Michael Symon explains how to boost flavor with one simple swap, interview

(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for NYCWFF) /

While his Symon Suppers invites cooks to explore a bounty of recipes for every week of the year, Michael Symon knows that a few key ingredients can bring robust flavors to any dish. During a recent conversation with the celebrated chef, he shared how his approach to inviting all cooks to explore food and flavor has evolved over the years.

Whether people remember welcoming him to their daily lunch plans on The Chew or continue to watch him on Food Network shows, Michael Symon has set the table with approachable, flavorful feasts that people cannot wait to enjoy.

From social media to his cookbooks, easy, approachable meals have been front and center. Without sacrificing flavor, the dishes do not have to take all afternoon, nor do they require a laundry list of ingredients. It is about smart choices every step of the way.

Over the years, Symon has been a fan of Contadina and its tomato products. During a recent conversation with the celebrated chef, he referenced how the canned tomatoes always bring the best flavor to any dish. Processed at the peak of their freshness, cooks can appreciate that the consistency that every can brings to any and every recipe.

As Symon recalled from childhood, his grandmother might “cook the tomato sauce for what seemed like 400 hours.” While that might be the old school way, “the quality and consistency of the Contadina products with some fresh pasta, basil and grated parmesan” is a great way to bring dinner to the table in less time. It is simple yet never compromises on the flavor.

For more than 35 years Symon has been cooking professionally. With that experience, he can explain the technically advanced concepts that were highlighted in his book Carnivore and make concepts approachable to the newbie cook, too. No matter the scenario, one concept ties them all together, the food presented at the table is an expression of the cook’s desire to feed people with a meal that is remembered long after the last bite is enjoyed.

That sentiment is even more clear during the holiday season. While there may be a few more chairs around the table, Symon believes that the food and the gathering satisfies the comfort that people crave. The recipe might not be exactly the same as grandma’s or it might be one person’s first foray into the kitchen. As long as the best ingredients are used in the dish, people will enjoy the food served.

Since that meal often sparks a conversation, Symon encourages everyone to be open to the experience. As he shared, “I always say that the greatest lessons that I learned in life were around the kitchen table. I still believe that. When there are products like Contadina that can make it simpler to get that meal on the table for the people you care about, it makes it easier to gather, talk about the week, tell a couple of jokes, and even wonder why the Browns can never catch a break.”

While Symon’s humor is always part of his approach, there is no joking about a great recipe that impresses everyone. From a simple pasta dish to a braised pork, the options are many. It might be time to open a can of Contadina and what the flavor possibilities hold.

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