Holly Clegg is the star of Rush Hour Recipes and we have had the pleasure of featuring her videos and recipes on The Food Channel since 2015. Holly specializes in creating healthy recipes for busy people, offering meal recommendations to anyone from on-the-go families to cancer and arthritis patients. Holly believes that the correlation between diet and health is pertinent to a person's lifestyle, and that healthy recipes don't have to taste bad, in fact, they can be delicious! With more than 1 million cookbooks sold to date, we want to know more about Holly Clegg and the Rush Hour Recipe empire she has built.
Who were your early cooking influencers?
I recognized early on I had a passion for cooking, and through the years, I have distinct cooking influences at different life stages. As a teenager, one of my mother’s friends was a gourmet cook. She enlightened me about cooking and I would go over to her house where we would cook elaborate recipes together. After college, I went to the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in London where the focus was more on technique but gave me cooking credentials. I moved to Baton Rouge, LA, started a catering business and soon after my cookbook career launched. In the early years, I would always say, “When Paul Prudomme knew who I was, then I knew I made it!” Also, Martha Stewart opened the doors for lifestyle cooking and I have always admired her culinary skills and business savvy.
Do you have a favorite food-related childhood memory?
When I was probably seven-years-old, we went on a family vacation with two other families and each family stayed in a cabin. I remember crying because I wanted our cabin to be the one that held all of the food and where we gathered at meals! I have always loved eating and that’s my earliest recollection of my food passion.
Do you have any hobbies that inspire you outside of your daily work?
I am fortunate because my passion is my job. Cooking, testing recipes, entertaining, working on cookbooks, videos and PR are as much of a hobby as my vocation. I am my own brand and as a self-published author of my Trim&Terrific cookbook series and my more health focused cookbooks on arthritis, cancer, and diabetes, I spend a lot of time promoting my brand plus handling the business end. I have sold over 1 million cookbooks! I also enjoy going to exercise classes but I don’t want you to think I work out all the time. My motto at exercise is, “I don’t want to look that good,” so you can find me always talking a lot to my buddies in class. My family, kids, and grandkids are probably my favorite hobby--and my husband of 37 years, who is a full-time hobby!
How did you come up with the name for your show?
Today, everyone is busy and no one thinks they have time to cook. I wanted a name for my show that would resonate with all ages, from college-aged to a CEO. Rush Hour Recipes is the cooking solution to enable people to cook at home. All my recipes are healthy but mainstream healthy. The #1 comment I get nationwide is, "You already have the ingredients in your home.” I hope my show inspires home cooking.
What's your favorite thing to do when filming your show?
Easy answer - eat! We eat all of the food we film that day, no unrealistic food sprays or glosses, I want to eat everything I cook! Also, I get to share my cooking passion with so many people and hope to inspire them to cook. Once people make my recipes, they use my cookbooks because the recipes are so easy, affordable, and healthy, but, most importantly, they are delicious!
What made you write more health focused cookbooks on cancer and arthritis?
I believe there is a correlation with our diet and health - what you eat makes a difference! The focus of my Eating Well Through Cancer cookbook is on the foods best tolerated during cancer treatment, healthy recipes for survivors and cancer prevention. What’s great about this cookbook is that my Quick Potato Soup might be in the Sore Mouth Chapter but it is a recipe the entire family will enjoy. Even if you have cancer, nutritious, delicious food is important to maintain good health and energy. In my Eating Well To Fight Arthritis cookbook, my goal is to give you recipes and tools to help fight inflammation, which can lead to a host of health problems like joint pain and even heart health. Most importantly, in both of these books, the recipes are easy healthy 30-minute recipes with everyday ingredients and are also a great resource of information. You can take the condition of cancer or arthritis off the cover, and the book includes everyday family recipes.
Why is it important for you to highlight diabetic recipes in your cookbooks?
There is no such thing as a magical diabetes diet. Portion control, low sugar, and moderate healthy fat is just the healthiest way to eat. Did you know that 8% of our population is diagnosed with diabetes and over 6 million people are unaware they have diabetes? I feel it is important to include diabetic recipes in all of my cookbooks. I believe my Trim and Terrific cookbooks are the only everyday mainstream cookbooks with a “D” to highlight diabetic recipes that meet the American Diabetes Association guidelines. I include all types of your favorite recipes made diabetic-friendly and you would never know. Eating healthy is about a lifestyle, and I want to make a difference in better health, but I also feel everyone should enjoy eating.
Can you eat healthy Louisiana food, as I know you have a lot of Louisiana recipes?
Everyone loves Cajun cuisine, but it has the reputation of being high in fat and not good for you. I take advantage of the abundance of fresh seafood and local indigenous ingredients that define this special unique cuisine and create healthy Louisiana recipes. We need to include more seafood in our diet and even Louisiana crawfish is a great source of protein and low in fat. My Crawfish Etouffee is even diabetic-friendly! From gumbo to king cake, you will love my mouthwatering Cajun recipes that are about eating healthy. But not to worry as when I trim them up, I always keep them terrific without sacrificing any flavor!
To see more recipes, videos, and information about Holly Clegg, visit her blog here.