A Holiday Chat With David Venable of QVC
David Venable can be seen on QVC's In the Kitchen with David.
Dan: First of all David, thank you so much for taking the time to sit down with me and share some stories with the readers of Recipe4Living. The holidays are a time filled with family and friends, so what’s your all-time favorite holiday memory?
David: The first thing that comes to mind was a gift I received when I was 3 years old. I was the youngest of three, so I always got pushed to the back of the line to see what Santa left for us on Christmas morning. But that year, I remember elbowing my way into the living room and there was an orange teddy bear sitting on a chair. No one touched him, no one said a word about him…I just knew he was mine. I ran up to him, hugged him, and I had that bear for years. I couldn’t fall asleep without him.
Dan: Do you have any favorite memories related to holiday food?
David: My favorite food-related memory is revisited every single year. My family only gets together twice a year and one of those times is Christmas Eve. So every Christmas my mom makes everyone’s favorite dish. Even if we have three meats or three sides, that’s fine. My brother usually requests her sweet potato casserole. My sister requests pork pot roast, and I always ask for macaroni and cheese. We also bake Christmas cookies together as a family. It’s a wonder we have any left for Santa when we’re done!
Dan: So if you had to pick, what’s your favorite holiday recipe?
David: My mother’s Chex mix. She makes it with Worcestershire sauce, peanuts, and Chex cereal and she’s made the same recipe since I was old enough to remember. We still ask her to bring it to my brother’s house on Christmas Eve and it’s the first thing to go. There’s never an ounce left.
Dan: QVC is known for selling many items that can make the holidays just a little bit easier. What’s your current favorite QVC item that takes the stress out of the holiday season?
David: A stand mixer. Every kitchen needs to be outfitted with one and I know I really use it year-round when it comes to baking and food prep. On QVC we sell the KitchenAid, and the company has been around since 1919. It’s one of the most versatile tools you can have as well as the most durable.
Dan: Along with being stressful, the holidays can be known for sometimes being disastrous. Have you had any holiday disasters that you’re willing to share?
David: A few years ago, I was in Florida for the New Year and planned a big party. I reserved a giant room, invited dozens of people, and arranged for a plethora of catered hors d’oeuvres. At 3:30 on New Year’s Eve, the caterer called and cancelled. I was floored. So I raced to the store and bought every pre-prepared party tray I could find as well as boxes and boxes of frozen apps—and might I add that the grocery store was mobbed because it was New Year’s Eve! I just bought everything I could find, ran home, and divvied up the food among friends with instructions to heat things up before the party. Everyone pitched in some way, and it ended up being one of the best parties ever. Disaster averted!
Dan: So, what should our readers learn from your near-disaster?
David: This is true for any holiday or casual get-together, but plan ahead. A great host or hostess spends time with their guests and is not confined to the kitchen. A great host also can’t be exhausted, which will inevitably happen if they’ve pulled an all-nighter cleaning, cooking, and gift wrapping. I always seek out make-ahead recipes or those that can cook all day in a slow cooker. I do as much prep as possible the night before…make that dessert, assemble those casseroles up to the point of baking, even cut veggies and store them in water until the next day. And, of course, get lots of hands to help.
Dan: Do you have any more tips for our foodies?
David: Step outside your comfort zone one ingredient at a time. Be adventurous in the kitchen. Try new recipes. When something sounds good, study the recipe, read it though, and give it a try. Only by trial and error will you broaden your recipe repertoire and become a better cook or baker.
Dan: I can’t imagine how much fun it is to be on live TV for the QVC broadcasts. What’s one of the most memorable on-air moments that you’ve ever had?
David: One of the nicest surprises I’ve ever had was a call from my mom. It was my birthday and I was hosting In the Kitchen with David. About halfway through the show, my producer told me we were going take a testimonial call. So, I went to the phone expecting a viewer. But that viewer was my mom. And, she sang Happy Birthday to me on national television. I had no idea they had everything planned ahead of time!