Sunny Anderson is fearless. Whether she’s serving the country as a member
of the Air Force or eating the world’s hottest pepper, the Bhut Jolokia, she's willing to try anything. In fact her tongue is still scarred from eating a small bite of the famed pepper.
Most of America knows Anderson as the successful and vivacious host of Cooking for Real and How’d That Get on My Plate?, but her rise to cooking TV stardom was unlikely. During childhood she lived in many cities, moving frequently with her parents, who were in the Air Force. However, it was through these international travels that she was exposed to a wide range of cuisines and, with her foodie parents’ encouragement, she tried it all.
Her parents encouraged full immersion into new cultures during their travels, buying language books and even bucking traditional rules of etiquette at times. They “wanted us to learn how to eat" [in different environments], Anderson told us. In fact, one of Anderson's favorite memories occured while in Germany, where she remembers "propping [her] elbows on the table" and enjoying a beer.
One food she particularly remembers is blood sausage. Anderson told us: “[At the time], it was the most outrageous thing I ate, a sausage stuffed with blood and meat.”
Despite her interest in food, Anderson followed her parents example after graduating high school and joined the Air Force. This new role sent her traveling again, this time to South Korea, where she sampled some exotic culinary finds and found her other passion - working as a radio host for the Air Force News Agency.
Even though she enjoyed working as a radio show host, her love of food followed her and she continued cooking for friends and family. After much prodding, Anderson opened her own catering company, Sunny's Delicious Dishes.
Her home-style dishes and infectious personality were an immediate hit. Just months after starting her company she appeared as a guest chef on Emeril’s live show and was promptly offered a gig hosting How’d That Get on My Plate?. Her most recent venture is Cooking for Real, where she makes family style dishes that are as delicious as they are simple.
Now she has made Brooklyn, N.Y her home in the multiethnic neighborhood of Sunset Park. There she can find even the most exotic ingredients within blocks of her apartment and enjoys shopping at the host of boutique food shops that her area offers. Of course, her fridge is fully stocked with bibb lettuce, a defrosting block of chuck, thick slices of bacon and large quantity of fresh sauces waiting to dress up any dish.
Check out some of her recipes: