Chef Amanda Freitag is a regular judge on the Food Network's Chopped and a cohost on American Diner Revival. She also has appeared on several other shows on the network.
Freitag wrote The Chef Next Door: A Pro Chef's Recipes for Fun Fearless Cooking. She was promoting the book at Chicago's Printers Row Lit Fest when I had the chance to meet her and talk about her book.
Her passion for cooking was palpable. When describing the book, she said, "This book is my love letter to the home cook. I so admire the hard work it takes to prepare meals at home, and I hope this book lives on your kitchen counter as we prepare many meals together!"
We talked a bit about her work on Chopped. I mentioned that way long ago, I worked at Lerner Newspapers with Ted Allen, the host of Chopped. She mentioned that she loved working the show, because it gave aspiring chefs exposure and experience and she loved seeing their passion and creativity. She talked about how hard it was to eliminate some people who try so hard, but feels that everyone really walks away with a learning experience.
Freitag answered a lot of questions from the crowd and went well over her "allotted" time, which was really cool of her. She seemed more interested in helping others and spreading her love of cooking than actually selling her book. She even ran out of books, but still stayed to meet and talk to everyone.
I'd say she went above and beyond throughout the whole appearance. She had been on my "want to meet" list for a while and I was happy to finally get that chance.
Amanda Freitag and me in Chicago, IL-June 2017.