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Food Network star Kelsey Nixon shares kitchen secrets in an exclusive interview

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The wonderful chef, Kelsey Nixon's energy lights up a room as one hears her voice, watches her on TV or just views a photo. She is truly passionate about her craft and Nixon's exuberance is catching for anyone caught up in her aura.

The intense drive to learn, succeed and spread her knowledge led Nixon to audition for season 4 of "The Next Food Network Star". Her success as a fan favorite morphed Nixon into a celebrity chef with her own show "Kelsey’s Essentials", Executive Produced by Chef Bobby Flay. Nixon wanted the show to center on educating home cooks. She succeeded exuding fun and excitement teaching tips, kitchen necessitates, basics and techniques.

The vibrant chef, Kelsey Nixon, strives to continue to spread her passion for cooking to the masses with her newest cookbook "Kitchen Confidence: Essential Recipes and Tips that will Help You Cook Anything".

Nixon wrote her cookbook, "Kitchen Confidence", as a compliment to her show.

In an effort to further be of assistance in the kitchen Nixon wrote her book to help simplify kitchen tasks. The book is the manual for anyone of any level to use in order to gain kitchen knowledge. She breaks recipes into easy steps, showcases importance tools in the kitchen and hones in on important basic kitchen skills. Also included are over 100 wonderful original recipes to make any mouth water.

I was fortunate to interview with Kelsey Nixon and listen to her advice first-hand.

The bubbly Kelsey was happy to answer all of my questions with total exuberance that proves her confidence in the kitchen.

I questioned Kelsey "When setting out to write the book "Kitchen Confidence" what was your ultimate dream goal?"

Humbled Kelsey stated "When I got the book deal I felt so lucky and blessed" and went on to say "I wanted to create a book full of recipes that every good cook should have in their back pocket". Kelsey explained how she added her unique brand to the book; "I took familiar classic techniques and spiced them up for new interest to make the book comfortable and easy but also something new".

For those who are not experts in the kitchen Kelsey suggested "Create a signature dish to help build confidence"

As an expert on keeping it together in the kitchen I asked Kelsey "What kitchen tools are the most important for someone to own?"

Immediately Kelsey answered "Investing in quality over quantity". She emphasized that one should not be tempted by the idea that they are getting the "best value". Instead of buying a set of knives that seems like a good buy spend the money on the quality three, the chef knife, serrated knife and paring knife, that one should have in their kitchen.

Kelsey further stated "Different knives are right for different people". She strongly suggested to take a knife skills class in order to have a chance to work with different brands in order to know what is best for one when making a smart investment in a quality knife.

Just as with knives Kelsey also stated the importance to invest in quality cookware as well; "Do not purchase a cheap box set that will not last". Kelsey explained "You have to invest in good equipment to get best results, but you don't need to buy most expensive thing, just don't buy the cheapest".

Of course as a kitchen maven I queried Kelsey "What are your own favorite essentials that you keep in your kitchen?"

Just as she focuses each of her TV episode on a tip, tool and technique Kelsey answered my question.

Her expert tip: "Having an essential pantry fully stocked with dry goods and canned goods and ready to go to be cost efficient. A stocked pantry is like an insurance policy on dinner, always having ingredients ready to make a number of different meals."

Kelsey's favorite tool: "I cannot do without a bench scraper." As she explained it is not a sharp tool and is commonly used in bread making but she loves it for scooping up vegetables to transfer from cutting board to skillet and is also good to use for an easy cleanup.

Stir frying technique is a favorite essential for Kelsey explaining "Especially in summer, stir frying keeps from turning on a hot oven". She emphasized the need to use a good large skillet.

As someone who never plans meals myself I asked "What food staples should everyone keep on hand all of the time?"

Instantly answering "Canned goods and boxed goods to keep in a dry pantry". Ready with a list Kelsey stated "Along with chicken and vegetable broths, canned artichokes, beans, pasta, canned tomatoes, tuna, rice, quinoa and more exotic items such as coconut milk which is great for making curry".

Beginning her adventure as an expert in college I questioned Kelsey "What food advice do you have for those heading out on their own, whether it be a first apartment or college living?"

Again Kelsey emphasized "Quality over quantity" further answering "Slowly buy the better tools needed that will last instead of purchasing cheap sets that won't survive". She strongly suggested to save your money up to eventually get a good Dutch oven.

Expertly advising Kelsey said "Get in the habit of making home cooked meals. if you have well stocked pantry to fill in with fresh food you will always be able to make home cooked meals easily. Start it as a priority".

As a new mom herself, Kelsey is the perfect person for me to ask "What advice do you have for new parents learning how to feed their family?"

As her toddler gurgled in the background Kelsey gave a little laugh "This is an evolving question" explaining "Just as you find something that the child likes things change". Kelsey stated the need for "Making it a priority; identify and define what is important and go with your family's needs. Put an effort into planning to map out meals for the week; planning makes it easier".

An extra tip Kelsey added is "Once a month do a pantry refresh to restock and keep it stocked."

Entertaining can get costly so I thought important to ask "What would you recommend to those who want to entertain guests on a tight budget?"

Perfectly answering "Pot luck is a great way to host for a large group". Kelsey suggested "Plan to cook three things and then ask your guests to all bring something". She also added that these dinners become good conversation starters too with people trading recipes.

As a maven of kitchen tips and tricks I questioned Kelsey "How are some ways one can use fresh foods coupled with a pantry favorites?"

Most important Kelsey said "Have a list of pantry staples to be replenished monthly". As far as the fresh foods "Go with the seasons as to what fresh foods to use to fill in gaps to add accessories to dinner." Kelsey suggested "Getting fresh greens and then coupling them with pantry items such as beans. Build your meals around pantry staples and the fresh foods brings meals to life."

Kelsey Nixon's star turning adventures linking her life as a celebrity chef began innocently

Leaving home to attend Brigham Young University, Nixon soon learned that food would not magically appear making it a necessity to learn how to create dishes on her own. Inspired by the likes of celebrity TV chefs like Martha Stewart, Nixon began her own cooking show "Kelsey’s Kitchen" which she was able to get it aired locally. Her goal was to share "fast, fun, and affordable meals for college students".

Nixon mixed her two loves of food and TV to develop her own college major that in turn created a for-credit production class at the college. Using fellow students to assist with shooting and directing, Nixon starred as host, recipe developer and executive producer and began her adventure as a power in the cooking world that would not be, and could not be, stopped.

With mom now added to her resume, Nixon is working on creating new family centric endeavors.

Kelsey Nixon is now living her joyous life with husband Robby and their toddler Oliver (Ollie). She now has first-hand understanding of the need to provide for her family and child. Nixon shares her exclusive tips and knowledge with "Family Food" and "First Time Mom" in addition to her other web exclusive Ulive series.

Take pleasure in all that life feeds you and never be afraid to dance!

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