoyed reading The Chalkboard very much, it taught me a lot, about how life should be that I never
    had, cook things that are good for you and how to be honest in any relationship. I am divorced and had it hard
    as being a victim of a brutal assault and rape, while waiting to open the school I taught at, reading this, has opened my
    eyes to eat well, watch the show everyday, and it is family, how to react to situations in a honest and good way, how to argue fairly. I cannot wait to read your next book. You have an amazing family, I love watching your dad also.
    You are truly blessed to have what you have and appreciate it at the same time….

    Lynn | 04.09.2012 | Reply
  2. Dear Daphne:
    I enjoyed reading your insightful article in The Chalkboard. You made some valid points, and I liked the idea about you and your husband leaving your cell phones in a bowl to focus on each other. That’s a good idea! I myself don’t use my cell phone unless I absolutely have to. I only cook on occasion, as I live alone (by choice, since 2004, after I made a personal life decision, which I considered to be the beginning of the process of getting to know me a lot better than I did.). Since 2004, slowly I began to look at my personal history, from my childhood to my last marriage. Emotionally, I was not well at all. In my opinion, certain people in my life, from their perspective, thought I had a terrific life, but they were outsiders looking in. They didn’t know the whole story about me. Even I didn’t know the whole story about me, and that was not good. I did myself a favor by gradually letting go of certain things, and especially certain people. I have a history of doing things, and perhaps even saying things, to shut people up. I think I was pretty dishonest with myself. I had to learn to stop fearing the truth about me. For that matter, I had to learn to fully understand my truths, dig deep for them, if you will. I’m still working on that. I have a long history of self-esteem issues, along with trust issues, due to some personal experiences, some of which have to do with relatives (I had a very moody mother growing up, and I learned to be wary of her. I didn’t even like communicating with her. There were times when I forced myself to do so. Incidentally, my mother had me when she was a teenager., so she was underdeveloped emotionally.). I have an amateur artist’s background, but I choose to write to learn to analyze things. I’m still digging. Despite the mixed reviews I give my own life, perhaps my past experiences are helping to sculpt my future career as an author. Thanks for that wonderful article! Looking forward to your next book!

    Medina Krause | 04.09.2012 | Reply
  3. You’re so beautiful!!! But what’s really nice is that your’re beautiful inside to….

    Deb Kean | 04.10.2012 | Reply
  4. You are the “real” deal…………charming, humble, witty, engaging, a good listener and much more. As a parent, I know that your parents are proud of you, your life and your accomplishments. Thanks for sharing with us. Keep doing what you are doing and don’t ever change.

    Marion | 04.10.2012 | Reply
  5. I have been so impressed with you since The Chew began. You stick to your guns on healthy food but don’t go overboard and seem to enjoy trying other foods…even when they are not as healthy as you would wish. Your dad has so inspired the world with his show and I hope you continue (along with all of the other talented people on the show) of doing the same.

    Brenda Thomas | 04.10.2012 | Reply
  6. Daphne, I enjoyed reading about you very much ! You are as nice as you look !!!

    patricia sixsmith | 04.10.2012 | Reply
  7. Daphne, I enjoyed reading about you! You are as Nice as you Look !!! You are so enjoyable on The Chew !!!

    patricia sixsmith | 04.10.2012 | Reply
  8. I enjoyed reading about you. You are so beautiful! I enjoyed the Chew. It great seen how well you all work together and have fun at the same time.

    Robbiestene McGahee | 04.10.2012 | Reply
  9. Daphne, i can’t begin to tell you how much i enjoy you and the crew o the chew. I started watching when it started. And i was on disabilty. My husband enjoys it as much asi do. I went back towork, so now i get cught up on saturdays. Please keep up the great work all of you on the chew. You are all wonderful. I would love to come to your show if i ever get the chance to go to new york. You have a great life.

  10. Daphne, i love you and everyone on the chew. Even my husband loves the show. I have gotten soooo much information, stuff i didn’t know before. I would love to visit the show someday if i ever get to new york. You keep up the gteat work and have a great life. Thank you for being you and bringing some joy and laughter into our lives.
    Thanks
    Katie

  11. so young to be so insightfull and well read. If I had never seen you, I would have thought you were a person with many years of experience behind you. I love your spirit! hope you stay with the chew and the rest of the cast too of course. thanks for being you.

    liz dickerson | 04.10.2012 | Reply
  12. We are a retired couple and DVR the show and watch one day behind. Both of us love the show, and have watched the comraderie grow amongt all of you. Love all the chefs, & their recipes and cooking demos, and Clinton’s flights of fancy. You are surprisingly mature for your age and a pleasure to not only look at but to listen to. Say hello to the rest of the gang from J&G

    Jay Burnett | 04.22.2012 | Reply
  13. Daphne, You conduct yourself with poise and grace on The Chew and you are a credit to that program. I don’t care for Michael Symon’s sarcasm toward New Jersey and I’m glad to see you don’t let it get to you. The Chew could do well without him. Mario , Carla, and Clinton are all great. I wish you continued success in your personal and professional life. Annie K.

    annie k. | 07.26.2012 | Reply
  14. On 01-02 or 01-03 2013 a question was asked about muscle cramps and you gave an answer what you should do. I got called and missed the answer. Clinton was asking the questions, one was about drinking milk. I get leg cramps and a lot of cramps around my stomach and rest of body. Thank you, enjoy watching you and the others on the Chew and especially your Dad.

    Pat Williams | 01.04.2013 | Reply
    • In regards to the leg cramps the answer was pickle juice.

      alr | 03.09.2013 | Reply

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