Easy-Bake Oven Cooking with Joe Zee

by The Daily Front Row

Fashion and food collided at The Brooklyn Kitchen last night, where Joe Zee taught a cooking class. No stranger to the kitchen, Zee led the class through three courses of Easy-Bake Oven cooking. The menu, a childhood throwback with a grown-up twist, included pizza bagels (tomato, basil, and mozzarella flatbread), pigs in a blanket (phyllo-wrapped homemade sausages), and chocolate chip cookies (Valrhona chocolate tuiles). Read on for cooking tidbits from your favorite stylist…

Has cooking always been an interest of yours?
I love it, and I always have. I moved out on my own when I was 17 or 18, so at the beginning I was just cooking because I was living on my own. I think there’s something very creative about it. Being a stylist and seeing how clothes come together is creative, and it’s the same with food. There’s a science behind it.

How did the partnership with The Brooklyn Kitchen come about?
We did a segment on “FABLife” with an Easy Bake Oven, and I was saying how I always wanted one as a kid, but my parents wouldn’t buy me one. So an executive at ABC bought me an Easy Bake Oven. I Instagrammed it with the caption ‘Yay, childhood dreams come true!’ and then [The Brooklyn Kitchen] reached out to me and was like, ‘Why don’t you come and teach something about that?’ And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, everything is coming together.’

Which of their classes have you taken?
The first class that I took with my fiancé was a couples class. We also took a Thai street food, a Roberta’s pizza, and and a fresh pasta class.

Do you have a favorite style of cooking?
I love cooking Italian. I’ll have my friends challenge me, and I always ask them what they want me to cook. They [suggest] Greek, Korean, Italian, and Australian. And then I’ll make a whole feast of that.

What are your tips for the beginner chef?
Start slow. There are things that you can just try out…you don’t have to overwhelm yourself. I remember looking at David Chang’s cookbook from Momofuku and being like, ‘What is this? I can never do any of this!’ And then last Christmas I made [the food] for everybody. I think watching Food Network always helps.

What are your favorite recipes for summer?
I was making this gazpacho for everyone…[they were] not gazpacho fans but they loved it afterwards. I put fresh whole-wheat sourdough bread in there, red wine vinegar—which is slightly unexpected—and farm fresh vegetables, and it’s so good. And I make a corn salad. It depends on what’s in season.

You spend a lot of time in the Hamptons—where are your favorite spots to eat and shop for food?
I’m always cooking for people, and I’m always at farm stands, like Pike Farms. We eat out at Wölffer Kitchen or at Sen.

Any favorite chefs?
David Chang, April BloomfieldMario Batali…a million different people for different things!

BY DANIELLE DULCHINOS

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