Chrissy Teigen may have found fame with her modeling career, but that may not be where her heart lies. “I always wanted to be a teacher or wanted to do something with food. But modeling, I just never thought I could do it myself really ever,” she told Daily Beast in a 2014 interview. Her looks might be her bread and butter, but this outspoken supermodel probably prefers actual bread and butter. Or, at least that’s the impression you get after reading her cookbook, Cravings.
With this book, Teigen aimed to show how cooking can help create a more fulfilling life. She told Vogue, “I really like getting the person who is terrified of cooking into the kitchen and showing them that cooking can be both indulgent and fun.” She continued, “Making food is a wonderful way to spend a Friday night. I want to bring back that time where we all didn’t feel so much pressure to be out at a place we don’t really want to be. I want more girls’ nights, more dinner parties, more date nights, more nights on the couch with zucchini fries watching bad reality television.”
Initially, Teigen feared that her model background would hold her back, as people would just assume that she was faking her interest in the culinary world. “My biggest fear was looking like this book was shoved out by some model who pretends to eat pizza and pokes around at things in the kitchen.” She added, “I wanted to prove to people that I have a real passion and love for food.”
Teigen’s love for food came long before she found success as a model. She was born to a Thai mother and an American father with Norwegian ancestry, which might explain her tastes. Growing up, she always loved robust, American staples. “It’s so funny because my mom is Thai and my dad is this big American guy—and our food tastes were so similar growing up,” she said. “He was meat and potatoes, I was meat and potatoes. We’d do corn beef and cabbage and we were big on breakfast—huge omelets—and just hearty, hearty American food.” Cravings is full of standard, American meals, but there are echoes of her Thai background throughout the book. In an interview with Vogue, she said, “The book reflects me and what I grew up loving in a Thai and American household.”
Before publishing her book, Teigen used her blog, So Delushious, to post about her food love to her heart’s content. She and husband (then fiancé) John Legend also took part in a special on the Cooking Channel called Chrissy Teigen’s Hungry in 2013. The special followed the couple as they went on a wedding menu tasting. Teigen was also a part of the short lived Cooking Channel show, Cocktails and Cookies, though the series ended after only one episode.
For someone who works in an industry where body image is everything, Teigen doesn’t shy away from foods that will rock your taste buds, but wreck your waistline. It clearly shows in the recipes she selected in Cravings. Many of the foods featured are downhome classics, like Oven-Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges, John’s Chili, Mac and Cheese With Cheesy Garlic Breadcrumbs, and a recipe handed down by her mom, Pepper’s Scalloped Potatoes.
The best recipes, however, have to be Teigen’s soups. She calls herself the “soup master” and it’s a title that’s well earned. Her pièce de résistance is her Chicken Pot Pie Soup. It’s like chicken noodle soup on steroids and is served with a piece of flaky, delicious pie crust for dipping. That’s a huge step up from Saltine crackers. A creation as scrumptious as this can only come from the heart, and it’s clear that Teigen loves what she does.
Teigen’s talent in the kitchen springs from her passion. She’s not afraid to put her own, unique twist on whatever dish she makes. It’s not like Teigen is known for being particularly straitlaced, but in her writings about food, she truly comes alive. Who needs a fancy degree from a culinary school when you love food this much?