By Nicole Cortese
The Rider News sat down with Kathy and Rich Wakile from Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New Jersey (RHONJ) before the Student Entertainment Council’s fashion show on March 1 to discuss the event; her dessert business, Dolce Della Dea; and her upcoming book, Indulge: Delicious Little Desserts That Keep Life Real.
TRN: This is now your third event at Rider since last year. Why did you decide to return for the fashion show?
Kathy Wakile: I love coming back to Rider and meeting students. They have their whole world and their whole life ahead of them, and you can just see it in their eyes. A lot of it is they can’t wait to get done with school, but they form a family. I didn’t go to college, so I love seeing campus life and how they all interact with one another. It’s a great family down here.
TRN: What do you like about doing college campus events?
KW: I like meeting kids that have so much promise ahead of them, and the world is open to different opportunities for them. If I can touch them in one way or another to follow through with their dreams and not get sidetracked, that, to me, is a great opportunity.
TRN: How has your dessert business grown over the past year? Will we see you working on it in the new season?
KW: It’s grown a great deal. I’ve been touring across the country, doing cannoli and dessert demos, talking about my desserts and my full line. I’ve expanded my dessert line. I have a cookbook coming out in September and it’s all mini desserts. So that’s another step in the right direction. You will see me talking about and working on my desserts with the new upcoming season.
Rich Wakile: She’s taken a podium of the dessert queen. She’s branded herself as someone that’s a real bonafide dessert cook.
KW: It started just as a hobby I did at home for my family and friends, and it grew. It’s another way the students can be inspired. If there’s something they are really passionate about, it can really come to something concrete and solid like this. It’s because of the viewers; they encouraged me to follow through with this dream and something that I did in my everyday life, and now I’ve been kind of dubbed the dessert queen of RHONJ.
RW: What we’ve tried to do in the past three seasons, and in the fourth season that she’s filming, is she’s tried to build a brand from it.
TRN: Your book is set to come out later this year. What kind of recipes will it include, and which one is your favorite?
KW: The book is broken down by seasons, because that’s the way I cook. When something’s in season, that’s the way you should really take advantage of it, and then you can eat it at the peak of freshness. The same goes for my desserts. So in the fall, what are we thinking about? We’re thinking about apples; we’re thinking about pumpkins. For me, I’m thinking about nuts because I just love nuts — the squirrels are harvesting and all that. So that’s how I broke it down — it’s all mini desserts. You have your traditional desserts that I started out making, like apple pie, pumpkin pie, but then I changed it up. So each section, for instance, there’s an apple section and there’s four different desserts on apples, because, you know, how much apple pie can you eat? They’re all bite-sized, individual portions. Some are really basic but then the range of difficulty gets a little bit more intense. But they’re also broken down into steps that you can do ahead, and you can save some for another time or share some with another person. It’s not like when you make a full pie, you’re not going to give someone a half of a pie. In my book it allows you to make a variety and share them with people. That’s the whole thing about cooking — sharing is caring.
RW: Talking about apples, she has a caramel apple ravioli — it’s got the Italian twist. When they offered her the proposal, we brought a couple desserts and one of them was the caramel apple ravioli.
KW: With the publisher, I think that was the clincher. I made a big tray of them, and I brought them with my proposal. And they were like, “Oh my gosh, we need this book.”
TRN: You have hosted fashion shows before. What is your favorite part about them?
KW: The fashion, of course, and watching the models walk down the runway — watching their personalities come alive. We’re doing a fashion show later this month back up north, and I love it. I’ve always been big on fashion. I used to be a hairdresser, so fashion was always a big part of it. I enjoy it. Especially now with spring, you’re looking for a change.
Printed in the 3/5/14 edition