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The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the taste. And Alton Brown — known for his kitchen lab experiments and scientific approach to cooking, gives a great (and simple) recipe for chocolate pudding. Get his other pudding recipes from Food Network

Pudding Ingredients
1 3/4 cups Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix (Recipe Follows)
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place 1 3/4 cups of dry pudding mix into a medium saucepan. Add milk and heavy cream and whisk to combine. Over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil, continuously whisking gently. Reduce heat to low and cook for 4 minutes while continuing to whisk. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour the mixture through a sieve and into individual dishes or a 1 1/2-quart serving dish. Cover the surface of the pudding with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator to chill completely before serving, approximately 4 hours.

Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
3 ounces Dutch-processed cocoa, approximately 1 cup
2 ounces cornstarch, approximately 1/2 cup
6 ounces confectioners’ sugar, approximately 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 ounces instant non-fat dry milk, approximately 1/2 cup
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl or plastic container with a lid, combine the cocoa, cornstarch, sugar, instant non-fat dry milk, and salt. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Yield: 3 1/2 cups dry mix

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Here’s the closest thing most of us will ever get to asking Wolfgang Puck to be our personal chefs — ordering his special broths. Keep in your pantry and add new life to your soups and stews. You can also open the can, pour contents into an ice cube tray, and freeze. Then you can have chunks of broth for sauteeing vegetables or meat. Yum!

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Pastry chefs from some of Washington’s finest restaurants and bakeries recently kneaded dough, whipped cream, deep-fried batter and iced concoctions for… dogs.

Or more accurately, for animal welfare workers and the dogs they rescue. And they didn’t just throw together leftovers and beef bones, eithers. “Treats” included cake, French champagne and shiraz, and special pastries shaped like rabbits and hearts for the pups.

See the full menu made by over 5 critically acclaimed chefs

Sugar and Champagne, as the fund-raising evening is called, was started by Ellen Gray, who runs Washington’s Equinox restaurant with her chef-husband Todd. She was inspired by a show about animal welfare police. “I was in tears by the end of the show and called the Humane Society to ask if I could do something to thank these people for the thankless task they do. They have such a dirty, mean and nasty job, and what’s the polar opposite of that? The luxury taste of sugar, champagne and fancy desserts.”

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James Beard, considered by many as the Father of American Style cooking, would frown on the calorie counting. “A gourmet who thinks of calories is like a tart who looks at her watch.”

This could largely stem from his own eating habits. “In a time when serious cooking meant French Cooking, Beard was quintessentially American, a westerner whose mother ran a boardinghouse, a man who grew up with hotcakes and salmon and meatloaf in his blood,” says one food writer.

It didn’t hurt him. He died at the ripe old age of 81 after a full life, and with a full tummy.

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Nigella Lawson isn’t bothered by criticism that she doesn’t have a right to tell people how to cook. “Gordon Ramsay makes me laugh because he knows that I’m not a chef,” she says. “I see paparazzi shots of me with no make-up, wearing trainers, not holding in my tummy, and I hate it, but it would be unbearable to worry about it all the time.”

Besides, she feels what people say don’t matter as much as what you believe.
“if you know that something has been really vicious, you don’t read it, you don’t let it into your head. What’s damaging is when sentences go through your head and you burn with the injustice of it.”

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Wolfgang Puck is one of the most famous and well respected celebrity chefs. But he’s had his share of failure.

He just doesn’t let it get to him. “I learned more from the one restaurant that didn’t work than from all the ones that were successes.”

He doesn’t really care much about the intrigue and competition that comes with being in the culinary industry. “Only you can judge your life. You have to live up to your own expectations.”

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“I invented ‘it’s a good thing’ before you were even born!” says Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart, of her long career and a media empire that young TV chefs may try to compete with, but never quite topple.

The secret to her success? A near-insane work ethic, for one. “I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing.” But she does sleep. Sort of. “I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it’s not a waste of time.”

As for attaining work life balance: “I have a microphone on one ankle and an ankle bracelet on the other, so I’m well balanced today.”

But seriously, for Martha, it’s al labout high standards. “I think it’s very important that whatever you’re trying to make or sell, or teach has to be basically good. A bad product and you know what? You won’t be here in ten years.”

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Did you know that Emeril Lagasse almost became a musician?

“I ended up turning down a full scholarship of music at the conservatory to pay to go to cooking school,” he said. “If you don’t follow your dream, who will?”

He still loves music, though. “Music is one of those things that is constantly going in my head all the time. It’s sort of like the evolution and creation of doing food, or my philosophy about wine. It’s always beating in my head, so it keeps the spirit moving.”

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Words of wisdom from Alton Brown:

“Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are,
somebody’s going to get hurt.”

Don’t you just love this man?

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Bobby Flay has gone from chef to cupid. He has just announced a new show: “Early Show S.O.S.: Bobby Flay — Help Me Propose!”

Viewers are invited to send in videos explaining why they’re nervous about proposing. The lucky ones will get a visit from the tv chef, who’ll help create the perfect stage to pop the question.

So go ahead — tap the services of a top chef.

Diamond Ring not included.