Cook Taste Eat: Let's Make Something Awesome for Dinner


Michael Mina, Michelle Branch - Cook Taste Eat

With our videos, recipes, tips and tricks, home cooks will surprise themselves with how amazing their food can be.

Tanya Melillo, Cook Taste Eat

Michael Mina, Tanya Melillo - Cook Taste EatIt's the perfect recipe for a new digital media adventure: entrepreneur Tanya Melillo and Michelin-star chef Michael Mina have collaborated to create a bold new food site called Cook Taste Eat. Launched last fall, the site features daily video tutorials from Michael Mina and some of the best chefs in the world, preparing some of their most popular meals. Even better in the mix, the adorable Michelle Branch (yes, the Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter, wife, mother and friend of Michael's) co-hosts the videos and asks questions about the recipes as the chefs are cooking.

The whole experience adds up to entertaining and accessible hands-on chef's lessons about the dish you want to make, whenever you want it. What's not to love about that?

Cook Taste Eat is also a new Say Media partner, and we took the opportunity to catch up with co-creator and CEO Tanya Melillo to find out more about what she's got planned for the year ahead. Before founding Cook Taste Eat, Tanya already had some serious food chops: she launched Ram's Gate Winery, she created and appeared in the pilot food show "Tanya Takes On" for The Food Network, in addition to starring in the PBS show “The Winemakers” and co-hosting an online culinary show with Chef Rocco DiSpirito - and she has a degree from the California Culinary Academy. We asked her to tell us about the favorite recipes on the site so far, what celebrity chefs we can expect in the months ahead and what digital media brings to the table that you can't get from TV, a restaurant or a magazine.

You launched the site in Sept 2012 – congratulations! How's it going so far? It 's absolutely amazing. I compare my relationship with Cook Taste Eat to a great love affair. It 's the most challenging and rewarding thing I 've ever done and our team is fantastic. I 've dreamed about building a video culinary media company for 15 years, so actually doing it is amazing and there is no better feeling than loving what you do. Getting feedback from users who say that we are exactly what they are looking for in terms of quality of recipes and integrity of our food is really motivating.

What are some of the most interesting things you've learned so far? Any surprises? I 've learned that it is incredibly difficult to not gain weight when you 're running a culinary media company! Ha! Seriously though, I 've found it really amazing how much relationships – the experiences and sentiment you build between people – impact business. Success and being happy with what you do is about the culture your team creates, the partnerships you build with other like-minded companies and your ability to get people to believe in you. Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group said something along the lines of, "at the end of every business interaction, all that matters is how the people in the room feel" and I truly believe that.

How would you describe the food philosophy of Cook Taste Eat? Our entire team adores cooking and eating and we think that both should be celebrated. We think food media should be entertaining, but also informative. We believe that with the right ingredients, a few important pieces of equipment, and an openness to learning, home cooks can make inspiring and impressive meals at home.

What did you feel like you could do on a site that you couldn't do with TV, print or restaurants? We think the possibilities for digital are boundless and fascinating. Through video we can teach our users tips and techniques that are simply not possible in print or just with a recipe. And in a digital environment, we can bring so much more rich content to our audience alongside the video to enhance their learning and enjoyment.

Cook Taste Eat
For those that are new to your site, what are some great posts to start with?
I love this question because I want everyone to know that with our videos, recipes, tips and tricks, home cooks will surprise themselves with how amazing their food can be. Try these simple dishes and they will become staples for you!

Herb-Basted Chicken Breast – When Michael Mina taught me this chicken (one of the many perks of my job) I was blown away by how incredibly flavorful, yet how easy it is. It blows all other chicken breasts away.

Kale Salad – Everyone is amped up on kale right now, and for good reason. This salad is well-balanced and just scrumptious. It makes eating veggies so fun!

Bacon Wrapped Potatoes – Our whole team is obsessed with these. They are ridiculously easy and crazy good. One of the things I love about Michael Mina is his ability to use ingredients, techniques and equipment in really inventive ways and this dish really shows that.

What are your most popular posts to date – and what do you think that say about your readers? You know we 've actually had very consistent popularity across our meals. Our users live to eat! They love learning about food and cooking and they want to cook and eat inspiring meals. Every day we hear from people that they can 't wait to see what 's coming up next. A couple of highlights have been:

Our herb-basted chicken breast because it 's unbelievably easy and delicious. Everyone should have this in their arsenal.

The Paleo-friendly meal we did with Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Chef. He was so much fun on set, and people love that food from Michelin-starred chef Michael Mina can be health-conscious too.

What made you decide to make it a members-only site? We are actually NOT a members-only site! Anyone can come to our site CookTasteEat.com and explore, watch our videos and engage with our content for free! We do encourage people to sign up for our free daily emails because we have lots of great culinary content – like a daily glossary and little known food facts – that you can 't get on our site. Additionally, by logging into our site users can save recipes, take notes on dishes they love or want to make and interact in more meaningful ways with our content.

Give us a preview of the year ahead – any new stuff we should be looking forward to? We have lots of amazing food coming your way. We recently filmed 80 new videos for late winter / early spring and they are amazing. We are also focusing on how to make sure our recipes are inspiring and gourmet, but also accessible. Some favorites that are coming up are Traci Des Jardin 's Truffle-Roasted Chicken with Mushroom Bread Pudding and an Herb Salad.

Cook Taste Eat
What other chefs have you had on Cook Taste Eat - and how do you decide what chefs would make good guests?
A not-so-secret secret – the Cook Taste Eat team loves chefs and we adore having them on our show. Our co-creator, Michael Mina, guides our culinary philosophy and is featured in many of our videos. We have also filmed great meals with Charles Phan, Mourad Lahlou, Michael Chiarello and Traci Des Jardins, to name a few. We love having passionate and seasoned chefs on the show who have a rich history of cooking and teaching and who make food that is really outstanding.

How would you finish this sentence: When in doubt cook… Eggs! Poach 'em and you can turn pantry staples into a special gourmet meal. My go-to meal when I want to feel like I'm home is a big bowl of white rice with fried eggs and sliced bananas. Don 't knock it 'til you try it!

Follow Cook Taste Eat on Twitter @CookTasteEat.

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