Top Chefs Dish on Mom’s Home Cooking

Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse and Padma Lakshmi are just some of the chefs who were influenced by their mothers' cooking during childhood. See what the top chefs and culinary elite learned from mom's home cooking and how that's shaped their palates today.

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Author and "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi said as a child that she and her mother would scour New York City for Indian ingredients. She found "great mystery" with the goings on in the kitchen where the women would share recipes and gossip. Southern Indian food remains one of Padma's passions to this day. Source: Food and Wine
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Celeb chef-turned-TV personality Rachael Ray she remembers seeing her mom cook for the first time: "My first vivid memory is watching mom in a restaurant kitchen. She was flipping something with a spatual. I tried to copy her and ended up grilling my right thumb. ... I was surrounded by all different styles of cooking," she said. Source: About.com
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Chef and "No Reservations" host Anthony Bourdain said his mother helped him learn not to take food for granted: "It was more than that. I have a lot of things to be grateful to mom for, but that's a big one." Source: "Mom's Secret Recipe File" by Chris Styler
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EMPTY_CAPTION"Top Chef" judge Tom Colicchio has taken foods from his childhood and used them in menus at his restaurants: "Some of the dishes we ate for the holidays have evolved into dishes I've put on my restaurants. ... And when I Wanted to add a cannelloni dish to Gramercy's menu, I called my mom." Source: "Mom's Secret Recipe File" by Chris Styler
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Chef Emeril Lagasse started making vegetable soup with his mom age age 5, and would help his mother with culinary chores: "She ruled the house. ... One of my chores for my mom was, every day I would have to go down to the local Portuguese bakery and get bread for the table." Source: CNN
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EMPTY_CAPTION"Top Chef" judge Gail Simmons' mother worked in the food industry but it took some time before the <Food and Wine scribe followed in her mom's footsteps: "My mother had a food column. ... [She] had a small cooking school out of our home." Source: YumSugar
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