15 Celebrity Foodies

These female celebs--from Gwyneth Paltrow to Maya Angelou--have all released their inner foodies.

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Gwyneth Paltrow


Before: Academy Award-winning actress and rocker Gwyneth Paltrow inspires emotion: either you love or hate her. Once voted “Most Stuck-up” in Movieline’s 100 Most, she finally won many of us over during her successful turn as a sultry sex ed teacher on Glee.


After: Further proof she’s loosened up: Formerly on a strict macrobiotic diet, she now occasionally indulges in foods like, gasp, French fries. Her cookbook, “My Father’s Daughter: Delicious, Easy Recipes Celebrating Family Togetherness,” radiates with love for her father--and good food.  


Trisha Yearwood


Before: Grammy winner Trisha Yearwood brings back teenage heartache and angst in her addictive ballads. She started as Garth Brooks’ opening act and later became his wife.


After: For years, Yearwood collected cookbooks. She believes in southern hospitality, and meals tie her family together. She’s penned two cookbooks, along with her mother and sister, including "Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood: Stories and Recipes to Share with Family and Friends." Garth Brooks writes the forward.


Sheryl Crow


Before: Nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow started as a back-up singer for Michael Jackson. While she may wanna have some fun, she knows when to get serious: A mother of two, she’s also an activist for causes like animal rights and combating global warming.


After: In 2006, she was diagnosed with cancer. Now she believes food, that is, a diet rich in organic foods, can help heal your body. Along with her personal chef, Chuck White, who taught her to eat right, she’s penned a vegan-friendly cookbook using that philosophy called, “If It Makes You Healthy: More than 100 Delicious Recipes Inspired by the Seasons.”


Eva Longoria


Before: Eva Longoria steamed up the set of Desperate Housewives when her character seduced a neighborhood teen. Women across America reconsidered who they hired to mow their lawn.


After:  Off the set, the place Longoria turns up the heat is in the kitchen. She grew up on a Texas ranch, and each meal was based on what her family culled from the fields. The recipes in “Eva’s Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends,” tell her life story through food. She’s also a restaurateur; she owns Beso Restaurant and Kiss Nightclub, which takes a Latin approach to classic Steakhouse cuisine.


Sophia Loren


Before: Screen legend Sophia Loren was born dirt poor outside of Naples. She starred in her first film at 16, and quickly became a pinup girl in Italy. Soon she crossed the Atlantic to reign in Hollywood. People named her one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world.


After:  Loren once famously claimed when it came to her voluptuous figure, "Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti." For her, cooking is an act of love and friendship. And, over time, her recipes became her memories. In her cookbook, "Sophia Loren’s Recipes and Memories," she shares those and vintage photos with you.


Amy Sedaris


Before: Comedian and actress Amy Sedaris doesn’t hesitate before throwing herself headfirst into awkward moments. You’ll either laugh or think she’s crazy, but either way she wins. It’s sort of how her twisted humor works.


After: Her New York Times best-selling book, “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence,” teaches you not to take yourself so seriously in your role as hostess. Just play to your strengths, hide your weaknesses, and laugh at the rest. ‘Cause there are a lot of party tricks you can do with pantyhose.


Dolly Parton


Before: Country artist Dolly Parton had us all belting out our daily frustrations with her Oscar-nominated song, “9 to 5”. But her optimism was contagious; it made complaining about work almost fun.


After: Parton claims that at this point in her life, she’s tasted everything under the sun. And she shares the best of it with you in, “Dolly’s Dixie Fixin’s: Love, Laughter and Lots of Good Food,” a cookbook she wrote to raise money for her Imagination Library.


Gladys Knight


Before: Seven-time Grammy winner Gladys Knight is rightfully known as “The Empress of Soul.” Formerly the lead singer of the Pips, her distinctive voice still influences R&B singers today. When the Pips retired, she went solo--and at 67 years young, continues touring.


After: Want a bit of soul food? Knight co-owns a chain of restaurants called Gladys Knight and Ron Winans’ Chicken & Waffles, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Hmm, wonder what dish they’re known for?

Randee St. Nicholas

Laura Dern


Before: She got our hearts beating as a paleobotanist running from dinosaurs in Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, and was nominated for an Oscar for her role as Katherine Harris in Recount. This fall she moves to HBO with her dark-comedy, "Enlightened."


After: Dern, Rose McGowan and musician Ben Harper brought New York’s Little Italy to West Hollywood with their Italian eatery, Dominick’s. Spaghetti and meatballs, anyone?

Andrew Evans / PR Photos

Emily Saliers


Before: Emily Saliers met Amy Ray in elementary school. Now they’ve performed together as the folk rock music duo The Indigo Girls for over 20 years, standing up for what they believe in, holding benefits for causes ranging from gay rights to abolishing the death penalty.


After: Saliers opened Watershed Restaurant in Decatur, Georgia, with three other women in 1998. It served Southern cuisine, using local organic seasonal foods. This month it closed, and its owners announced they’ll soon re-open at an undisclosed relocation.

Daniel Locke / PR Photos

Sandra Bullock


Before: Oscar winner Sandra Bullock is a survivor. She broke onto the scene in Speed, became America’s sweetheart with her romantic comedies, and then successfully took on a dramatic role with The Blind Side. Then she got blindsided by husband Jesse James’ affair, but refused to trash him. Rather, she spent her time nurturing her adopted son, Louis.


After: She opened a Cajun style restaurant called Bess Bistro in Austin, and then followed up with Walton’s, a gourmet deli.

RD/Kirkland/Retna Digital

Cameron Diaz


Before: There’s something about actress Cameron Diaz, and it’s not just that she’s a tall, leggy blond. With her carefree spirit, she seems to have escaped the everyday stresses that bog the rest of us down.


After: Diaz is a part owner of Bambu, an Asian restaurant in South Beach that feels more like a nightclub.

PR Photos

Maya Angelou


Before: Author and poet Maya Angelou can change your thinking through her written words, starting with her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. She’s experienced the brutality of the human condition, and emerged from it with compassion as well as unshakable faith.


After: She’s loved good food her entire life, and is big on portion control. Her philosophy is to cook flavorful foods that fill you up faster. Her dramatic weight loss inspired her cookbook, “Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart.” 

courtesy of the Associated Press

Patti LaBelle


Before: Lead singer Patti LaBelle’s voice is as memorable as her lamé space-cadet suit. Her 60s’ girl group was the first black act to perform at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, where they debuted “Lady Marmalade.” Christina Aguilera ain’t got nothing on her.


After: She’s struggled with diabetes, and her mother succumbed to it. She’s penned two cookbooks to teach you how to “treat your body like a temple,” called “Recipes for the Good Life” and “Patti Labelle’s Lite Cuisine.” And she launched a now-defunct nightclub, Chez LaBelle, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

G. Moore/ PR Photos

Teresa Giudice


Before: Do Real Housewives count as celebrities?


After: Cook like a Jersey housewife, without the drama of one. Giudice has become a New York Times bestselling author with her cookbooks, “Skinny Italian: Eat It and Enjoy It” and “Fabulicious!: Teresa’s Italian Family Cookbook.”


Jennifer Jeanne Patterson is a freelance writer and author of 52 Fights. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and three children. Find her blog at Unplanned Cooking


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First Published August 15, 2011

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