11 Surprising Celebrity Cookbook Authors
The list of celebrities who have tried their hand at writing cookbooks ranges from the not-so-surprising (Oprah) to the totally unexpected (Stanley Tucci?). Here are 11 famous, non-chef figures whose cookbooks you can buy.
When Oprah is obsessed with something, the whole world is obsessed with it. So it’s surprising that it took her until 2017 to release her favorite recipes. Food, Health, and Happiness: 115 On-Point Recipes for Great Meals and a Better Life is part cookbook, part memoir, and part lifestyle guide from the talk show host and cultural icon (and her favorite chefs). Oprah is an investor in Weight Watchers, so obviously each recipe includes calorie counts and how many Weight Watchers points each recipe is worth.
Coolio likes to describe himself as the “black Rachel Ray,” and has been dishing out cooking advice for quite a while. A whole episode of the reality TV show Coolio’s Rules was devoted to “Cooking with Coolio,” a segment that was later expanded into a web series. He describes his cookbook, Cookin' with Coolio: 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price, as a guide to becoming a “kitchen pimp.” Some of the recipes include “Finger-Lickin', Rib-Stickin', Fall-Off-the-Bone-and-into-Your-Mouth Chicken” and "Banana Ba-ba-ba-bread.” In 2012, the rapper appeared on an episode of the Food Network show Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, competing in the cooking show under the tutelage of Guy Fieri.
3. MAYA ANGELOU
The poet and civil rights activist might not be as well known for her cooking as for her verse, but she’s the author of two cookbooks, Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes and Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart. The former takes a memoir-inflected approach to laying out Angelou’s favorite dishes, while the latter was inspired by the author’s significant weight loss and includes advice on moderation and portion control.
4. SMASH MOUTH
Most culinary aficionados don’t think of the back of a tour bus as the most delicious food destination in the world, but nonetheless, Smash Mouth: Recipes from the Road: A Rock 'n' Roll Cookbook does exist. The band members’ favorites from their pit stops across the country include lobster sandwiches and “Pink Lady apple and arugula salad." All the recipes were just solicited from real chefs by the band, but the book does have chapter-long cameos from famous/infamous contributors like Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar. You should probably buy the book immediately, just based on the Amazon review that includes this tidbit about Sammy Hagar's chapter: "The whole things about aliens! Wha?”
5. STANLEY TUCCI
If you thought Stanley Tucci’s turn as a foodie in Julie and Julia was acting, flip open one of his cookbooks. His first, The Tucci Cookbook, is drawn from his family traditions in Italian cooking. And he followed it up with another family-oriented cookbook. Written with Felicity Blunt, his wife, The Tucci Table (2014) combines the Italian-American and British favorites Tucci and Blunt grew up with, respectively. It features recipes for everything from pasta alla bottarga to barbecue chicken wings.
6. TRISHA YEARWOOD
In addition to her country music stardom, Trisha Yearwood has her own show on the Food Network, Trisha’s Southern Kitchen. She has published three cookbooks with co-authors since 2008. Her latest is Trisha's Table: My Feel-Good Favorites for a Balanced Life. Unlike the fried chicken and barbecue pork featured in her 2008 book Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, her newest recipes tend toward vegetarian alternatives like sweet pea burgers and edamame parmesan.
7. ZIGGY MARLEY
In October 2016, Ziggy Marley made his cookbook debut with Ziggy Marley and Family Cookbook: Delicious Meals Made With Whole, Organic Ingredients from the Marley Kitchen. The book highlights the Rastafarian and Jamaican cultures that influenced meals in the Marley household, and has contributions from not just Ziggy but his wife, his sister, and a handful of chefs. In addition to recipes like jerk chicken and fish stew, the book includes a hefty number of vegetarian and vegan recipes.
8. TONY DANZA
Television actor Tony Danza penned Don't Fill Up on the Antipasto: Tony Danza's Father-Son Cookbook with his son Marc in 2010. The family recipe book tells tales of the Danza clan’s large extended family dynamic alongside black-and-white photographs and nostalgic recipes like “Sunday Sauce and Meatballs.” Just about every Amazon review for the book mentions the meatballs, so they are obviously pretty spectacular.
9. REGIS AND KATHIE LEE
Back in the ‘90s, talk-show cohosts Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford penned a cookbook made up of recipes from the show’s guests. In Cooking With Regis & Kathie Lee: Quick & Easy Recipes From America's Favorite TV Personalities, chefs that appeared on the cooking segment contributed instructions for dishes like Mediterranean eggplant pie and yogurt chicken. Made for the show’s superfans rather than expert cooks, the easy recipes provide substitutions for more unusual ingredients.
10. SAMMY HAGAR
Former Van Halen rocker Sammy Hagar dipped his toes/wallet into the culinary scene in 1990 with the restaurant chain Cabo Wabo, which he founded with the rest of the band. (He later bought them out when the place failed to turn a profit.) In addition to his chapter in the Smash Mouth cookbook, in 2015, he released Are We Having Any Fun Yet?: The Cooking & Partying Handbook. As the founder of Cabo Wabo-brand tequila and Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Hagar’s cookbook is heavy on the party aspect, but finds time to detail his favorite recipes from his favorite beach vacation spots (Cabo San Lucas being one of them, obviously) and from his time on the road.
11. MORGAN FREEMAN
In 2006, actor Morgan Freeman published Morgan Freeman and Friends: Caribbean Cooking for a Cause, donating the profits to his charity, Grenada Relief Fund, which was designed to help the island’s residents recover from 2004’s Hurricane Ivan. The cookbook is full of Caribbean food recipes from Freeman (like his grilled swordfish steak with lemon caperberry butter) and other celebrities. Some of the Hollywood figures who contributed Caribbean recipes include Tom Hanks, Ben Affleck, and Kenny Chesney (who has a house in the U.S. Virgin Islands), for instance.