But as a child, Teigen was “embarrassed” by her mother’s cooking. The model and cookbook author has shared that while she urged her mother, Vilailuck ‘Pepper’ Teigen, to write a cookbook of her own, she wasn’t always a fan of her recipes.
In the foreword for ‘The Pepper Thai Cookbook‘, Teigen wrote that she wants people to get “the full ‘Thai Mom’ experience”. “Mom’s food looked different and smelled different — honestly, I was a little embarrassed about it when I was young,” the 35-year-old wrote.
Pepper told Insider that her book is essentially filled with the best recipes that her daughter likes, adding that she remembers the times her daughter was “ashamed of the smells and flavours that she now adores”.
“She was, you know, in fifth or sixth grade and very popular in her class,” Pepper was quoted as saying. She added Teigen would bring friends over to their house, and she would have to “tailor her cooking” accordingly.
She remembers her young daughter asking for grilled cheese and pizza “like most kids”.
According to the Insider report, in the book’s introduction, Pepper wrote about a time when she “put herbs in one of my Thai salads and [Teigen] yelled at me, ‘MOM! Why are you eating weeds?’”
For Pepper, cooking has always been a way “to stay connected” to her “family and Thai roots”. She was born in Thailand, and raised in a small town outside the city of Korat — a popular food city, according to the author. In the introduction, Pepper wrote she grew up around cooking and began to help her mother, a lunch vendor, while she was in the third grade, the report states.
Later, when she moved to the US with Teigen’s father Ron Teigen, she found herself driving for an hour, just to find familiar ingredients like fish sauce that she wanted to cook with.
And while back then, though it wasn’t a popular meal choice for Ron, Chrissy, and Pepper’s first daughter Tina, she used food to remember her own mother’s culinary legacy.
Today, however, Teigen is more appreciative of her mother’s cooking. She has included some of her recipes in both of her ‘Cravings‘ books. Pepper, who now lives with her daughter, her husband singer John Legend, and their two children, said they all “love to cook and eat together”. “Our house smells of chilies and everything all day long. People are more accepting of Thai food now. All of our friends, they eat everything that I offer them now.”