Third Time’s A Charm For Food Network’s Armenian Princess Louisa Sharamatyan With New Show “Dirty Dishes”
Hi Louisa! First of all, it’s so awesome catching up with you again! Since our last conversation, how have you been coping with everything during the continued pandemic?
Thank you so much, it’s such a pleasure catching up with you too. The pandemic has definitely been a major adjustment. It has been a wake-up call for all of us to appreciate the small things we have in life. I’ve been learning how to cook better, I’ve been reading all the books I wanted to read and catching up on the good TV out there! I am currently binging on The Sopranos. Yes, I know I’ve been living under a rock, lol. Wow, I am hooked!
Even though there is a lockdown in LA right now, you have remained busy. How does it feel being back on Food Network for the third time?
I am truly so grateful to be working for Food Network again for the third time, especially during this pandemic, it really could’ve not come at a better time for me to be creative again and just be in front of the camera and do what I love to do. Of course, every precaution was taken for Covid including quarantine, Covid testing, and strict social distancing with masks being worn at all times.
I understand that you’re back with Domaine, your fellow recruit from the same season and now close friend. How does it feel to work with her again? And tell us about your new show together “Dirty Dishes”. How did this all come about?
Working with Domaine again has been a dream. We are like two peas in a pod, we just have a natural chemistry on and off set. “Dirty Dishes” has been so much fun to work on. Domaine was actually part of the creative process which is super cool and impressive. Once Food Network brought me on, I too helped Domaine produce the episodes. I love the concept of “Dirty Dishes” because we are at home, comfortable, just catching up and watching our favorite show “Worst cooks in America”, reacting to funny episodes and eating delicious food.
I was so excited to introduce Domaine to a few of my favorite Armenian dishes like Tolma, Xashlama (Ox Tail Soup) Armenian BBQ, and the classic Armenian wrap called “Brtuch” made with Lavash (Traditional Armenian Bread). We can’t forget the yummy desserts and fruits like Gata (sweet bread) pomegranates and dried fruits. This one is probably my favorite episode. You should check it out on discoveryplus.com
I’m aware you also attended Culinary School, but decided to discontinue with that. What made you reach this decision?
Yes, I attended the Institute of Culinary Education (the former Le Cordon Bleu) and it was a life-changing experience. Alex Guarnaschelli used to teach there so I was very excited about attending. They truly did welcome my zero cooking skills. After attending for about two months, I realized that it wasn’t the right fit for me. It was too fast paced for me. I absolutely loved my professor chefs, staff and the students were awesome. I learned so much about the different types of cooking techniques, I was truly blown away and I’m so grateful for this experience.
I still keep in touch with a few of the classmates, even today. Ultimately, I realized the best decision for me is to learn at home from my mom. I can’t learn in a traditional classroom setting anymore. I feel like my college years are over. While attending it was also difficult to balance my career in entertainment and classes, so I think the timing was off. Maybe one day I will return but for now, I have other projects I am working on. I did leave with some amazing knife skills though!
How has being on a national food network show changed your life?
It’s a very proud moment for me to be on national television for the 3rd time. Being a minority, my parents are so proud. I am a child of immigrants and my parents came to America to strive for a better life for their children. I am just so honored to be on a network that honors who I am, my culture, my heritage, and my features.
It’s funny because now everyone thinks I’m this food expert but I have to remind them which show I was on, but my love of food overpowers that — not to say that I haven’t progressed or not to say that I’m not working on my cooking skills, but it’s nice when people acknowledge that. I am a work in progress and I love the rhythm I am in. Food is an ever-evolving thing and it’s a journey, not a destination. I like when strangers come up to me and say “We love watching you on Food Network, did that really happen”? and I say, “Yes it did, no faking here.”
What are your experiences like working with food now?
For one thing, my appreciation of food has completely changed, even more so for my culture. Being Armenian, food is a big part of our heritage so it made me look deep into our traditions and our community and see how much time and respect goes into preparing certain dishes. Everything starts in the kitchen. The most important special conversations in life almost always takes place over dinner. Everything is discussed over food. Here I go comparing everything to The Sopranos again, but it’s the truth! Food is Life!
Food Network truly ignited the passion in me that I apparently had all along. I was always so intimidated of the kitchen but now I am embrace it in every way possible. I’ve replaced my intimidation with curiosity. I document every part of the cooking process now and I am absolutely fascinated. I love filming my mom cooking or I have her film me. I love adding special music with the dishes that we are preparing, it just brings me so much joy. I am always posting foodie videos on my social media. I constantly get asked to share recipes. It’s a nice way to connect with people who love the art of food. I love colorful food, I love researching different types of restaurants and figuring out what their main dish is and what the hype is all about. This is a lifelong love affair.
What is one of your most favorite dishes to make?
For now, I love making salads and pasta. I love to make Tabbouleh (Vegan Lebanese salad) with my mom so I can show off my newly acquired knife skills. I love chopping up fruits and veggies, I can literally do it for hours. I chop up onions just for fun and store them in the fridge for later use. It’s very therapeutic for me. I love making breakfast too. There is something about cracking eggs in the morning and hearing them cook that brings me joy. I am still very much a beginner in the kitchen but I try to take risks all the time. The other night I cooked stuffed fish in the oven and it came out amazing. I am having so much fun experimenting with different types of seasoning and the importance of it.
What is your best piece of advice for other cooks wanting to be on a show like yours?
The best piece of advice I have to say is to just go for it! Choose a show you can truly relate to. It can’t be a struggle for you because the viewers at home will pick that up. It’s important that you feel naturally connected to the show and it won’t be hard work for you. Much of these reality competition shows just ask that you be yourself first, and confident with the things you know and don’t know. The viewers at home need to be able to relate to you. That’s how you will bring them joy and make them smile.
You have to take the risks because if you don’t, you’re never going to know where you’ll end up. I never thought that I would go from “Worst Bakers” to “Worst Cooks” and to now being on their newest show “Dirty Dishes”. So really you have to take the first step and jump in with both feet — and always remember, it’s never over night!