What ingredients do you hate?

Jennifer Rubell, 36, writer, renowned hostess, hotelier, Harvard grad and member of the illustrious Rubell clan, is poised to become the country’s newest entertaining guru.  Jennifer is currently Food and Entertaining Editor of the Miami Herald’s Home & Design magazine, Former Contributing Food Editor of, the recently folded (March 2009), Condé Nast shelter magazine Domino, and her first book, Real Life Entertaining, was released in May 2006 by HarperCollins.  She writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate, and has appeared in, among others, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle, The New York Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Travel + Leisure, Ocean Drive and Food & Wine. In 2007, Paper Magazine named Jennifer one of its 30 most beautiful people.  

Entertaining is in Jennifer Rubell’s blood.  Her uncle, the late Studio 54 owner Steve Rubell, treated Jennifer as his own child, taking her along to parties with Halston, Calvin Klein, Liza Minelli and Bianca Jagger, and inviting her to every major event at Studio 54, starting at the age of 7.  Her parents, world-renowned contemporary art collectors Donald and Mera Rubell, became famous in the ‘80s for the Whitney Biennial after-party they hosted at their Upper East Side townhouse.  With artists like Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Julian Schnabel and Andy Warhol roaming around the house, Mera turned out bowl after bowl of spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce, with Jennifer at her side learning the Rubell family style:  personal, unconventional and decidedly hands-on.

  • Transcript


Jennifer Rubell: I don’t like processed food.  I don’t like ingredients that are already sort of cooked, you know?  I mean I . . . I . . . I . . .  That’s really it.  You know I mean if you’re going to cook chicken, just buy chicken.  You know don’t buy something that’s already, like, breaded or coated or whatever.  If you’re going to make . . .  If you’re going to make almost anything – fish, beans, whatever – just buy the raw ingredient.  If something takes too long to cook and it’s too much of a pain, just don’t cook it.  You know if you . . .  If you don’t wanna braise something for three hours, don’t make food that has to be braised you know?  Instead of . . .  For instance braised lamb shanks are great if you’re in the mood to cook for hours and let it simmer on the stove.  But if you don’t want that, you know take a slice off of leg of lamb.  I mean I have a two year old daughter and I cook dinner for her every night.  My favorite thing to do is to get any cut of meat, anything; take a thin, thin, thin slice off of it and sauté it quickly in the sauté pan.  And unless it’s the toughest cut of meat, it tastes great, and it literally takes 30 seconds to make her a meal.  So the key is to just don’t even bother cooking food that is . . . is long cooking or complicated.

Recorded on 12/13/07