With New Cookbook, Chef Christopher Styler Wants You to Eat Like 'The Golden Girls'

by Steve Duffy

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday November 7, 2020

Chef Christopher Styler is an unabashed fan of "The Golden Girls" and combines his admiration for the show and its iconic characters with his professional skills with "The Golden Girls Cookbook" EDGE spoke to the accomplished Styler about his book and his affection for the girls.

"I've spent my life in kitchens: in restaurants from Colombia to Italy and from Manhattan to Los Angeles; magazine test kitchens and corporate r&d labs; in my grandmother's kitchen and my own," writes Christopher Styler on his website. "I can't imagine anyplace else I'd rather be."

One place Styler would love to have been was the fictional kitchen on the iconic series "The Golden Girls," made famous by the late-night kvetching sessions that would often find Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia sitting at the kitchen table eating cheesecake.

"The kitchen (and the food) was easily the fifth character in the show," reads publicity material for his recently released "The Golden Girls Cookbook." "Those four women celebrated with food, they reminisced with food, and they solved each other's problems over food." The book was published on September 29, 2020, the 35th anniversary of the show's premiere.

Cooking, though, isn't something necessarily associated with the four LGBTQ fan faves. Only Sophia appeared to have cooked on the show; Blanche and Dorothy would be right at home with UberEats; and Rose, as Styler points out in the interview below, often came up with "crazy concoctions" that "you wouldn't want to cook or eat."

But being an unabashed "Golden Girls" fan, as well as an accomplished chef, teacher, culinary producer and author with over 30 years of experience in the food world, Styler mined the show for cooking references and has come up with a 90-recipes accompanied by photos by The New York Times food photographer Andrew Scrivani, along with Iquotes, info, and photos from the beloved show.

Christopher Styler

Previously Styler wrote a cookbook about another iconic series with his "Desperate Housewives Cookbook;" he has also written a number of other cookbooks, along with being a culinary producer on 9 PBS and Food Network television series. And has worked in kitchens from Italy to Martha's Vineyard, from Manhattan to Bogotá, Colombia.

"'Witty and approachable' fans of the long-running classic will find recipes for everything from drinks and appetizers, to salads and mains," writes a report about the book on Yahoo News. "And of course, some amazing cheesecakes. (Did you know that the ladies reportedly ate more than 100 cheesecakes over the course of the show?)

"Look forward to Italian meals like Clams Fra Diavlo in Sophia's chapter, and Southern food like honey-bourbon glazed carrots in Blanche's. You'll also get instructions on Rose's favorite Scandinavian dishes, like St. Olaf Friendship cake, a simple, buttery treat."

EDGE: Please tell us a little about you.

Christopher Styler: I am a chef by trade, who branched out to cookbook writing, television culinary producing and all matters of food media.

EDGE: Why did you decide to write a 'Golden Girls' cookbook?

Christopher Styler: They are absolutely my favorite show to watch. I just love them! It was my husband who got me hooked on the show. I had written a 'Desperate Housewives' cookbook, which is now owned by Disney. So, when they reached out and asked me to do it, I jumped at the chance.

Rue McClanahan, Beatrice Arthur and Betty White on "The Golden Girls"

EDGE: How did you determine which recipes to include?

Christopher Styler: Sophia was easy. She is the only one who really cooks during the show. Rose was always making her crazy concoctions, so that was an easy decision. Except for some of the things that she describes you wouldn't want to cook or eat. When one of the girls mentioned something specifically, I made sure that it went into the book. That was a little more difficult with Blanche and Dorothy, because they never really cooked. I didn't do so much as a literal translation of what they may have cooked, but I was going for their personalities.

EDGE: I am sure a lot of time goes into creating a recipe. Who are your taste testers? And how seriously do you take their feedback?'

Christopher Styler: I always take people's feedback very seriously, especially when I am working on a cookbook. Part of the process for me is to have people over to taste the recipes and get their immediate reaction. I also send recipes out to people who are reasonably good cooks, who are not professionals. I have them walk through it and then tell me what worked and what didn't. I do test all my recipes at least twice, but in the case of the herring surprise, I tested that a few times.

EDGE: Why are TV show-themed cookbooks so popular?

Christopher Styler: I think it is just another way for the fans to stay connected to their favorite shows and their favorite characters.

EDGE: Who is your favorite Golden Girl and why?

Christopher Styler: That's a loaded question. I love them all for different reasons. I am most like Dorothy. I feel this bond between the two of us. I am very pragmatic, organized, and sarcastic just like her.

Estelle Getty, Beatrice Arthur, Betty White and Rue McClanahan on "The Golden Girls"

EDGE: If you were going to make a dessert after each Golden Girl what would you make?

Christopher Styler: I would make the St. Olaf Friendship cake with Blanche and her Southern roots. I naturally would go for a pecan pie and a mint julep ice cream. I would make anything Italian for Sophia. For Dorothy, she is a pragmatic and progressive woman, so she is Oatmeal Raisins cookies.

EDGE: How many times did you watch the series to grab the food bits out of each episode?

Christopher Styler: Having watched the series so many times, I definitely remembered a lot of things. However, when I was writing the cookbook, I did watch the first 4 seasons and I kept my notes in an Excel spreadsheet. I was keeping track of the name of the dish, who cooked it and what episode it was in.

EDGE: As someone who has also taught cooking—what are the most important keys to success for the home cook?

Christopher Styler: 1: Read the recipe from beginning to end before you do anything. 2: Get everything you need together before you start cooking, because halfway through is not the time to find out that you ran out of something, and 3: Try to picture it as you are making it. And, relax! Cooking should be fun!!!!

EDGE: Do you have a favorite dish that you make?

Christopher Styler: I haven't done it in a really long time but, a huge Sunday dinner. A nice big Italian dinner with all the fixings. I love making a big pot of gravy filled with meatballs and sausages and having all my friends over for dinner, drinks, and laughs.

"The Golden Girls Cookbook" is available on Amazon and other booksellers.

For more information about Chris visit, visit his website.

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