It’s been six years since her debut on Season 2 of Bravo’s Top Chef, but Betty Fraser has remained relevant as the highly energetic, honest chef with a “tell it how it is” attitude. And that persona and passion for cooking has led her to be a mainstay at the upcoming Sun WineFest, where she’ll be alongside an all-star lineup of celebrity chefs and personalities (Bobby Flay, Todd English and Donatella Arpaia to name a few).
A native Californian, Betty Fraser started a catering business with friend, Denise DeCarla and the two quickly watched their business grow in popularity. As a result, the duo decided to buy a 1920’s bungalow-turned restaurant and opened Grub restaurant in 2011. The theme is “California Comfort Food” and based on the amount of awards and honors Grub has received over the years, there’s no denying Betty & Co. offers dishes worth coming back for. Earlier this week, I got the chance to speak with Betty and I immediately heard her smile (and love for all things food) over the phone.
Chris: The 10th annual Mohegan Sun Winefest is right around the corner. What are your plans for the weekend? Any guest appearances? Chef demonstrations?
Betty: This is my fourth year attending the Mohegan Sun Winefest. There will be a VIP
event on Friday night where I’ll be making braised brisket sandwiches for guests.
On Saturday we’ll play hosts to the Celebrity Chef Dine Around where you can
see chefs in action as they prepare amazing dishes and pair them with wine right in front of your eyes.
C: Do you prefer red or white wine? Any particular favorite for food pairings?
B: I love California Napa Valley cabernets. I’m not a wine snob. During the summer, I prefer white wines/champagnes and darker/richer wines during the winter months.
C: Who is the one person that you would be most honored to cook for? What would you prepare for them?
B: Harrison Ford (he’s my crush!). I would love to have dinner with him and just hang. A nice cut of steak and wine would be on the menu for dinner.
C: How has Top Chef helped advance your career as a professional chef?
B: The experience was both challenging and hard. Top Chef provided exposure and opened doors for many on-air appearances and shows (The Today Show, Top Chef Masters, Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels).
C: You are known to be pretty outspoken. Do you have any regrets
on Top Chef? Anything you would have done differently? Would you have been more patient with Marcel?
B: People don’t realize there is a ton a pressure on the show. There’s no time to
think and I wouldn’t do anything different. I’m a very honest person. I wasn’t the only person to mess with Marcel but I was certainly the first! Haha.
C: What advice would you give to young chefs who aspire to be like the chefs they see on TV such as yourself?
B: I’m a self-taught chef. Culinary school is excellent but working your way up in the field
is just as rewarding. I highly recommend working in a restaurant first to see first
hand the amount of passion and effort required.
C: Tell us a little bit about “Grub Restaurant” and what we could expect to find on the menu.
B: Grub can be described as California comfort food with an upscale twist. The
setting is a 1920s bungalow and we’re heralded as the best place for brunch and
lunch (Must orders include the Friggin’ Amazin’ French Toast and the After School Special Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup) in Hollywood. At Grub restaurant, we treat our guests and employees like family and that’s just as important as the food we serve.