Anna Rossi as
Hometown: Boston, MA
The Ultimate New England Turkey In The Orchard Burger
The Ultimate New England Turkey in the Orchard Burger is inspired by AJ's and my time in Barnard, Vermont. Whether it's skiing, hiking, swimming or sitting by the fire and watching the snow fall, we love the healthy, harvest flavors of Vermont. Here's a bite of foliage in the Green Mountains!
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Who was your first cooking inspiration?
My dad and my "Oma" were my first cooking inspirations. Since I can remember, my dad was always pulling up a stool for me to stand beside him in the kitchen. He made everything feel entirely special. He made me believe that recipes would only be delicious with my help. He taught me how to catch and clean fish and how to enjoy the greatest pleasures like vanilla ice cream with endless toppings and Magic Shell! I think my dad inherited his joy for food from his mom, my Oma. Oma was always planning a themed dinner party with my Grandpa and their fabulous friends. I was always enamored! Her stories were consistently packed with drama, mood, enthusiasm and love. She is an entirely lovely woman with a twinkle and style. Those two made the kitchen a warm place filled with family and self-expression for me beginning at an early age.
What is the first dish you ever mastered?
My mom's Virginia Belle Brownies! I am a huge chocolate lover. My mom makes the most fantastic, rich, gooey chocolate brownies that I grew up indulging in with vanilla ice cream. This was her standby recipe when my parents had company over. She would serve them dusted with powdered sugar and a pot of coffee. I quickly pocketed this recipe when I headed east for college and it became my standby as a hostess gift for dinner parties or when I simply needed a taste of home. The recipe is decadent and comes together in minutes with ingredients that are easy to keep on hand at all times. Licking the wooden spoon at the end is my favorite part of the entire experience.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
I love preparing local, seasonal food. AJ and I are passionate about foraging for and sourcing our ingredients and celebrating all the delicious sustenance that New England has to offer. There is nothing more satisfying than spending the day out on the water, bombing around in our raft, digging up cherrystones on the local beach, swinging by the farmers market, visiting with Farmer Chris as we pick out the recent harvest and heading home to whip up a linguine alla vongole or baked clams oreganata! I love preparing food that is intentional, that has a story and that is a celebration of where we live and our community.
What did you learn as a contestant on MasterChef?
I feel incredibly blessed to have had the privilege to be a contestant on MasterChef. Not just to cook for Gordon, Joe and Graham, but to learn from them and learn from my incredibly talented, equally passionate peers. First, I was reminded to never stop seeking adventure and perusing my passion. AJ and I were reminded as a couple that no matter how heavy our life gets with bills, furniture and kids one day soon, there is still adventure in life to be had that is bold, wild, and developmental. I also learned how to be brave and enthusiastic when it comes to preparing ingredients I have never used before. I learned how to break down 60 minutes and the skill of time management. And I learned that AJ is who really makes me the best cook that I can be. I feel so fortunate to be able to share my passion for food with my best friend and husband!