General Hospital Star Brandon Barash Steams Up The Kitchen

By Fabiana Santana

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Brandon Barash is feeling the holiday spirit. The General Hospital actor is incredibly busy these days but he is finding time to celebrate the season with food, friends, and most importantly charity. The handsome actor plays sexy and tough Johnny Zacchara on the long running daytime soap opera General Hospital – a true bad boy gone good.

“My character has really come full circle and has had a kind of rebirth. It was a really great 2009 and I am excited to see what happens with him next year,” said Barash, and he should be. The daytime star is sharing screen time with Academy Award winner James Franco these days and says he could hardly believe when he heard that Franco was joining the cast. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard he news. It is very exciting for all of us on the show.”

And while you’d expect the heartthrob to be out wooing women and partying, the 30-year-old has his agenda filled with more important things: Dinner and a cause.

Last week, Barash invited a group of journalists and friends out to dinner at NYC hot spot LevantEast to discuss the importance of increased awareness of the Muscular Dystrophy Association – an illness and issue close to his heart. Barash’s childhood friend was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which he says was like a death sentence. The star now serves as the National Celebrity Ambassador for the association and hopes to use his celebrity to bring attention to the cause.

“This dinner is a much more informal and personal way to talk about it. It’s not me standing at a podium making a speech. I can tell you each my story one on one and why this is important to me and hopefully it will become important to you,” said Barash. “I am a in a position where people may listen to me so why not make that something positive and hope that people will follow my lead and find a way to help out. You can do something as simple as volunteering at a shelter to serve food during the holidays. I am participating in a build for habitat for humanity, that costs nothing but time.”

And even though the show and his charities have him quite busy, Barash, who comes from a traditional Jewish family, knows the importance of a good meal, especially during this celebratory time.

“Food is everything. In my family at breakfast we were talking about what we would eat for lunch. And at lunch, what was coming for dinner.”

For Barash, food has always been a time for every one to sit together talk about what is on their mind and what is important to them. Just like tonight.

And while he is eager to chow down on the traditional holiday dishes his family is preparing for the holidays, the mostly healthy eater who definitely indulges around the holiday season is planning a holiday celebration to honor all his friends’ traditions.

“I’m having a kind of pot luck party. Where everyone will bring food that is important to his or her heritage. Of course I will have the latkes and matzos ready! But our Muslim friends will bring their special dishes and Italian friends something else. It’s going to be a feast of multicultural food!” And to bring it all together, Barash says, “We are all going to wear really ugly sweaters!”

Also, on display at Barash’s dinner party were a few photos that the actor turned photographer took during travels around the world. “When I was a kid my friends would make fun of me because on class trips I would wander off to take a picture of a bush or a duck. I like being able to capture that specific moment in time and being able to remember the exact feeling I had at the second I took the picture.”

He has even produced a book showcasing the moving scenes, with all the proceeds being donated to MDA research. “One day I hope to buy an old darkroom and venture into my own darkroom.” And we have a feeling he will certainly find the time to do it.

This holiday season, Brandon Barash wants you to be a part of his fight. So he is giving away a copy of his popular new book AND also making a one-time donation in your name to MDA! Follow us on Twitter @SMWomen for more details.

RECIPEBrandon Barash’s Cold Asparagus Salad