Celebrity Q & A

Eric O'Neill is president of www.smartkitchen.com. Smartkitchen.com is a Scottsdale-based business with thousands of members across the country and the world and growing everyday. In a nutshell, the program is an avocational online
culinary school. There are no tests, no pressure, just the service or teaching you need on how to cook like a chef from the comfort of your own home. Smartkitchen.com has 3 different levels, and teaches everything taught at traditional culinary schools but for $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year.

Eric’s calling involves educating the public about the taste, health and budgetary benefits found in the Culinary Arts.

Raised by Chefs, Eric has been a diehard food lover since the ripe old age of five, when he would arrive at kindergarten with lamb sandwiches and petite fours in his lunch pail, instead of Lunchables and Oreos. His entrepreneurial spirit has been present almost as long. During kindergarten, he quickly found that there was a market for those five star lunches and began live auctions for the less (culinarily) fortunate.
He graduated from Culinary School in 2005, worked in some acclaimed restaurants and shortly started his own successful catering business named "Renegade Chefs." As the housing market was booming, he founded The Smart Kitchen to bring culinary learning, on touch screens, to super-premium home kitchens. The product was well received, hinting at a more general interest in culinary learning. He decided to enlist some help, expand and brought to life SmartKitchen.com.
  • What created your passion for cooking?
    I have been around the food industry my entire life. My father, Dominic O'Neill, is a Arizona Hall of Fame Chef and Executive Chef of SCC Culinary Program. My father would always serve me food as a child most children or even grownups wouldn't dare to try. For example, instead of peanut butter and Jelly sandwiches, I would get Sardines, Cheese, and Crackers. From then on, it just spawned of wanting to try all different types of food and creating the best dishes I can create.
  • Where is your favorite place to eat?
    My favorite place to eat is in the comfort of my own home. There is nothing better than being around my friends and family and getting the satisfaction of preparing a meal for everyone to enjoy.
  • What's your favorite dessert?
    I'm a sucker for Creme Bruele. I love its simplicity and distinct flavor.
  • What's your favorite thing to cook?
    I can honestly say I don't have a favorite thing to cook. Strange but true.
  • What ingredients can you not do without when you're cooking?
    If I don't have Flavored Salts, Fresh Herbs, and Onions I feel incomplete.
  • What's the most basic advice you give when you're talking to someone about cooking?
    My basic advice is to concentrate on practicing Knife Skills. You will save so much time and money if you have good knife skills.
  • Share your thoughts about Arizona agriculture.
    There is a huge difference in flavor from locally raised produce and proteins than other products. If you want your meal to taste the best it can taste and want to capture the true flavor of an ingredient, than you should only use local ingredients. Plus, supporting local farmers grows jobs and businesses. To me, supporting local businesses for our states economic growth is the most important part, next to flavor.
  • Any Advice about food and nutrition?
    Less can be so much more! I have a real issue with Chefs who think huge portions and tons of ingredients satifys their customers. Understanding pairings of flavors, proper portion sizes, and using quality ingredients makes for a bold eating experience and a much healtheir diet. Thats a KISS from me to you (Keep It Simple Stupid).
  • What do you consider unique to Arizona when it comes to food, restaurants and/or anything related?
    I'm a native to this wonderful state, and wouldn't have it any other way. Arizona has a growing number of Chefs taking a chance with expressive dishes, different dining experiences and a growing expansion of respect for one another. Its awesome to be in the mix and hope it never stops!

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The Journey of My Eggcellent Egg