Manouschka Guerrier is a former model who got her curves back and went on to become one of Hollywood’s premier celebrity chefs. Best described as the “Carrie Bradshaw” of cooking, Manouschka brings fashion and personality to food, and is equally as at home in her Louboutins as she is in her apron and cooking mits!
Manouschka most recently appeared on two seasons of Food Network’s “Private Chefs of Beverly Hills”, which is currently airing in over 10 countries. She also appeared in “My OWN Time” brand interstitials for the OWN Network, and made a guest appearance on E!’s “Giuliana and Bill”.
On SingleServingBytes.com, Manouschka chronicles her single adventures with people, food, drinks & all the FAB-U-LE$$ meals she whips up in between, teaching other singles how to serve up chic, easy and affordable meals. She is one of the first celebrity chef contributors to Apple’s recent iPad App of the Week APPETITES. Manouschka learned all she knows about cooking from her mother, Jacqueline, and from her professionally trained Haitian grandmother, Olga.
Q&A With Manouschka Guerrier
BS: What age did you begin cooking? When did you realize it was a niche? How did you harbor that niche and grow it into an empire?
Manouschka Guerrier: Growing up my first introduction in the kitchen was when my Grandmother & Mother would make me WATCH when they cooked. No hands on training just watched. So I guess that started when I was a baby. I didn’t have a babysitter or a nanny so my baby seat was propped right up on a chair or the counter while they were cooking. When I was 10, I finally felt the urge to cook something, by that time I was only making sandwiches & calling myself a cook, I made Chinese Fried Rice for my little brother… it was a DISASTER which he STILL loves to taunt me with, HA! I realized cooking & entertaining was my passion when I was 18 & living on my own & I would throw these elaborate dinner parties & my friends would just say that I wasn’t normal because every detail from the menu to plating to table setting was just so elaborate they felt for my age & doing this all alone was kind of weird. However, when invitations went out best believe EVERY single one of them showed up for one of my dinner parties! HA! Acting/writing/performing was ALWAYS my niche, cooking was my therapy so when an Australian Actress friend of mine, Katie Fisher, asked me to cater a dinner party for her & some people from Jimmy Choo & offered to pay me $400 I was like GET OUT… I can get PAID for this?!?!? So I started my own little catering business called “To Serve With Love” about 9 years ago, but gave up on it once the responsibilities became too much 2 years later.
BS: How did you come up with the “Single Serving” concept?
Manouschka Guerrier: Almost 4 years ago, it was inspired by a really embarrassing break up, loss of a job I had for 9 years at a Hollywood hot spot & a film I was supposed to star in one week before fell through. Oprah had been touting to her viewers to read “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle. I have ADHD, it’s VERY difficult for me to read. I had some girlfriends going off to Honduras to chase whale sharks… I’m Black, I’m not jacking up my $1,000 weave & there’s no way in he-YELL I’ll be anywhere near a shark so I tagged along just to read the book. 10 chapters, 10 days a chapter a day & an accompanying pod cast.
The next day when I got back from Honduras all sun burnt & LOVING this whole concept of living in the now, I get a call from my girlfriend asking if I wanted to drive up to Vegas with her THAT afternoon. I figured I’ve got no movie, no job, no man & this $1,000 weave is still looking good why not? I’m living in the now. Long story short she brought a few items with her from her fridge, I mean it was basically like a basket from Chopped, I made dinner she had some friends over & they FREAKED out saying that I needed my OWN cooking show. At that point I never even WATCHED a cooking show in my life, I always thought it was “stoner tv” what’s interesting about watching food you can’t eat.
The next day I turned on my TV and began to view the Food Network. There was a Chefography Marathon on & I was RIVETED I found my calling. I ended up staying in Vegas for three weeks cooking for my girl & all of her friends, they were all back up dancers for Cher. The last week I was there I got to meet Oprah when she was in town doing a show on Cher & Tina Turner & I got to thank her for the book & helping me find my calling. She wished me well on my journey. I came back home with a purpose. Shot my own pilot, started a blog & a catering company all under the name of Single Serving, inspired by my breakup & the fact that there wasn’t a single program geared to people cooking for one. A little over a year later I’m on the Food Network, 2 1/2 years later I filmed two segments for OWN… talk about FULL circle, Mate.
BS: How do you continually improve your culinary skills?
Manouschka Guerrier: I spend A LOT of time online & hanging out with local Chefs I admire. Soon I’m going to intern at this hip butcher shop in town to learn the art of butchering… I’m so STOKED! I have over 120 cookbooks I love to skim through for inspiration. I’m DYING to travel the world & learn from the greatest chefs out there. I didn’t go to Culinary School & I have so much to learn. I’m hoping to set out for my culinary adventure by this Summer, Fall the latest. Wish me luck!
BS: How do you incorporate your culture into your daily cooking regime?
Manouschka Guerrier: It’s in EVERYTHING I do! First of all, in the Haitian culture we wash our meats with limes under water. Hey, it may be superstitious but I just hear my Mother & Grandmother screaming at me in my head to “wash my meat”… in Creole, naturally & they don’t PLAY. So that’s number one. We’re also meticulous marinators… see I made up a word, I LOVE doing that. We LOVE marinating our meats, fish & poultry. Also no matter what cuisine I cook, be it Italian, Japanese or French I always sneak in Haitian seasonings & techniques.
BS: What has been your most memorable and rewarding experience as a chef?
Manouschka Guerrier: It was probably for an episode of a show titled “Foodzilla”. We had to work for an EXTREMELY demanding client. She hated EVERYTHING we were doing before even trying it. She tried a cocktail sauce my Chef partner was creating, of COURSE she hated it so I had to wing something on the fly & I used sriracha & pikliz which is like a Haitian hot salad/slaw. I got to explain what pikliz was on camera & she LOVED it, this was right after Haiti’s earthquake so my family & fellow Haitian people were really PROUD to see something of ours showcased, embraced & explained on National tv… so rad!
BS: What advice do you have for aspiring chef’s? How can they attract their ideal clientele?
BS: What are 5 most essential things every chef should know?
Manouschka Guerrier: 1. Mise en place. 2. A sharp set of high end Chef knives, a pressure cooker, mandoline, microplane & Le Creuset Cast Iron French Oven are your BEST friends! 3. A Chef should ALWAYS be hungry to LEARN more. American cuisine, compared to the rest of the world, is still in it’s infancy. The more we learn & expand our culinary knowledge, the more bold & exciting flavors we create heightening our culinary game, venture out. 4. TASTE YOUR FOOD! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Chefs do this or at home cooks following recipes to a T, without finding out what works for them, what doesn’t, as well as what can be added or omitted. 5. Use seasonal, local ingredients & DEFINITELY grow your own herbs! My full name is Manouschka “The Plant Killer” Guerrier & even I successfully grow my own herbs.
BS: What new projects will you venture towards?
Manouschka Guerrier: Still working in LA as a Private Chef & Catering. I also signed a development deal for my own docu-series, with RelativityREAL. It’s my DREAM project & I’m so stoked to have this opportunity with such a wonderful production company. I also created my own Sh*t Girls Say Meme to promote my Single Serving brand & stance on being a HAPPILY Single Girl called “Sh*t Married Chicks Say… to Single Girls” you can check it out here on YouTube: