Al Roker is a busy man. New York buzzes in the background as America’s most well-known weatherman zips from appointment to appointment. Amid the bustle, he sounds calm, cool, and collected. For a generation, Americans have watched the New York native dish the news and weather on NBC’s “Today” and the Weather Channel’s “Wake Up with Al.” Over the phone, as on television, the 14-time Emmy Award winner comes off as affable and approachable.
Over his 40-year television career – as a weatherman, journalist and anchor – Roker has reported live from the scenes of devastating storms and natural disasters, including the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Perhaps less well known are his exploits as an author with several books to his credit, including two cookbooks. “Al Roker’s Big Bad Book of Barbecue” was published in May 2002 and followed by “Al Roker’s Hassle-Free Holiday Cookbook.” Cooking melds Roker’s love of food and entertaining.
“For most people, eating is a culturally significant event,” Roker says. “When something happens to us, a wedding, birthday, funeral, graduation, celebration, etc., food is a central part of that human experience.” Whether in his cookbooks or entertaining family and friends at home, Roker takes a minimalist approach to recipes – the freshest ingredients, simply prepared. A good roasted chicken – tender, with juicy thigh meat and crisp skin – can both be easy to make and sublime, he says. Other Roker favorites include lamb with Israeli couscous and roasted duck breast with roasted potatoes.
As America’s favorite weatherman, living a public life has consequences; Roker’s struggles with weight were well-documented. Since undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2002, he’s lost more than 100 pounds. “My struggles [with weight] were no more different than any other person’s, except that I had a television audience,” Roker says who once weighed-in at almost 350 pounds. “I just got tired of being heavy. I got the bypass surgery and lost weight quickly. But I only changed my diet somewhat. My old habits came back. Then my parents got sick. I promised them I would do better. So I worked hard. I changed my diet and incorporated exercise. I wanted to share my story and my struggles with viewers. Everybody has to make a choice to make a change.” In his book, “Never Goin’ Back: Winning The Weight Loss Battle For Good,” he shares his weight struggles as a child all the way through adulthood and how he never lost faith in himself, just inches and encourages others to do the same by committing to a realistic nutrition and exercise plan.
With each hour of the day accounted for, New York is still buzzing and Roker is off to his next appointment. We are left forecasting if another cookbook or road tour is in the offing. Whatever the future holds, one thing’s for certain; Al Roker will be busy, busy, busy.
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