“I’m obsessed with food, I love to cook,” says Kelly Cutrone, the brash fashion public-relations maven turned reality-TV star. When she’s not producing fashion shows or whipping interns into shape on-camera, Cutrone says she loves to hit up the Union Square Greenmarket for seasonal ingredients, and in summer, conjure a tasty penne with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil. These days, her spare time for farmers’ market jaunts is in short supply, between running her PR firm, People’s Revolution, her new show on Bravo, Kell on Earth, and her new book, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You. She found a moment to chat with Fork in the Road about why she hates trendy restaurants, her trippy experience with the Blueprint cleanse, and the meatballs that get her office through Fashion Week.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in the city?
I’m really a sucker for Angelo’s in Little Italy. I have to go to all the trendy places for my job, and really, like my idea of a fun time in New York is like Aurora, which is down the street on Broome. I don’t go very far. I’m pretty much in a ponytail with no makeup on running somewhere south of Houston, up to Mulberry. I still like the Odeon a lot, Raoul’s, the usual. I go to very uncool, non-trendy restaurants. I go to Lucky Strike like every day.
What don’t you like about trendy places?
I’m just not into it, man. When I go out to dinner, I literally want to see somebody and have a meal with them. There’s a beauty in sharing food with them. It’s a ritual, as I’ve seen, because I did this thing called the Blueprint cleanse, and I learned that we pretty much don’t even need to eat anymore. You can just drink juice all day, according to these people. When you don’t eat food for three days and you just drink these juices, you start to go, yeah, what are we doing here? We don’t really need to spend all this time, energy, and money on food, but then you realize that we do. It’s a very emotional, celebratory ritual, taking food together. So, when I go out to dinner, I really want to talk to the people that I’m going to dinner with. I think trendy restaurants are great if you don’t want to talk to people. If you have to go to dinner with people that you don’t like, there’s nothing like a trendy restaurant to make your dinner fantastic because you won’t be able to hear anything.
Any places in particular that feel that way to you?
Pretty much any of those restaurants in the meat market. I’ve been to a couple of them, I’m not even going to say their names.
By meat market, you mean the Meatpacking District?
Yeah, pretty much anything over in that Ninth Avenue area is not where I want to be for dinner.
What was the Blueprint cleanse like?
It was good. My life is moving too quick to actually do anything healthy for myself. I’ve kind of given up now–this has been going on since October, from the pressure of finishing up a book, being on two TV shows [Kell on Earth and MTV’s The City], running a business, and the recession. I just buckled to indulgence and lack of order–it was a very 11th-hour attempt to pull it together before I had to do press.
Did it make you cranky, being on the cleanse and just drinking juice all day?
Yeah, pretty much. I’ve never taken acid, but it’s pretty much like what being on acid would feel like. At the beginning, you start kind of going backwards into this other world, and you’re just like, what the hell is going on, and you start getting shaky, and then by that night, you’re just so grateful that it’s time to go to sleep. And you get this thing called cashew milk, it’s like the bonus round of the juice. It’s kind of creamy and it’s made from cashews and that’s kind of designer and cool and you’re like, wow, cashew milk, I’ve never even heard of this. And they put cinnamon in it, so by the time you get to the end of the day, it’s like you are having a bucket of the best rice pudding you’ve ever had in your life. You’re already in such a state of mind-fuck deprivation, you’re, like, this is so amazing. Then you wake up, and then all of the sudden, something clicks, and you’re like, I could do this again. And then you kind of go through it, and by that afternoon at 4 o’clock, you’re kind of looking at everybody like they’re just really weak and they’re not part of the evolutionary process at all. Food is just totally prehistoric and it’s all contaminated and why would anybody eat when you can live on juice. And then after the third day, you finish, you kind of feel like I just went through a lot, now what am I going to do. I’m going to have to eat, I guess … But I’m not like a dieter. I’m waiting for season two of my show so I can get a Nutrisystem deal. I told my agent the other night, I was like, “Move over Marie Osmond, there’s a new girl in town… She should be shaking in her Nutrisystem shoes right now.”
Would you really want to be the Nutrisystem girl?
I don’t know. I’m joking, but would I want somebody to pay me $50,000 or $100,000 to lose weight? Hell, yeah.
If you had to feed a bunch of models to fatten them up, what would you make for them?
Carbs and wine are probably the best way to gain weight from my experience. We could start with French toast in the morning, and then we could have a club sandwich in the afternoon, then we could go to dinner and have really great hot rolls with butter and some Opus One wine. That should pretty much do it. You do that for 10 or 12 days and you’d probably gain 10 or 12 pounds.
I’ve heard that meatballs are an important comfort food around the People’s Revolution offices during Fashion Week. Where do you get them from?
One of my old assistants, who doesn’t work for me anymore–and despite the rumors I’m still friends with a lot of them–she usually comes with her mother. Her name’s Maggie, and they cook them at the office for us. It’s a fashion week ritual that we do.
Is there anything special in the recipe?
No. It’s the good-old Italian-American, a little bit of egg and breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and oregano. It’s pretty straightforward. They come and make them, or sometimes my mom [in Virginia] makes them and FedExes them to us on dry ice.