Chefs Ben Ford and Jesse Brune Share Their Top Healthy Cooking Tips

homemadesimpleAre you guys watching Home Made Simple? You should be! The third season just started on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) a few weeks ago, and it features two of our favorite chefs. Who are, um, pretty easy on the eyes.
There’s Ben Ford — head of Fords Filling Station and who has been on, like, every food show ever.
And Jesse Brune. Remember him from the reality TV show Work Out with Jackie Warner on Bravo? He’s also a lifestyle coach!
We recently got the chance to chat both of them up about the show, their favorite tricks to making a deliciously healthy meal and the biggest mistake home cooks make! You know you wanna know the answers to that last one for sure …

Interview With Chefs Ben Ford and Jesse Brune of Home Made Simple

Tell us about your new show Home Made Simple. What do you do on the show?
Ben: I have appeared twice as a guest chef on the show. This involves educating and teaching people how to create the food for whatever charitable event they are doing. We worked with a family who was very active in their community, and we showed them how to really extend the use of their home garden.
Jesse: This is my third season as a resident chef on Home Made Simple. The show is DIY to the max! While the designers and carpenters help people beautify their homes, I conquer the kitchen and support AMAZING families in creating meals that are affordable, often out of the box, and totally delicious.
What do you love most about the new show?
Ben: I truly love the teaching aspect of the show. It is very honest and straightforward. There are not many shows where you can truly affect the people you are working with, and it was great to be able to teach them something real and tangible.
Jesse: This season we have a new host, Soleil Moon Frye! Soleil brings a totally new energy to the mix, which I know everyone will really appreciate, especially the moms! Soleil is like Ultra-Mom; it was great meeting her kids on location. You can tell Soleil really walks her mommy talk.
Also, we’re welcoming a whole new wave of fantastically brilliant designers and chefs. There’s going to be so many great food and design tips that anyone with a little sense of adventure is going to feel inspired to roll up their sleeves and create some cool stuff!
If you could describe your cooking style in one word, what would it be?
Ben: Crafty.
Jesse: That’s not fair … only one word? Well, in the context of this show, my word would be: Imaginative. Boo-ya!
What’s the biggest mistake that home cooks make?
Ben: The biggest mistake that home cooks make is cooking on too low heat. Most home cooks are nervous and want to give themselves time to react to the cooking process, so they cook on lower heat. Most cooked foods can benefit from high-heat cooking.
Jesse: OVER SHOPPING. With a little planning the home chef can cut way down on shopping expenses by using the same ingredients in different dishes. So, you can create a diverse weekly menu, using the same ingredients and saving a bundle.
What are your three favorite tricks to making a healthy meal?

  • Shopping at a farmer’s market, having your own backyard garden, and cooking in season help to create a healthy meal.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t feel like you have to pile on the ingredients.
  • Cook with less butter, and really try to limit the dairy.


  • Steam the veggies! Most vegetables require about 3 minutes of steaming MAX. Overcooked veggies lose their nutritional value so less is more when cooking veggies.
  • Stay present at meals. If you turn the television off and stay present while eating, you’ll be amazed at how quickly you fill up. This can prevent over eating by cutting down on stuffing your face while distracted by what’s happening on the tube.
  • More greens. Your mom was onto something when she made you eat your veggies. Greens offer us so many nutrients and provide us with natural energy. The calories are GOOD calories and don’t generate excess fat … so, why aren’t you making room for your vegetables again?

Ben, you’ve been involved with the slow food movement. Why is it so important to you?
Ben: The slow food movement is important to me because I believe in a different pace of life, and I think that we’re better suited to the slow food movement as human beings. I believe we have lost the routines in our life that produced good cooking. We used to have a routine of going to the bakery to buy our bread, going to the butcher to shop for meats, and picking vegetables from our own backyard. Good cooking and good health requires taking your time and developing these types of practices.
Ben, how can home cooks help to bring that philosophy into their own dishes and meals?
Ben: They should turn cooking into an enjoyable routine. Get a backyard garden, visit farmers’ markets and smaller shops. Really spend time gathering your ingredients for the day and make it into something you truly enjoy. I think cooks will find the more time they spend on this, the more they will enjoy cooking.
Jesse, we remember watching you on Work Out! How has your career changed since then?
Jesse: I would say my career expanded. I definitely dove into the food world and have had the gift of traveling the world cooking and helping people really LOVE their life and feel empowered in their bodies. I also support people in going within, teaching meditation and other practices that can support them in feeling peaceful in daily living. To be honest, I LOVE my life … professionally. I take things that really inspire me and share them with other people … it doesn’t get much better than that!
What are a few of your favorite pre- and post-workout snacks?
Jesse: I’m all about the juice, baby! Ever since I got a juicer at home, my game totally changed. I love experimenting with different flavor combinations, and I always challenge myself to see how nutritious I can make something without compromising the flavor. I eat fruit before my exercise and drink green-rich juices after. Natural highs are where it’s at! 😉
Anything else you’d like to add?
Ben: It was such a pleasure working with the Home Made Simple team and host Soleil Moon Frye. I get to bring my ideas to the table, and we always get a nice show from working together.
Jesse: This is such a fun show. I really love having the opportunity to make culinary masterpieces (and trust me, they’re masterpieces) with very little cash spent. The families we work with are all so amazing and totally deserving of all the love we get to give ’em through our designs, recipes and projects. And I won’t lie, I was a HUGE Punky Brewster fan so being able to hang with Soleil was AWESOME.
Make sure to tune in every Saturday, 9 a.m. EST/8 a.m. CST to OWN to watch these two fabulous dudes on Home Made Simple! Now if only we could find a way to have them come to our house … —Jenn 

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