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The Food Channel's Featured Chef: Eszter Vajda

An exclusive interview with the star of You, Me & Sicily

Eszter Vajda is the star of You, Me & Sicily and we've been featuring her videos on The Food Channel. She sets our mouths watering from watching the authentic and deliciously crafted dishes come to life in her videos. We had to know what was going on behind the scenes of her Sicilian life, and what factors led to her sharing her experiences and showing us how beautiful Sicily is inside and out.

Who were your early cooking influencers?

"My mother. We are Hungarian and lived in Israel and Brazil before moving to the United States. To this day she still makes the same traditional Hungarian dishes that I remember from my childhood. It's only been lately that  I truly started appreciating the amount of time and culinary skills that go into her baking and cooking."

Do you have a favorite food-related childhood memory?

"Pickles! From the time I was a toddler, I loved to eat dill pickles and I still do! Growing up in Hungary, I also loved to take crusty Hungarian bread rolls with ham and cheese to school. Also, there is a Hungarian paste called korozott (a mixture of sheep cheese or cream cheese, butter, paprika, chopped onions and caraway seeds) that you spread on bread or as a dip for vegetables. When I first arrived in the United States, I remember how the kids in school made fun of the sandwich with the smelly orange cream inside but I still kept bringing it for lunch!"

Do you have any hobbies that inspire you outside of your daily work?

"I love reading, researching, and learning about everything and anything. I also go for daily walks that help my creative process!"

How did you come up with the name for your show?

"You, Me & Sicily is all about bringing Sicily to YOU, our audience, through my experiences and well as my partner's, Alfred Zappala."

What's your favorite thing to do when filming your show?

Watching the masters in the kitchen. Whether it's a restaurant or a friend's home they all cook and bake with tremendous passion, energy, and enthusiasm"

Why are Sicilian foods and dishes different? 

"Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean and has been conquered by several nations including the Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Spanish, Austrians and others because of its strategic location and rich resources. Many of these groups left their mark on Sicilian cuisine. The soil, climate, and sun have combined for centuries to produce delicious fruits, vegetables, and nuts and of course the waters plentiful fish!"

We also have some of our favorite videos from You, Me & Sicily for your viewing pleasure. For more videos, information, and the online store check out the You, Me & Sicily website!

Featured Videos:

Seeking Ancestors in Sicily

Siracusa and Ortigia: Greek Sicily

Mamma Sicily

Ravin' Ricotta

Saint Alfio

Easy Eggplant Parmesan