What's Cooking With Emily O'Brien

When she’s not toiling away on the set of YOUNG AND RESTLESS, Emily O’Brien (Jana) is toiling away in the kitchen, indulging in her other passion: cooking. The actress, who loves whipping up gourmet treats, has been going to culinary school for the past several months.Soap Opera Weekly: Having a hobby like this must make you quite popular with all your friends. When did you start taking classes?

Emily O’Brien: Last September, and it’s been great. I really love it. It’s a new experience. I can either get my pro chef license in April, or I can extend it to next September. I think that’s what I’m going to do.

Weekly: Were you always interested in cooking?

O’Brien: I grew up in a household where my mother cooked every single day. She’s Persian. She came out with the big pots [laughs]. So I was used to that.

Weekly: What have you learned?

O’Brien: I’m really learning the rules of the kitchen and presentation; how important it is to make your food look appealing to the customer. I would love to work in a restaurant one day. I worked in a private kitchen with professional chefs and really enjoyed it. But with my schedule and what I’m doing on THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS, I chose acting over cooking.

Weekly: Does the course you’re taking focus on any special type of cuisine?

O’Brien: It’s all cuisine, really. When we started last September, it was all classical French cooking. After April, we’re going to focus on all international cuisine. For me, French cuisine is very difficult to digest, because it’s all cream, butter and sugar. As amazing as it is, at home, I’ve been trying to incorporate a lot more Mediterranean cuisine. I’m learning to cook more with dried fruits and saffron. That’s what we eat. It’s really healthy and I love it, but it means rice with every dish. I’m trying to be more innovative and create modern Persian cuisine.

Weekly: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve made so far?

O’Brien: Well, we learned how to make braised short ribs a few weeks ago. I took the recipe and I created my own version. Personally, I like my version better, because it’s not as rich. It has more of an Asian twist to it. It has ginger and maple in it, and tastes really nice. I’m making it tonight for guests.