Julia and I have worked together for 22 years and I still learn something every time I watch Julia cook. (Her knife skills are legendary in the Test Kitchen.) Julia has been a cast member of America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Country since the very beginning. But now she is adding a solo show to her resume, Julia at Home, which will be premiering on Pluto TV November 15, 2021 at 8 PM EST. In this new show, Julia aims to help busy home cooks get great meals on the table, all from her own home kitchen.
Julia Collin Davison on Her New Show and What It’s Like to Film One Solo
I thought it would be a great idea to chat with Julia about her new show, get some behind-the-scenes insight, and find out what Julia at Home means to her. And does she miss her on-camera colleagues?
Julia at HomeIn our new series, Julia at Home, premiering November 15 at 8 PM EST, Julia invites us into her home kitchen to revisit her favorite recipes and help home cooks put dinner on the table.
In Julia at Home, you revisit some of your favorite ATK recipes. Is there one from the show that is your favorite?
Julia Collin Davison: Goodness, I don’t want to sound boring, but I absolutely love a good roast chicken. In fact, I could talk for hours about roasting a chicken. It’s a very simple recipe that’s hard to perfect. In season 2 [of Julia at Home], I show how to roast two chickens side-by-side with root vegetables underneath. I mean, if you're going to roast one chicken, you might as well roast two. And if you’re going to cook two chickens in a big pan, you might as well throw a bunch of vegetables underneath to roast in the schmaltz.
How long does it take to film a single episode? Are you cooking everything yourself? And who's doing the dishes?
JCD: We film one episode, from start to finish, in one day. I cook and prep everything myself right in the little galley kitchen you see on screen. I have a couple of racks, a prep table, and a spare fridge in the basement to help keep things organized, and my dear friend Grier (who was my roommate in culinary school) helps me with all of it. Grier and I wash the dishes together at the end of the day; we spread bath mats on the counter, have a glass of wine, and turn the music up loud.
Are those your personal pots and pans and your serving bowls and platters?
JCD: Nearly all of the pots and pans are mine and most of them are well over 20 years old. The only exceptions are some of the cake pans and roasting pans, which I borrow from the Test Kitchen because I need doubles of them. The serving platters and bowls are indeed all mine and I really enjoy seeing them on camera. I have an arsenal of options in the basement (some old hand-me-downs from my mother along with others I've picked up along the way) at the ready, all wrapped in plastic wrap and organized on big racks.
One of the missions of Julia at Home is to help busy home cooks get dinner on the table. What's one piece of advice you have for those home cooks?
JCD: Planning is key to saving time and money. Figure out what you’re going to eat for at least four nights in a row and shop for that. And since many of us are working from home still, be sure to include breakfast and lunch. Then, you can be smart about reusing leftovers and prep in a way that makes sense, like turning leftovers into a great second meal, and prepping ingredients ahead of time.
What's the hardest part about filming a show solo? Do you miss your on-camera colleagues?
JCD: The hardest part is talking nonstop, even when I’m chopping and cooking. By the end of a filming day, I’ve got nothing left to say! I do miss the camaraderie of having other cooks on camera with me, but luckily the Julia at Home film crew is a fun bunch. They keep the atmosphere light and humorous.
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