With plenty of wide-open outdoor space, the Alisal Guest Ranch in Solvang feels very well-prepared for the challenge of safe, socially distanced dinners. Now they’re even bringing celebrity chefs — and celebrities who’ve become chefs — to the resort for a series of dinners this fall.
Leading off the celeb-turned-chef department is Saved by the Bell star Tiffani Amber Thiessen, who parlayed her youthful acting fame into a TV series called Dinner at Tiffani’s on the Cooking Channel from 2015 to 2017 and published her first cookbook Pull Up a Chair in 2018. On October 17, she’ll be joined by Santa Ynez Valley catering pro Maili Halme and Alisal’s own Chef Anthony Endy — who recently won an episode of Beat Bobby Flay — for the next California Ranch Cookout. They’ll be followed by a plant-based cookout on October 24 showcasing Chef Kristen Thibeault from Nybll in Oakland.
Thiessen recently answered a few of my questions via email.
I don’t think many of your Saved by the Bell fans are aware of your transition to becoming a celebrity chef. When did that happen?
Well, maybe not 20 years ago, true, but in the last five to 10 years I have been cooking very much out in front, from my Food Network/Cooking Channel show Dinner at Tiffani’s to my debut cookbook, Pull Up A Chair.
Have you always been proficient in the kitchen?
I have always had a love for food and cooking. Since I was a little girl peering into the kitchen, watching all the women in my family cooking up a storm and having a great time, I wanted to be there with them, doing what looked to be fun. My love of cooking then grew as I started traveling to different countries when I was a teenager and learning about many different cultures and types of cuisines.
What are some of your favorite things to cook?
Not sure I have a favorite. I just absolutely love to cook for people I adore, being my family and friends. I also love cooking what’s in season. I think that has a lot to do with me being raised in California. I have such fond memories when I was young of going to the farmers’ markets with my mom and picking out fresh fruit and vegetables that were currently in season, then going home and cooking alongside her.
How will you collaborate with Chef Maili Halme?
Maili has been a dear friend of mine for over 15 years. She catered my wedding, and ever since we met, we became close friends. I admire her for so many reasons, but her passion for food and family I think is what truly inspires me the most. Collaborating with her at Alisal will be like two old friends cooking from our hearts for a place we adore and for people who we know will enjoy the experience.
Call (800) 425-4725 or visit alisal.com to reserve a room and tickets.
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