Chef Marshall O’Brien has too many irons in the fire for a sick day.
Between promoting a new book, “The Smart Nutrition Cookbook and Meal Planner,” and a Facebook Live streaming show, O’Brien doesn’t have time to be taken down by a bug.
“Mentally, I’m great. Physically, I’m fighting off a bug my kids brought home,” O’Brien, based in the Twin Cities, said Monday. “I was just saying to one of my co-workers, ‘We teach the kids proper hygiene and it really doesn’t matter. Whether you do or you don’t, you’re kind of out of luck.’ ”
He’ll be fine in time for show No. 4, airing Thursday at 7:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. “You do not need an account,” he said. “You go to Facebook and search Chef Marshall O’Brien Group or go to Facebook.com/ChefMarshallO’BrienGroup. I think we are going to continue to do this and eventually have it on a variety of platforms because we are getting positive feedback.”
Q: Since you are fighting off sickness, let me ask what the chef prepares to feel better?
A: We’ve got this awesome soup. We call it our immune-boosting soup. It has yams, shiitake mushrooms, ginger, miso, kale. It tastes fantastic and has all these great nutrients and immune-boosting properties. I also like to do a lot of winter squashes. Confetti squash has a tremendous amount of flavor, like the delicata squash. You roast them and they taste so good you don’t have to put anything on them. They have tons of beta carotene that converts to vitamin A that will support your immune system. Many great benefits.
Q: Why was now the time to write a book?
A: That’s a great question! People have been asking for more tools in the kitchen. There are a lot of motivated people who want to improve on their lives, get through the day with more energy, better mental clarity. We gave them a pathway to progress with the workbook we published two years ago. Then people said, “We need more tools, more resources.” That’s why we said, “We’re gone to put this cookbook together.” Really it’s not just a cookbook. It has recipes like a cookbook, then it teaches you how to shop, how to meal plan and how to do batch cooking. We didn’t randomly pick recipes. We focused on things you could make ahead, batch cook, grab and go.
Q: Why did you decide to livestream a cooking show on Facebook?
A: I wanted to empower people to help themselves in the kitchen and in life to make the changes they want. In the show we are giving them suggestions on how they incorporate smart nutrients in their lives. Whenever I present, I want people to walk away [thinking] “I can do this!” In the show, I try to give them all sorts of ways to accomplish a recipe, whether you use fresh or frozen vegetables, if they are going to use garlic powder instead of fresh garlic. I want to give them the assurance that it’s OK as long as you are trying to go in a positive direction.
Q: Do you remember recipes or do you always have to refresh your memory?
A: When I do a presentation, I know what I have in front of me and what needs to get done because I want them to think, “He makes it look easy.” Cooking is an art. I encourage people. If you are new and it helps you get it done by following the recipe, follow it. Once you have built some confidence and you feel capable to switch up this spice for that one, do that.
Q: When you say “Cooking is an art,” I think of Nigella Lawson. Who comes to your mind?
A: Well, she’s pretty cool. [Laughter] She makes cooking sexy. Boy, I don’t know. How about David Fhima?
Q: What unusual non-cooking book have you read lately?
A: “The 10X Rule” by Grant Cardone.
Q: Where is your favorite place to experience food with your wife and daughters, away from your home?
A: Mill Valley Kitchen. They focus on local foods. They are health conscious. It tastes great. They really care about what they are putting on the plate. The G.M., the chef are really kind; they let my kids watch [in the] open kitchen. [Laughter] They tolerate kids.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.