You probably know Erin McMurrer as a cast member of Cook’s Country TV, but this year she’s joining the cast of America’s Test Kitchen for the 2017 season. When Erin isn’t cooking in front of the camera, she’s busy in her role as the test kitchen director. I caught up with Erin to chat about her early days in the food industry, her transition from fine dining to publishing, and what it’s been like to switch from one TV show to the other.
What’s the first thing you learned to cook?
I know this is funny, but home ec class in junior high and high school was 100% my focus. I just really loved it. One of the things I remember learning was a turkey braid. It’s basically deli meat, frozen vegetables, mayonnaise, and mustard—you mix it all together and then you braid the croissant around the filling and bake it. It’s definitely not glamorous, but it was something I was actually allowed to make as a kid.
I also worked at a little clam shack throughout high school, mostly front of the house, but with some cooking as well. I worked there all the time—even in the winter, when there was barely any heat. I knew that I loved food early on based off of that job, based off of home ec, and based off of cooking at home.
Do you have a specific cuisine you like to cook more often than others?
I worked at [beloved Boston fine-dining restaurant] Hamersley’s Bistro for eight years and the owner Gordon Hamersley really took me under his wing and taught me everything. I started out plating desserts and I left as a sous chef. Gordon was all about using pure, simple flavors and making them work together, like in a perfect roast chicken. That really stuck with me.