Patricia Heaton stars in ABC's critically acclaimed comedy The Middle, as Frankie, a supermom who is trying to find balance between her family and career in the Midwest. Patricia is, perhaps, best known for her role as Debra Barone on the classic series Everybody Loves Raymond. She won two Emmy Awards for the role and was nominated seven times. In addition to her Emmy wins, Patricia is the recipient of the Best Comedy Actress award from Viewers for Quality Television, a SAG Award and three SAG nominations in the Best Actress category for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond. Patricia will add another title, executive producer, to her impressive collection when Patricia Heaton Parties premieres this fall. She is a mother to four sons and lives in Los Angeles with her husband.
Q&A with Patricia Heaton
How did the series Patricia Heaton Parties come about?
Patricia Heaton Parties is a result of my early years in the restaurant industry in New York City and the dinner parties I used to throw as a young bride. Once I began working and having children, I had less time to cook, but now that they are mostly grown, I’m back to entertaining and finding new and easy ways to throw a relaxed family or friends gathering.
Which episode was your favourite to shoot and why?
It’s hard to pick a favourite episode, only because I’ve invited all my favorite people to join me! But I love sharing my popover recipes, shepherd’s pie, and in the second season, classic skinny burgers with the added twist of pancetta and fried pickles.
Throughout the show you have special guests, is there one person you love cooking for?
I love cooking for friends from work – it’s fun to gather outside the studio and show a different
side of myself.
Your series focuses on themed events, do you have a favourite party theme?
I have some young actor friends who have not seen some of my favorite classic movies, somovie night is next on my list.
In the series you move in the kitchen with a natural ease. Have you come up against any problems cooking on camera?
This second season we had a near disaster with a hot, slippery pie pan that I barely kept in hand just as Molly Shannon was coming in – but I saved it! And I regularly wrestle with the plastic wrap, which has become somewhat of an ongoing gag!
Do you come up with all the dishes you prepare in the series? Where does your inspiration come from?
I suggest most of the dishes, and the wonderful folks at Food Network supplement with their ideas. They are a really magnificent group of people from whom I’ve learned so much!
What is your favourite ingredient or dish?
I really love popovers – and they are so versatile! You can make them sweet or savory, and eat them plain, add honey, butter or jam, or fill them with roast beef.
Is there any food that you dislike and will not eat?
I don’t like squid, octopus or clams – but recently realized I love fried sardines!
Are you a self-trained cook or has someone taught you?
My cooking is self-taught, from cookbooks and now the internet. Lots and lots of mistakes have been made!
What essential items do you always have in your store cupboard?
My essential kitchen items are garlic, kosher salt, balsamic vinegar, lemons, and parmesan cheese.
How do you find time to cook at home amongst all your other projects going on?
I mostly only cook on weekends because my workdays are 12 hours long.
Do have any advice for themed party throwers like yourself? Any quick tips?
My advice is always to relax and create a menu that can be done ahead of time so you can spend most of the party with your guests, not in the kitchen!
Thursdays from 16 February at 21:00
Star of the hit show 'Everybody Loves Raymond', Patricia Heaton, brings her knack for hosting and entertaining to Food Network. Drawing inspiration from her family and travels, Patty invites co-stars, friends and family to share in her party secrets. Bringing a new twist to American favourites like a pistachio cheese log, rib-eye crostinis and peanut butter and jelly brownies, and reinventing her favourite travel foods like tapas, Patty’s got the right party food for any occasion. Come see what’s on offer at Patricia Heaton’s party!