Somewhere close by, a neighbor flips through the television channels. He or she stops, momentarily, on a cooking show. Minutes tick by. A handsome and charming man with a British accent has captivated the viewer. They can’t change the channel.
If ShopHQ rings a bell in your mind, it’s because the company is headquartered just down the road in Eden Prairie. And Daniel Green isn’t just another celebrity chef. He’s also a neighbor. Green, his wife Jane, and their two daughters live right here in Edina.
There aren’t many direct routes from London to Edina, and Green’s journey has been circuitous but fulfilling.
Growing up in London, Green was overweight. Unhappy with his body, he began his own simple weight-loss regimen as a 19-year-old by cutting fat out of his diet. It was his first step to becoming the health advocate he is today.
By age 21, newly trim and confident, Green became a model. “I wanted to document one picture of me looking like that because I thought I was going to blow up in two minutes,” he says. “I never thought it would last.”
While working as a model, Green taught himself culinary skills. He loves to cook. He loves to cook healthy food. And he wanted to lead the world down his path of healthy eating. Modeling was simply a means to an end. He never thought it would lead anywhere, joking that had he stuck with it, he would be, at best, playing a television dad by now.
“I had this passion and I knew I had a story to tell that I believed in,” Green says. So he entered a television chef-of-the-future competition through a London magazine called Good Food. It was a perfect fit given his modeling and culinary know-how. He won first prize, which meant he got a feature in the magazine, plus a reel he could use to pitch himself as a television chef.
He sent the reel to many producers, and was eventually given a spot on a London cooking channel. “I was petrified,” he says. “They put a microphone on me and I pretended to know what I was doing. As soon as I was done, I knew I wanted to put that microphone back on. I hated and loved it at the same time.”
People began to take notice, and Green built a career spreading a message of healthy eating. “The art to television is having a passion,” he says. “I don’t think you can fake that—letting your guard down and letting people see who you are.”
Green’s star began to rise, and he became an international success. He worked in London hotels and clubs designing menus based on his philosophy. “I don’t believe when a chef says fat is flavor,” Green says. “You can go to places like Malaysia and Singapore and get unbelievable herbs, spices, and food that doesn’t have to be deep-fried. I’ve really learned the art of using those ingredients.”
Travels took Green all over the world. He briefly considered culinary school, but it didn’t fit his healthy eating style. Instead, he focused on writing books (he’s authored 10 cookbooks) and getting his message out on television.
Ten years ago, Green’s work led to an offer from ShopHQ, formerly ShopNBC. They wanted him to be an on-air host and chef on their network, shown in 89 million homes. The offer proved too good to pass up and in 2004, he moved his family to Minnesota. They lived in Eden Prairie for a few years before settling into their Edina home five years ago.
Coming from London, the Greens experienced a bit of culture shock. Daniel arrived two months before Jane and daughter Eleanor, and remembers phoning Jane to tell her about strange Minnesota. “They sell hay in the grocery store,” Green told his wife. Laughing, he explains he moved here in September, and was unaware at the time that the hay was for fall decorations.
The shock wore off, his family joined him and the Greens settled into a Midwestern lifestyle, with Daniel working or traveling for one of his many appearances, Jane taking care of Eleanor and, eventually, Georgina (Georgie, for short), now 2.
A steady gig as host of Daniel’s Kitchen on ShopHQ would seemingly give Green an excuse to slow down. He’s done anything but. He has appeared with Paula Deen on the Food Network, Andrew Zimmern on the Travel Channel and, most recently, finished a stint as one of the judges on Food Network’s popular show, Kitchen Inferno.
Daniel is traveling as much as ever, and his appearances on Food Network have pushed him further into the spotlight.
But at home, Green is just another husband and father. Even when he travels, his presence is felt. “He does all the cooking, which is great,” Jane says. “Even when he goes away, he leaves a whole freezer full of stuff for us.”
Not only does Green cook for his family, he does the grocery shopping, too. He’s a charming, handsome television star who cooks and grocery shops. “I’m real lucky,” Jane laughs.
In the Mix with Daniel Green
- Favorite chef personality? Curtis Stone.
- Favorite local place to grocery shop? I don’t have one, specifically. Costco, Byerly’s, Whole Foods— I explore everything.
- Do you have one tip to get picky eaters to eat healthy? If your kids don’t eat veggies, find a way they will. Throw in some hoisin sauce or oyster sauce with broccoli and they’ll think they’re having Chinese. Throw in some extra flavors and spices, and you can make food really interesting.
- In honor of your last name, what’s your favorite green food? I’m really into kale at the moment.
- Have you ever been starstruck? I went to a party in L.A. when I first moved here, and every person was so ridiculously famous. Rod Stewart and Diana Ross were there, but I think cooking for the princess of Thailand is the one that stands out.
- Favorite ingredient? Cilantro, because it freshens everything up.
- Go-to recipe? Miso salmon.
Daniel Green's Miso Salmon
2 fillets salmon, 4-5 oz. each
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon miso paste
- Juice of 1 large lemon
Place under the grill for 5 minutes, saving the marinade. After 5 minutes add more marinade and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Skinny Fish and Chips
Well being from England, fish and chips are our staple food, so here is a skinny version, not deep fried, or heavily battered. Serve on hash browns
Prep cook time 20 minutes
- 4 fish fillets with no skin (I love dover sole or cod with this)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup bread crumbs (store bought ot whiz day old bread in a blender)
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 can drained peas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fresh mint
Place the breadcrumbs , dill and garlic in a blender and whizz, place on a plate, now whisk the eggs in a bowl. Now dip each fillet of fish in the egg, then the breadcrumbs and coat, heat a large non stick pan with a little peanut or veg oil and fry about 2 minutes each side
Serve on hash browns