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Sara MoultonFame & Fortune: Sara Moulton
Sara Moulton uses fame to cook up book sales

So you think you have it bad, cooking almost every night? The Food Network's Sara Moulton does that, with the added pressure of doing it in front of millions of viewers.

As the host of "Sara's Secrets," a one-hour show on the Food Network, her sunny personality has drawn millions of viewers, from culinary aficionados to wannabe homemakers. She says Julia Child taught her the value of smiling a lot on TV and her petite stature (TV studio countertops are customized to her 5-foot frame) can make her seem more like the gal next door than a world-famous chef who's worked with some of the greats, including Child, Wolfgang Puck

Professionally, the energetic Moulton has spent 25 years in kitchens ranging from five-star restaurants to executive chef at Gourmet magazine's corporate dining room to television studios, where lights and cameras are as important to the job as knives, pots and pans.

Moulton's love of food dates back to her childhood. The self described "blubber girl" paid close attention to Granny Moulton, who went to cooking school herself, and gave Sara her first cookbook, "Mud Pies and Other Recipes: A Cookbook for Dolls," a pretend cookbook that persuaded her that "real cooking must be fun."

Her own cookbook, "Sara Moulton Cooks at Home," already a hit with fans, is for home cooks who love to cook, but Moulton admits it's not an easy read.

Bankrate: You sound like you're on a bit of a warpath, when it comes to cooking.

Sara Moulton: In a way, I am. We've all been programmed to think that we have no time, we can't cook dinner. Cooking is fun, cooking is therapeutic -- what's the rush here? Enough with this 15 minutes or less business. And my book will help some people get dinner on the table, but it's not a quick and easy book.

Bankrate: It's your first cookbook. Why now, after all those years of honing recipes?

Sara Moulton: I just didn't have the time. And I really didn't have time when I was working on this one, but I'm no dummy: I'm on TV tight now, I'm might be able to sell a few cookbooks. People might know who I was and might want to buy the book. So I just bit the bullet and got some help and we did it.

Bankrate: Being a professional chef is competitive and so grueling. How did you go from slaving away in kitchens to being on TV?

Sara Moulton: It was really a fluke, after years of teaching and being behind the scenes. "Good Morning America" put me on one day, and it went really well, and then the Food Network was just starting up, and back then, there was really nobody else. So if you were halfway decent, you had a chance

Bankrate: Around the time you were getting started on TV, were people also getting back to cooking?

Sara Moulton: It became a hobby again for people, and people were also getting back into making healthy choices for their family.

Bankrate: You're so in control in the kitchen, are you the same way with your finances?

Sara Moulton: I was never bad at math, and have never had problems paying the bills, but I prefer to have my financial planner, whom I give a chunk of cash to quarterly, work with my accountant. I've been with my planner for the last four years. And my dad, who was at Fiduciary Trust for years, is also a big help.

Bankrate: Since you're in the food industry, do you have a special eye for investing in food companies?

Sara Moulton: No, but I do joke about that when I'm doing demos. "Damn, I should've invested early on in zip-lock bags." In the meantime, I'm working on another cookbook, because the sales of the first were so good. And again I'm still on TV, I can sell more books. That'll help me sock away some savings and pay my housekeeper.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: July 29, 2003
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