Seems like we’ve been Justin fans forever, and even more so since our family dinner together last fall. An evening of wonderful conversation, his ever-charming humor coupled with a delicious feast, it was an honor to have him join the entire Mariani clan at our family table. In fact, we’ve unofficially adopted this incredibly talented human as part of our extended family.
Ever-smiling and classically trained at The French Culinary Institute in New York City, Justin Chapple is a chef, food writer, video host, and cookbook author. He is the culinary director at large of FOOD & WINE, and is the host of the publication’s hit video series, Mad Genius Tips, which has earned him not one, but TWO James Beard Award nominations. (Go Justin!) A master at helping America’s home cooks explore and learn in the kitchen, he regularly hosts cooking segments on NBC’s Today, LIVE with Kelly and Ryan, Food Network’s The Kitchen, Hallmark’s Home & Family, and Fox’s Good Day New York, among others.
Justin may have trained at the French Culinary Institute, but he knows how people really cook at home. “One of my favorite things in the world are cookbooks. For that reason, I wrote two of them,” he says. Centered around creating approachable and delicious recipes with his classic no-nonsense flair, Just Cook It! and Mad Genius Tips! are essential cookbooks required for any home chef’s library.
Born in California, today Justin lives in New York with his husband, Jason, and their mini-dachshund Millie.
We checked in with him recently for advice for our Mariani home chef community:
What does ‘eating well’ mean to you?
To me, eating well means incorporating ingredients that are both good and good for you. It also means eating at home often. I use lots of vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, and fresh and dried fruits to develop creative, surprising, often healthy, and delicious meals.
What would you say to a home chef intimidated to try something new?
You shouldn't be scared or intimidated by cooking in general. It should be something that brings you joy, so don't overthink it. It's only food, so Just Cook It!
What is always in your pantry?
Besides Simply Dried Apricots from the Mariani Family? My pantry is never short on jarred peppers, like jalapenos, hot chili peppers, and spicy peppadews. Plus, I always have three to five types of hot sauces. You might say I'm obsessed with all things spicy.
Always an inspiration, Justin created an incredible recipe just for Mariani’s extended family (you!), which is sure to be an essential year-round, Basmati Rice Salad with Bitter Greens and Dried Pineapple “The salad is so fresh and satisfying that you don't even realize it's healthy. I think that's exactly what "eating well" should be!”, he says.
“Starring basmati rice, bitter lettuces, and Mariani Family Simply Dried Pineapple, this salad is as satisfying as it is light, with lots of playful textures. The no-sugar-added pineapple lends a delightful chew and natural sweetness that balances the tangy and vibrant Champagne vinaigrette and mixed bitter greens.”
Enjoy! I know we will!.
On Instagram, be sure to follow @justinchapple
Subscribe to Justin’s Mad Genius’s Tips on Food & Wine’s YouTube channel