Real Housewives of New York’S: Jill Zarin

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On Food, Family, and Chef Burke

Do you enjoy cooking? I love to cook, especially with my professional friends like Chef David Burke to give me pointers. I especially enjoy Italian and Asian cuisine.

Do you frequent farmers’ markets? My girlfriend Amy Pink has her own organic farm, and she turned me on to the North Fork for the most delicious homegrown fruits and vegetables on Long Island. When it’s apple season, apple picking and the pumpkin patch are on the agenda with the grandchildren! I would love for Chef Burke to teach me how to make the perfect apple pie for my dad.

What are five staples in your kitchen right now? Diet Coke, butter, eggs, orange juice, and grapes.

Was food a big part of your upbringing? My mom isn’t a gourmet cook but she always made us delicious meals. I loved her sliced sirloin steak, and she cooked a lot of chicken dishes. We had a housekeeper from the South named Ethel who always made us fried chicken and fried rice. I can literally see and smell her cooking when I talk about her, just to show you how powerful food memories can be!

What do you think of chef Burke, not just in the kitchen but also as an innovator, businessman, and friend? His smile is contagious, his generosity is bountiful, and he lives his life paying it forward. I adore David Burke, and he makes everything he cooks look so easy!

Any memorable meals at his restaurants?
I was eating at Townhouse with friends when I accidentally popped the cap off my front tooth biting down on the shell of an Angry Lobster. However, we were having such a great time that even though I was toothless, we stayed for the rest of the meal! I do love David Burke’s cooking style because it always surprises me. Nothing is expected.

Would you recommend David Burke’s at Bloomingdales as an option for in-home entertaining? Absolutely! Since they deliver, it’s my go-to meal when I have a business meeting in our apartment. I love the boxed salads, the dumpling soup, and, of course, the fabulous popovers! The Cobb is my favorite salad and the burgers are big and juicy.

Since The Real Housewives of New York, you’ve been very busy with new ventures. What’s next on the horizon? I was born with an entrepreneurial spirit, much like David Burke was. I never know who I will meet or what ideas will come to me, but I will say that I only commit to things that I love. You can only regret the things you don’t do, not those things you do.

If you could take anyone to lunch at David Burke Townhouse, who would it be and why? The people who matter the most: my husband, Bobby; my daughter, Ally; my parents; and my sister. At the end of the day, it’s my family who’s always there for me.

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