While the subject of today’s interview may be a new face to fans of the show, Keith Dresser has been an integral part of the behind-the-scenes kitchen production for more than a decade. Keith has worked at the test kitchen for 14 years and has been heavily involved in the television show since season 3—he helped run the back kitchen, which is where a lot of the food you see on the show is prepared. I caught up with Keith recently and chatted about his mother’s chocolate chip cookies, getting thrown to the fire on his first day at ATK, and his role as executive food editor for Cook’s Illustrated.
What’s the first thing you learned to cook?
It was chocolate chip cookies. First starting out with my mother teaching me, and then gradually being able to do it by myself. I think baking is so much more gratifying than savory cooking when you’re young. First of all it’s sweet so it’s delicious to eat. But also, it’s easier to put those building blocks together and have a cool outcome. So it was mostly cookies and cakes and stuff like that, and then as I got older, more savory food.
Do you have a go-to dish or cuisine you like to cook at home?
I very rarely come back to the same dish over again, just because I think there’s so much food out there to make and see. There are certainly family favorites that I have memories of growing up with that I go back to. Like baked beans, which I remember having as a kid, and homey dishes like that. But I don’t know if there’s anything that I’m a true expert at. Which is kind of sad, I guess [laughs]. Maybe I should. I like to do all sorts of cooking, so nothing specific.