Many times you hear of people switching their profession from doctor or lawyer to pursue a career as a chef. Undergoing such a transformation to follow your passion can be a big risk. Chef Vikki Krinsky went from professional soccer player and actress to kitchen life, working for famous folks like “The Orville” and “Family Guy” creator, Seth MacFarlane.
We recently put on our apron and jumped behind the cutting board to chat with Chef Krinsky about her journey from actress to chef, how to make healthy foods taste great, and calling her mom from Tom Hank’s bathroom.
TrunkSpace: You’ve had an interesting career path, from actress to chef for A-list Hollywood stars like Seth MacFarlane. Can you tell us what that journey was like for you and how your love of culinary arts eclipsed your love of the performing arts?
Chef Krinsky: What a journey it was! In addition to coming off of a Lifetime TV series called Zoe Busiek’s “Wild Card” that we shot in Toronto, Canada, I was also a competitive soccer player my whole life, who put a lot of emphasis on health and fitness. I moved to LA at the ripe ol’ age of 19 and had no idea what I was in for, in terms of body image. It was really tough hearing feedback after an audition and I started to grow immensely dissatisfied with my self-image. After a year of testing for multiple shows, I took it upon myself to start studying nutrition and I even got a job as a personal trainer at the gym down the street. Soon thereafter, I walked away from acting and went on a solo backpacking trip through Europe. I randomly met a chef, interned in five different restaurants throughout Europe and came back to LA with a new, profound passion – cooking fine dining cuisine, with a nutritional twist! My role in the world of entertainment is absolutely perfect for me. I’m very grateful that I listened to my gut and took a chance on myself.
TrunkSpace: Though you’re not actively pursuing an acting career, you are in front of the camera each week on the CBS cooking competition show, “Recipe Rehab.” What are some of the challenges of trying to not only entertain on the show but also cook and educate viewers on how to transform their favorite comfort food dishes? And do you feel your background in acting helps to elevate your performance?
Chef Krinsky: I do feel my love for acting has helped tremendously. I truly don’t find it challenging to do all of the above – in fact, I love that combination more than anything! Like a perfectly balanced… cupcake!
TrunkSpace: You have a passion for creating healthy and delicious meals, and you’re of the belief you don’t have to sacrifice flavor for fit foods. For those trying to seek a healthier lifestyle, do you have any basic tips on adding flavor to dishes that normally get a bad rep for being bland or blasé?
Chef Krinsky: FRESH HERBS, my friends! They are so simple, easy and affordable! They’re a pop of bright flavor, and really bring any and all dishes to life!
TrunkSpace: An artist often needs quality paints to create a quality painting. Do you believe that in the culinary arts it’s important to cook using organic and sustainable foods? And do you find such foods to indeed be tastier?
Chef Krinsky: I certainly believe that fresh, local food is of the highest quality and would stand out in any dish. I do however know that not everyone has the means or the accessibility to enjoy such luxuries. My take is, try to use the freshest ingredients you can find and splurge on yourself as much as possible. Food is our vital source of fuel and I think it’s highly important that we view it as such.
TrunkSpace: Was it intimidating going into the personal chef field for Hollywood’s A-list talent? Or with your background in acting, was it more like you were at ease right away, and you knew they are just regular folks with extraordinary fan bases?
Chef Krinsky: That’s exactly it. My mom always made sure I knew that everyone was just like everyone else, and so I grew up with the advantage of being able to connect naturally. Don’t get me wrong, I called my mom from Tom Hank’s bathroom and whispered to her how crazy it was that I was cooking in his kitchen and thanked her for always encouraging me to follow my passions and believe in myself. It was one of the best phone calls in the world!
TrunkSpace: When not cooking on CBS, you are working as the personal chef to one of our favorite comedians and creators, Seth MacFarlane. Can you tell use a bit about what that experience is like and maybe some of Seth’s favorite dishes?
Chef Krinsky: My experience with Seth, is one million percent perfect in every way. I couldn’t ask for a kinder, more brilliant client to have worked with for over eight years. It’s truly my dream personal chef job. He really enjoys a good, hearty, tuna melt and loves when I make a cornmeal crust pizza with smoked salmon, spinach, basil and crumbled goat cheese. Of course, topped off with fresh dill, lemon and basil. 🙂
TrunkSpace: It’s been said that food is the gateway into a culture, that it identifies a history, family and a region. What do you feel your food says about your culture and history?
Chef Krinsky: I believe that my food is very creative and not conventional. I think more than anything, my parents instilled a confidence inside of me that allows me to create bold, unique dishes and see where they land!
TrunkSpace: Do you have a set goal in mind for your career moving forward? Where do you see yourself on your culinary journey in another 10 years?
Chef Krinsky: Of course I do, silly! I certainly want to continue inspiring, teaching and building my brand. My next big venture is making products for the world to enjoy. Let’s do a follow-up interview a year from now, when you’re snacking on my VK energy bars. 🙂
TrunkSpace: If someone offered you a blank check to open your own restaurant, whether that would be a brick and mortar, food truck or gastropub, what would your vision be? Where would it be located and what type of food would you focus on?
Chef Krinsky: Hmm…very kind of them. Off the top of my head, I think I would want to open up a spot that offers more than just food. Something more interactive, more personal. Almost like a chef/nutrition/restaurant combination. A place where people could go to have meal plans created for them via a touch screen computer or even a one-on-one session with a chef/nutritionist. They could then pick up their meals for the week, based off of their personal goals. Of course, there would be a beautiful patio where you could dine in and enjoy unique, delicious food off of the menu also. Maybe fun facts about nutrition everywhere, so you get to eat and learn at the same time. Something like this excites me!