FINDING FOOD AS LIFE’S FIX
After years of studying, researching, cooking and entertaining, Chef Claire Robinson brings her passion for food, tremendous smile and signature style to television as the host of Food Network’s 5 Ingredient Fix. Since the show premiered in April 2009, Claire’s warm vibe and natural charm allow viewers to connect with her as if they’ve been friends for years.
A YOUNG LOVE AFFAIR WITH FOOD
Born in Jacksonville, FL, Claire and her family lived in Houston and New Orleans before settling in Memphis, TN. As a girl, she preferred the soothing sounds of the kitchen to cartoons and was glued to the television watching her icons Julia, James and Jacques create magic on screen.
Claire’s grandfather served as President of the University of Memphis, and her grandmother assumed the role of event planner and fundraiser. She loved to “fudge” the details – while she was not a cook, she was an amazing businesswoman, entertainer and social butterfly. Claire learned everything about entertaining from her grandma, including how to pull off the delicate balance between presentation, ease and home-cooking with grace.
Claire’s mom, a painter with an affinity for world travel, always encouraged her to cook. She was allowed to freely experiment in the kitchen as her mom recognized this passion as her own form of art. The family always had dinner together, even when Claire preferred to be out with friends. Her mom’s recipes reflected her globetrotting days - dinner was roasted chicken with mashed potatoes one night, lamb shish kabobs with tahini and couscous the next, followed by homemade pizzas topped with “foo foo dust” which was code for ground fennel seed.
Claire’s style is a result of learning from a classic entertainer and a do it from scratch, all-natural bohemian. She takes the best parts of these women, along with her French culinary education, and her wholesome and delicious 5 ingredient approach, which keeps it simple and attainable for everyone.
During her school years, Claire studied hard to achieve straight A’s. She knew that with a good report card, the reward was dinner at the restaurant of her choice, which ranged from the finest dining to the “grub” at her favorite local dive.
Though she longed to attend culinary school, her family’s history with academics and careers affiliated with education, led her down a different path. Claire enrolled at the University of Memphis where she worked several jobs to get her through her college years. At Maggie’s Pharm, a specialty boutique, she learned to appreciate the amazing flavors, scents and uses for exotic herbs and spices – a love she applies to her cooking today. In 1999, she received her B.A. in Communications.
Post graduation, Claire gained behind-the-scenes media experience at Memphis’ CBS affiliate, WREG-TV, and at WMC-FM radio. At Tiger Sports Properties, a sports marketing agency, Claire handled promotions for The University of Memphis’ athletic department.
TIME FOR CHANGE
In 2002, Claire questioned her career path after losing two of the closest people in her life in the same month: her grandmother and her brother, Elijah. Inspired by his extreme “go-getter” attitude, Claire decided to adopt Elijah’s outlook on life and reexamine her own. At that moment, she couldn’t imagine settling and realized she’d “rather fail at doing what she loves.” She decided to enroll at The French Culinary Institute and move to New York City. Excited that her peers came from all over the world, Claire found study hall just as enlightening as the coursework itself. She graduated in November 2005.
PRIMED FOR TV
After leaving FCI, Claire worked in food production, while also moonlighting as a private chef. The hands-on experience of working on shows like Food Network’s Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello and PBS’ Everyday Baking from Everyday Food allowed her to polish her culinary skills. Among other responsibilities, she developed recipes, scripts, and show themes – all of which would come in handy for her own show.
Recognizing her on-screen potential, she teamed with a producer and developed a pilot. “It was hard for me to keep quiet while someone else talked,” Claire confesses of her behind the scenes work. With interest from several networks, it wasn’t long before she joined Food Network’s family.
FINDING HER FIX
Having worked with Food Network via her previous production jobs, Claire’s food education, TV experience and effortless sense of style (as showcased with her custom-designed aprons) proved a natural fit for their programming. 5 Ingredient Fix was born, which showcases minimal, high quality ingredients, illustrating Claire’s belief that each ingredient should truly stand out in a recipe. Sharing dishes like Lamb Chops with Mint Almond Pesto and Sea Scallops with Saffron Aioli, Claire seamlessly minimizes fuss and maximizes taste while promoting healthy eating and inspiring fearless cooking among her viewers.
Each day Claire brings her playful personality to the set, creating a stress-free work environment for the crew. Thanks to her “Dirty Joke of the Day,” she is often caught in mid-laugh when the cameras begin to roll. Even her French Bulldog Newman, gets in on the action, making occasional cameo appearances. When Claire isn’t in the kitchen, you can find her skydiving, boxing or slalom waterskiing.