We spoke with the MasterChef Junior judge and host of Dish on Oz to learn about her favorite kitchen gadget, her trick to eating healthy and more.
Daphne Oz
Elizabeth Pettey Photography
| Credit: Elizabeth Pettey Photography

Daphne Oz is one of the newest judges of MasterChef Junior and hosts of The Dish on Oza food segment on the popular TV show Dr. Oz. In her exclusive interview with EatingWell, she talks about her love for pizza, weekly baking projects with her four kids and what she's grateful for this holiday season. From what she eats in a day to the beauty routines she can't live without, here is our question and answer session with food star Daphne Oz.

Finish this sentence: To me, cooking is ...

New memories, freedom and fun.

What food says home to you, and why?

My mother's spaghetti with Staten Island marinara sauce, my grandmother's Caesar salad and my grandfather's stuffed artichokes.

What's a kitchen tool or gadget that you can't live without?

I'm completely obsessed with my Breville Smart Oven Pizzaiolo Pizza Oven. We use it at least weekly for pizza parties. It's electric, but cooks pizzas in 90 seconds that taste just like wood-fired. My husband also created a charred broccoli situation with pecorino and oregano that has become one of our family's most requested dishes.

What's for dessert?

Honestly, the only desserts I really think are worth it are ones I make at home. The kids (Giovanna "Gigi" Ines, age 1, Domenica "Nica" Celina, 2, Jovan Jr., 5, and Philomena Bijou, 6) and I make cake or cookies at least once a week.

We're all about eating deliciously and healthy. How do you walk that line?

Before I eat something I know isn't great for me, I'll count to my age. This gives me (now) 34 seconds to really consider whether I want to eat that food or if I'm doing it out of boredom, stress, celebration etc. If I decide to treat myself, I sit and enjoy it and let the experience of indulging fuel my resolve to live well most of the time. Life is too short to deprive yourself of wonderful, enriching great bites!

What health or beauty ritual do you never skip, no matter how busy you are or how hectic life gets?

I always, always take my makeup off with coconut oil in a hot shower at the end of the night. It makes me feel so fresh and new and ready for bed. It also opens up all my pores to let me get a better cleanse at the end of the day.

EatingWell has promoted sustainability since day one. What environmental issue speaks to you the most?

The best thing any of us can do to support sustainability is to be conscious when we enjoy meat. I savor it when I do, but I rarely have red meat more than once or twice a month. Little efforts go a long way, and in the case of limiting our consumption of a resource that takes thousands of gallons of clean water and acres of arable land to produce, making sure that we only consume high-quality options (from small, local farmers that treat their animals humanely) is one of the simplest, most obvious ways we can all contribute.

What are you most thankful for this holiday season?

I am most thankful for the little things that are the big things. Laughing and smiling with my family every day. FaceTiming with friends. Being able to appreciate little moments with the kids that would have been lost in the usual business of my day.

What do you typically eat in a day?

I love eggs for breakfast and will frequently do a scramble with whatever veggies I have that need a quick sauté, plus a few beans (black or pinto), plus some spices and a handful of greens with a bit of avocado on the side. If I'm in a rush, I might do a smoothie or a piece of sprouted Ezekiel toast with a thin spread of almond butter or cottage cheese and hot sauce (weird, but delicious)! Lunch is normally where I go for a big colorful salad with beans or quinoa, a scoop of hummus and a simple vinaigrette with olive oil, lemon, mustard and herbs. I like to snack on cut veggies dipped in low-fat yogurt with herbs, or low-fat yogurt with some fruit and small drizzle of honey, or air-popped popcorn. For dinner I often have a hearty stew or a piece of fish or chicken, and I always have a side salad or greens.

What's your if-I-only-had-one-meal-left meal?

A classic NYC slice of Joe's Pizza.

Beer, wine or cocktail?

All of the above? I absolutely love ice cold beer for any casual hang, but for cocktails I'm a white wine spritz or tequila with soda and lots of lime. And dinner is wine—or margaritas.

What is your go-to burger, toppings and everything?

The In-N-Out Double-Double, Animal Style. Double burgers (cooked with a brush of mustard), double cheese (my preference would be trashy but perfect American), extra special sauce, crisp lettuce, ripe tomato, grilled onions and pickles.

What's one food (or food/diet trend) you can't understand the hype for?


EatingWell, December 2020