What Food Network Star Sara Moulton Is Doing Now

Food Network carved itself a niche in the crowded and competitive world of cable TV with a programming slate full of shows about, well, food — game shows, reality shows, travelogues, cooking programs, talk shows, documentaries, and more, all revolving around the preparation, enjoyment, and culture of stuff us humans can put in our mouths and chew. But when the channel modestly and quietly went on the air in the mid-1990s, it maintained for years a schedule consisting almost entirely of traditionally shot cooking shows — chefs stood in a studio kitchen and made a dish in real-time, addressing the viewer directly as they gave step-by-step instructions. That instantly creates a bond between chef and audience. Sara Moulton became one of Food Network's earliest and biggest stars, hosting easy-going but impressively results-oriented shows like "Cooking Live" and "Sara's Secrets."

Programs featuring the recognizable and charming Moulton were foundational for Food Network, and episodes ran throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s ... until they just kind of stopped. Here's what Moulton has been up to since leaving the most high-profile outlet of food-based TV in the country.

Food Network fired Sara Moulton

Having worked as the food editor for "Good Morning America" as well as with pioneering TV chef Julia Child, according to HuffPost, Sara Moulton had been primarily just adjacent to cooking on television when, in 1996, the young and upstart Food Network approached her to star on her own demonstration show. Despite a mediocre screen test (Moulton told WGBH that she "never once smiled" and that her "hands never stopped shaking"), she got the job and became one of Food Network's earliest stars as the host of "Cooking Live." According to The Morning Call, that show lasted six years, running concurrently with the spinoff "Cooking Live Primetime" and upon its conclusion in 2002, Moulton rolled into "Sara's Secrets."

That series aired its final episodes in 2006 — because Food Network let Moulton go. "They dumped me. I'll say it," she told Eater. "I was part of the old guard and every time a new president comes in they make changes." The mid-2000s also witnessed a major change in Food Network's approach, switching from a lineup primarily of cooking instruction programs into reality TV and aspirational lifestyle series. "They switched their demographic. It had been women of I don't know what age group. But they changed it to 15-35-year-old males," Moulton explained. "They were more interested in really good looking people with really big personalities."

Sara Moulton now makes TV for public television

In the decade and a half since her exit from Food Network, Sara Moulton didn't disappear from TV. She went on to host and produce a new cooking show in the one place before the formation of Food Network where a chef could demonstrate how to prepare meals: public television. Produced by American Public Television and distributed to various and assorted nonprofit educational stations around the United States, "Sara's Weeknight Meals" has Moulton and friends sharing recipes and instruction to working people about making culinarily complex dinners every evening of the week. Moulton has been hosting "Sara's Weeknight Meals" since 2008, and the series is still going strong.

As a renowned chef with an extensive media background, Moulton is also a go-to guest for daytime talk shows that need someone to do a cooking segment. Over the years, she's made regular appearances on "Good Morning America" (where she also held the position of food editor) and "Rachael Ray." In 2020, Moulton filmed segments of a reminiscent nature regarding her mentor and friend for the public TV miniseries "Dishing with Julia Child," a gig she expanded on in the 2021 documentary "Julia."

Sara Moulton has written a lot of books and columns

Sara Moulton has produced four cookbooks that grace the shelves of bookstores and avid home cooks. Her first book, "Sara Moulton Cooks at Home," was released in 2002 and focused on healthy recipes specifically designed to "counter America's disastrous love affair with fast food." Three years later, Moulton followed it up with "Sara's Secrets for Weeknight Meals," a publication released in tandem with her then-current Food Network show, "Sara's Secrets." 

In 2010, by that point half a decade removed from her time at Food Network, Moulton published her third book, "Everyday Family Dinners," notable for the chef's innovative and influential chapter "Two for One," in which one night's leftovers get transformed into a whole new meal the following evening. Moulton's fourth and, as of 2023, most recent book is the 2016 release "Home Cooking 101: How to Make Everything Taste Better," a "teaching manual" and guide to technique more than it is a standard cookbook.

Moulton also authors "Sunday Suppers," a monthly column for The Washington Post Magazine, and the weekly (and then every-other-week) feature "KitchenWise," syndicated to newspapers by the Associated Press.

Sara Moulton worked for Gourmet, which went out of business

In 2009, according to The New York Times, periodicals publisher Condé Nast shut down the venerable "Gourmet" magazine. For nearly 70 years, it had been the premiere high-end food publication in the United States, offering exquisite and imaginative recipes from some of the world's greatest chefs with lush photos to boot. Helping to create foodie culture and establish food as a pop culture entity, "Gourmet" had seen its revenues in decline for some time, ironically muscled out of the market by more populist magazines like "Every Day with Rachael Ray" and "Food Network Magazine."

The closure of "Gourmet," indirectly at the hands of Food Network, caused terminated Food Network chef Sara Moulton to suffer financially. Before and after her time as a cable TV personality, Moulton served as the executive chef at "Gourmet," a job that included presiding over the magazine's exclusive dining room. "I cooked meals for the advertisers. We'd wine them and dine them. Then, we'd hit them up for advertising," Moulton told Food Gal. "I was making the best food of my life in that dining room." Condé Nast ultimately licensed the valuable "Gourmet" brand to other companies and hired Moulton back on as a consultant, but she still experienced a period of total unemployment.

Sara Moulton has talked about sexism in the food world

In early 2018, after the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements exploded, exposing sexist and predatory behavior by powerful men, Sara Moulton wrote an op-ed for HuffPost to speak out about her experiences with such behaviors. The chef attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in the mid-1970s, where, according to Moulton, the instructors were primarily male. "Men at every level in the school told me the same thing: Women do not belong in the kitchen." 

That inspired Moulton to work harder to prove everyone wrong, and after graduation (and a stint as the head chef of a Boston restaurant) she took an apprenticeship in France working for acclaimed chef Maurice Cazalis. "All of the other apprentices in the kitchen were 15 years old. I was the only woman," Moulton recalled, adding that Cazalis wouldn't allow her to do much more than prep work. "Even worse," according to Moulton, Cazalis "was a lascivious character and probably loved having me there because he thought he could have his way with me." He frequently and repeatedly made advances against Moulton, even arranging a weekend food trip where he booked them one room, took her to a nude dancing show, and forced her to sleep in the same bed. 

Six months after the gig ended, Moulton mustered the courage to tell her mentor, Julia Child, of Cazalis' behavior. "Her response was, 'Oh dearie, what did you expect? They're all like that. Get over it.'"

Sara Moulton has hip-hop connections

Sara Moulton, old school TV chef, has crossed paths more than once, however unlikely, with old school rap trio the Beastie Boys. According to her website, her Food Network series "Sara's Secrets" merited a thank-you in the liner notes of the group's 2004 album "To the 5 Boroughs." Moulton paid close attention to the record because in response to the lyric, "Serving emcees on a platter like Baked Alaskan" on the track "Rhyme the Rhyme Well," she published a recipe for "Baked Alaskan," a version of the classic ice cream cake.

Moulton's knowledge of hip hop goes way back. "I love the Beastie Boys and I like Run-DMC, the early stuff," she told Eater. She's also just two degrees away from both of those groups and other legendary '80s-era rap artists. Moulton's husband, Bill Adler, has worked in different capacities in the music industry, breaking into it in 1981 after he befriended Def Jam Records co-founder Russell Simmons and offered to be his publicist. "He worked for him for six years and was the early publicist for all the rappers," Moulton explained. "So Run-DMC, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, and Will Smith. Those guys."

Sara Moulton co-hosts Milk Street Radio

Sara Moulton seems to know all the cool kids of the food world, including Christopher Kimball, whom she co-hosts with on Milk Street Radio. While 6-foot-4-inch Kimball dwarfs 4-foot-11-inch Moulton in the kitchen, that difference isn't so apparent on a radio podcast. However, there are other co-hosts for the show as well, so Moulton doesn't have to do all the heavy lifting.

Milk Street Radio puts out a weekly episode for public radio, and it's available to stream as a podcast. Each episode lasts for a full hour. It's a high-quality show, as evidenced by the International Association of Culinary Professionals awarding it as the "Best Radio Show" in 2020. Every week is full of something fascinating from the culinary world, whether it's a masterclass with a cooking great like Jacques Pépin or a tour of the poison plants at Alnwick Poison Garden.

Because of Moulton's wide range of food expertise, she doesn't shy away from providing live answers to people who call into the show. She told Radio Cherry Bombe that Kimball also likes to goad her with ridiculous statements like "Black pepper is overrated" or "Garlic is too strong. You should only ever add it as a whole clove and then take it out." Luckily, Moulton is the queen of making a quick counterstatement to bring the show back to reality.

Sara Moulton has a food blog

Sara Moulton keeps busy, and her blog is a good chronicle of what she's doing, what she's cooking, and where she's cooking these days. Her website features her recipes, a list of the books she's published, information about her latest "Sara's Weeknight Meals" episodes, videos, and a link to her blog.

She seems to publish more recipes than anything else on her blog. So, if you're looking for the perfect timely food to fit the holiday or season, you'll want to keep a watch on what she's posting. Sometimes, you'll just see one new thing a week, but some weeks, she posts a lot. You'll see links to the Milk Street Radio broadcasts she co-hosts and recipes from specific "Sara's Weeknight Meals" episodes. It's also a good place to find where she's guest hosting as well as learn a bit of food news. Plus, she adds in more personal posts like what she's eating or doing on vacation.

You can follow Moulton on Facebook, Instagram, or X (formerly known as Twitter) if you don't have a feed aggregator and want to stay connected to what she's blogging about. While each of her social media accounts has slightly different content, she often posts links back to her blog so you won't miss what's happening with her.

She has a huge cookbook collection

You can't have a food-based career like Sara Moulton's without having a vast collection of cookbooks at your disposal. At one point, she had about 1,500 different cookbooks, making Moulton's collection larger than most. She can easily find something new to cook any time she gets bored with her normal meal rotation. However, the collection isn't nearly as big after she gave away many of the books to a small New York City cooking school in 2023.

Part of the reason Moulton has so many cookbooks is because of her work at "Good Morning America" between 1986 and 1996. Every time the show featured a chef or a cookbook author doing a cooking demonstration for the audience, it was Moulton's job to do all the prep work so they wouldn't have to spend so much time chopping and could instead focus on cooking and talking. Having helped and made so many friends with people who have put out cookbooks, she has amassed quite a collection. Being a cookbook connoisseur, she sometimes recommends certain titles for the best cookbooks of the year in publications like Bustle.

Even though she has given away a large part of her collection, she can't resist a good cookbook and likes to highlight some of her favorites on social media. After all, she now has room to collect more.

She's an artist

Sara Moulton isn't just a culinary artist but also a creator of visual artwork. If you follow her blog or social media accounts, she'll occasionally treat you to artwork she's recently completed.

Moulton took advantage of all that social distancing everyone did in 2020 to get back into watercolor painting. She searched the internet to learn new watercolor techniques, taking online classes with Kateri Ewing and on a website called Art Tutor. Her art subjects range from houses to food. She admits that she struggles with the flowers in her paintings. However, you wouldn't know it from looking.

It turns out that being an artist runs in the family. While watercolor painting is a hobby she enjoys doing alone, Moulton also paints with her sister in Maine when visiting on vacation. Her sister has a dedicated painting area with a relaxing and inspirational view of the water. So, they like to sit back, enjoy the cozy view, and paint to their heart's content.

She has connections with Jacques Pépin

Admiration goes both ways between Sara Moulton and French chef Jacques Pépin. In 2019, Moulton said in her blog, "There will never be another Jacques Pépin. He is one of a kind. The food world is so lucky to have him." Pépin told Current in 2023, "There are many cooking shows on TV, but few are teaching anything. ... To learn about cooking, look at Sara Moulton."

Moulton is a big supporter of the Jacques Pépin Foundation. She has been involved in many fundraisers for the organization, which provides a free culinary education for people around the U.S. who need it most. She has even been a keynote speaker for some of the foundation events. In 2021, Pépin released the second volume of his "Cook With Jacques & Friends" video recipe book. Moulton was pleased to be among the friends providing a recipe for the collection. Anyone who is a member of the Jacques Pépin Foundation has free access to the recipes.

Moulton and Pépin have been known to get together when he's in New York City. In 2023, they met up for a meal when Pépin was in town for a James Beard Foundation dinner in his honor.

She hosts cooking demonstrations on cruise ships

It's a pretty sweet deal when you can take a cruise and get paid at the same time. Sara Moulton has had the privilege of providing cooking demonstrations aboard cruise ships to combine work with pleasure and world travel. When the ship would stop at various ports, she could go on shore and shoot on-location videos for her television show.

One such cruise toured southern Italy. While she was off the ship visiting Rome and Parma, she used local film crews to help her shoot segments from places like a Parmigiano Reggiano warehouse that she could integrate into her show. Then, when she was back on the cruise ship, she gave standing-room-only cooking classes featuring dishes that fit with the region. For example, one of the dishes she demonstrated while touring the Italian coast was a twist on eggplant Parmesan. As she thrills old fans and gains new ones aboard the ship, it's a great opportunity for her to sell her cookbooks and sign them as well.