& 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
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.