The Betty Interview: Bethenny Frankel
The outspoken chef-turned-reality star dishes with BettyConfidential about her new cookbook, pregnancy cravings, and what to expect from this season’s Real Housewives of New York City.
On The Real Housewives of New York City, you can always count on outspoken Bethenny Frankel to tell it like it is. And she’s not concerned whether her quick-witted comments get a laugh or launch a catfight — and that’s exactly why we love her. Bethenny, 39, tells BettyConfidential that the third season of the reality show, which debuts on Bravo on March 4, will involve even more wars of words with co-stars Kelly Bensimon (who recently announced she’ll be posing for Playboy’s March cover) and Jill Zarin (her newly cemented frenemy).
But right now the natural food chef is more concerned with promoting her second New York Times best-seller The Skinnygirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life, which she says was inspired by her fans. “Hundreds of thousands of people who bought my book Naturally Thin, and lost weight with it, asked for fattening recipes to be made light, like my spinach artichoke dip, lasagna and baked ziti,” says Bethenny, who was the runner-up of NBC’s The Apprentice: Martha Stewart back in 2005. “My goal is to unleash women’s inner Skinnygirls. Being a Skinnygirl doesn’t mean you need to be a size 2 or 4. A Skinnygirl eats what she wants and stops when she’s had enough. It might mean looking healthy, beautiful, and curvy in a size 10 or 14 or whatever size you wear, and feeling good in it.”
The tiny girl with the big mouth (and now even bigger bank account) is also engaged to real estate mogul Jason Hoppy, and is due to have their first child in June — remarkably timed to the debut of her new reality show Bethenny’s Getting Married? When asked why the show’s title has a question mark at the end, in true Bethenny fashion, she snaps back: “I don’t know. I didn’t put it there.” Gotta love her!
Bethenny, how is this cookbook different from most?
I realized that one of the biggest problems with cooking is that you have to go to the supermarket and buy a ton of ingredients, which is expensive and time-consuming. And the next day everything goes to waste because you bought all the ingredients just for that one recipe. So I decided to tell everybody what I do in my house, which is make things out of what I already have. So if I have avocados sitting on my kitchen counter, I decide what I’m going to pair them with. Cooking is just like fashion — you accessorize. So I give a list of use-what-you-have ingredients that can be used as substitutions in my recipes. You realize you may not have walnuts, but you may have almonds. You might not have cilantro, but you have parsley. Some of my best recipes have come from me experimenting when I didn’t have what I needed to follow a recipe.
I was making a carrot cake and I didn’t have raisins or walnuts so I threw in almonds and cranberries. It came out so much better than the original would have. That’s what I call a happy accident.