Amanda Neal

Photo by: Armando Rafael

Armando Rafael

Recipe Tester

What do you do on a daily basis?
I am responsible for testing recipes that our recipe developers and Food Network talent create for Food Network Magazine.

Who is your culinary icon?
Dorothy Cann Hamilton. She was such an influential woman in the culinary industry and her innovative vision for culinary education paved the way for many students, like myself, to dive head first into professional cooking.

Who is your favorite food TV personality, past or present?
Emeril Lagasse is my favorite TV personality and chef because I completely fell in love with cooking by watching him as a child. Bam!

What's your favorite cookbook?
All of Yotam Ottolenghi’s books, including Nopi and Plenty. The recipes use classic techniques but produce very innovative flavors and textures. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the photos are stunning.

What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?
Raw oysters. I love clams, mussels and shellfish as a whole. It’s just a texture thing for me when it comes to raw oysters.

What's your favorite condiment?
Spicy brown mustard — what’s not to love?

What's the first dish you learned to make?
The first dish I learned to make was chocolate chip cookies. My mom loves to bake, and I have many fond memories of baking with her as a kid.

Sweet tooth, salty tooth or both?
I’m definitely a lover of salt, acidity and spice; savory all the way!

What kitchen tool can't you live without?
A rubber spatula is my go-to kitchen tool.

What music do you like to listen to in the kitchen?
When I’m cooking, I love to listen to upbeat music that I can sing along to, no matter the genre.

What's your favorite food scene from a movie?
My favorite food scene is from the movie Ratatouille, when Remy makes ratatouille for the first time. I love how even a silly cartoon can show the emotional connection humans (an animals) have to food.

What's your favorite alcoholic beverage?
Vodka and cranberry with a twist of lime

If you weren't in food, what career would you have liked to have tried?
I’m an animal lover, so any career where I could help animals would be awesome.

What's your favorite "food city" to visit?
New York! You can get every type of cuisine at any hour of the day. NYC is the ultimate foodie town.

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