Holly Burrell understands that daughters Greta, 5, and Frances, 3, are still exploring tastes and flavors. But she can't help but think there's karma at work.
"I was a picky eater as a kid and into adulthood," Burrell, 39, admitted. "I didn't start trying new and interesting things until I was in my late 20s."
A Davis High graduate who earned a theater degree from the University of Utah, Burrell said her "slow journey toward food" began after meeting Ty Burrell at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C. They were performing "Twelfth Night"; she was an understudy for Olivia and he was Antonio.
"He is someone who will try anything and loves food," said Holly Burrell. After they were married, she felt bad about being "so uninteresting to go out to eat with. I decided it was something I could change.
"Food is now a primary thing in my life and my family life. It's something I spent a lot of time and energy thinking about and reading about."
The Burrells' love of food made them an obvious choice to judge this year's Savory Salt Lake fundraiser for KUER. "It combines everything we love," said Burrell of the May 22 event, which will feature the best bites from some of the area's most popular restaurants.
No doubt it was the Burrells that made this a sold-out event.
Early in their acting careers, the Burrells lived in New York City, auditioning for parts and working various jobs to pay the bills.
"After a couple years, I decided I probably was not cut out for the business," Holly Burrell said. With the rigorous hours and competition, "you have to really want to do it and I just didn't have the thing you need. I was interested in other things."
One of those outside interests had become food. Burrell attended and graduated from the intensive nine-month pastry program at the French Culinary Institute. Afterward, she worked a few months in a bakery.
Then her husband was cast as Phil Dunphy on "Modern Family" and the couple moved to Los Angeles, where the show is filmed. Not long after, they adopted Frances, and any thoughts of a culinary career were put on the back burner.
Of all the characters on the Emmy-winning "Modern Family," Holly Burrell said she identifies most with Phil's wife, Claire, played by Julie Bowen. "I hope I'm not as high-strung as Claire," she said. "But I probably am."
Today, the Burrells spend about half the year in Los Angeles and the other half in Salt Lake City. Living in Utah was not her idea.