The next time you're in the mood for an eyeful of goodness, tune into the CPCC network for an episode of Charlotte Cooks, the Queen City's very own cooking show, hosted by Pamela Roberts. Roberts is a Certified Executive Chef (CEC) who teaches culinary courses at CPCC. "Chef Pamela" (as her students refer to her) was one of the first female chefs hired at the Mobil 5-star restaurant La Vieille Maison in Boca Raton, Fla., and continues to whip up new culinary masterpieces every week on Charlotte Cooks.
Creative Loafing: What inspired you to sink your teeth into the food industry?
Pamela Roberts: Growing up, we [my family and I] lived in many different countries. When we lived in Japan, every Wednesday evening my mom would make a typical family meal, as would our neighbors. At mealtime, the moms would place their family meals on a tray and trade meals, so we would get a typical Japanese meal and they a typical American meal. I loved that meal exchange and wanted to learn how to make the dishes that mysteriously appeared on our table filled with exotic and wonderfully aromatic ingredients.
How did you become the host of Charlotte Cooks?
At first everyone in the department [at CPCC] took turns doing a show or two. I joined the staff in 2007. I had worked in Atlanta for Alton Brown of Food Networks' Good Eats for a season before I came to Charlotte. I learned so much about TV production, food styling, etc., that I was able to bring to our Charlotte Cooks set.
I read that you've won a lot of awards; what accomplishment has been the most meaningful to you?
The most meaningful was being chosen from 44 people nationwide to try out for the American Culinary Federation (ACF) Culinary Olympic team back in 2001. It was the most incredibly intense competition I've ever been in; everything else pales in comparison. I got what I call an "atta-boy award" for doing what I did. I have also received gold and silver medals in ACF sanctioned competitions, chili cook-offs, product recipe contests, etc. There was a time in my life where I was extremely competitive with my cooking, as if I had to prove something.