Interview: PBS’ Julie Taboulie

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We chatted with the cookbook author and host of ‘Julie Taboulie’s Lebanese Kitchen’

Taboulie started cooking at a young age. 

Recently, I traveled to Syracuse, New York and met Julie Taboulie (Julie Ann Sageer), a chef who has her own national PBS TV cooking show. She cooked a delicious Lebanese meal for me and we talked about her background, style of cooking, and “Team Taboulie.”

The Daily Meal: How did you get into cooking?
Julie Taboulie: I started cooking at a very young age beside my Mother. As a young child as I was always perched upon a chair and observing over her shoulder, closely watching her fast hands at work,

Do you have a specialty dish?
I cook with the seasons. I feel as though for every season I have several specialty dishes that I love to delve into during that specific time of year. The seasons serve my spontaneity well.

Do you prefer a particular style of cooking?
I prefer a Mediterranean style of cooking. I love to cook light and lively food, full of fascinating flavors that make you feel good from the inside-out. First and foremost, I cook fresh.

What kind of atmosphere do you create in the kitchen?
I am an eternal optimist. I believe in putting forth positive and encouraging energy in the atmosphere, around myself and towards others in the kitchen. I feel that I perform my best in a positive state of mind. I also feel that others progress successfully in this type of aspiring atmosphere where the idea that anything is possible is actually possible.

What do you look for when you hire other chefs to assist you in the kitchen?
A good person. Positive personality and outlook on life. Treating others well and in the way in which they would want to be treated. I look for other chefs to be passionate people, professional and progressive. My mother is my right hand and master chef in the kitchen. She assists in me all aspects of my culinary career; she is my executive culinary producer for my cooking show series, performances and special events, and all things Julie Taboulie, so I feel unbelievably blessed to have her by my side both in and out of the kitchen.

Have I missed anything that you feel is important that you would like to add?
I think that it is important to share that I wouldn’t be able to do what I am doing without the strength of my support system, a.k.a. “Team Taboulie.” I think it is important to surround yourself only in the company of others that believe in you and genuinely want you to be the best that you can be and to do your best.

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How do you plan your television shows?
Each dish has a story and it’s my job tell that story. I’m always thinking about my audience throughout the planning stages, pre-production, production and post production process. Thinking about what types of food they would enjoy with their family and friends, thinking about what they would like to see in Mama’s Glorious Garden, thinking about what places and spaces would inspire them to visit for themselves.