Table of Contents
The Multi-Hyphenate: Blake Lively
She’s beloved for her acting and impeccable style, but recently Lively, 35, has garnered an unexpected fan base—the sobercurious set—thanks to her Betty Buzz line of non-alcoholic mixers. When the teetotaling star—who is expecting her fourth child with husband Ryan Reynolds—released the bubbly blends last year, she thought she’d be “an outlier” in the cocktail space. Instead, support for the drinks (which can be sipped straight or mixed with liquor) has been “overwhelming,” she says. “It’s been neat to see all of the nondrinkers who have come out and said thank you.” The couple’s many successes have allowed them to help others in need. While many families struggled with food insecurity during the pandemic, Lively and Reynolds personally donated more than $2.5 million to organizations combating hunger and water crises, including Feeding America, Food Banks Canada and Water First. Having a fulfilling career and still making time to cook cat-shaped pancakes for family breakfast is the example she wants to set for her three daughters, James, 7, Inez, 6, and Betty, 2. “I grew up watching a woman be everything: a mom and also the hardest-working businesswoman I knew,” says Lively of her mother, Elaine. “So it’s important for me for my kids to see that you don’t have to choose one or the other. I don’t need them to be a business – woman or a mom. They can be both or neither, but [I want] them to see anything is possible.”
Mail Order: Soup Dumplings
Get some dim sum! Xiao Chi Jie’s dumplings arrive frozen, but the Shanghainese xiao long bao—delicate parcels filled with pork, ginger, garlic and a jiggly, semisolid stock that melts into broth (or soup) when steamed—taste like they came out of a restaurant kitchen. $40 for 50, thexcj.com
Fast Food: Hart House
Kevin Hart is taking plant-based eating mainstream. This summer he opened his first quick-service spot, in L.A., with plans to break ground on more around the country. “I’m always on the road, and I realized people need healthier options,” he said. On the menu: crispy “chicken” sandwiches and vegan burgers topped with Hart’s signature sauce.
All-Star Launches: Dolly Parton’s Southern-Style Cake MixCake Mix
In Dolly Parton we trust! Her Southern-style banana and coconut cake mixes and frostings, available in chocolate and vanilla buttercream, taste like they’re made from scratch. They’re so good, it received PEOPLE’s 2022 Food Award! $2, amazon.com
All-Star Launches: Tom Colicchio’s Sauce
Top Chef head judge Tom Colicchio’s new bottled pasta sauce collection uses only Jersey tomatoes in his six blends, each inspired by a region of Italy. $45 for 3, colicchiocollection.com
All-Star Launches: Lil Yachty’s Pizza
Rapper Lil Yachty’s passion for pizza is growing into a side gig. His Walmart-exclusive line of frozen pies comes in Buffalo-style chicken, hot honey cheese and veggie supreme, $7, walmart.com
All-Star Launches: Luke Bryan’s Boldly GrownPopcorn
“My favorite snack, grown on my farm,” says Luke Bryan of his limited-edition treat. Available in bold butter and chart toppin’ churro, the country star’s snack cures any craving. $5, boldlygrowngoods.com
All-Star Launches: Gal Gadot’s Goodles Macaroni & Cheese
It’s a wonder that each serving of the Wonder Woman star’s macaroni and cheese packs 6g of fiber and 14g of protein. Made with real cheese and vegetables like kale and spinach, Gal Gadot’s flavors take boxed kits up a notch. $3, target.com
All-Star Launches: Issa Rae’s Hilltop Coffee
Hometown flavor! Issa Rae partnered with the Black-owned brand and opened a coffee shop in her hometown of Inglewood, Calif. $18, findyourhilltop.com
Food Meets Fashion: Brooks Cereal Sneakers
These shoes are cereal-ously cute! The breakfast-inspired Bowl O’ Brooks collection, which comes in three styles inspired by classic morning cereals, are built for comfort, support and speed. $110 and up, brooksrunning.com
Food Festival: Cayman Cookout
After a two-year hiatus, the four-day festival returns to Grand Cayman with its unique mix of top-notch chefs, delicious food and luxurious island vibes. Staged at the newly-updated Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman on Seven Mile Beach, events include a Caribbean beach barbecue with Emeril Lagasse and a dance party under the stars with Eric Ripert. Other chefs joining the festival this year include José Andrés, Iron Chef host Kristen Kish and Top Chef alum Adrienne Cheatham. Jan. 12-15, at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman
Celebrity Cook: Selena Gomez
For four seasons of HBO Max’s Selena + Chef, the star has been learning to cook—via Zoom!— from pros like Jamie Oliver and Ayesha Curry. It’s helped her gain confidence in the kitchen (she now rates her skills a modest “5 out of 10”) and give back, donating more than $500,000 to charities chosen by the chefs. This year Gomez, 30, welcomed her first in-person mentor, Gordon Ramsay, who taught her to make a simple but impressive scallop dish. “When I saw him I almost started crying,” she says. “It was such an honor.”
Create an online shopping list from dozens of local stores — like Costco, Wegmans, Petco and HMart — and a personal shopper will deliver your order the same day (and sometimes even within a few hours). The membership also allows members to create a family plan to meet their food and personal shopping needs. $10 a month for free unlimited delivery (orders over $35)
Everything old is new again. The ancient Roman pastry—a lightly sweetened brioche bun stuffed with a cloudlike mound of whipped cream—is selling out in restaurants and bakeries, filling up Internet feeds and even taking a star turn on TV (it plays a pivotal role in Netflix’s Love & Gelato).
Theme Park: Galactic Starcruiser
At the immersive Star Wars-themed hotel at Walt Disney World, dine like you’re in a galaxy far, far away. Step into the Crown of Corellia Dining Room for a Blue Milk Citrus Fizz, made of lychee, lime and blue-milk sorbet, or the Seared Kashyyyk Whitefish—a culinary nod to Chewbacca’s home populated with Wookiees.
Food Artist: Funny Face Bakery
Sugar cookies are the ultimate canvas for the N.Y.C.-based pastry designers, who hand-pipe each treat to resemble stars like Harry Styles, Meghan Markle and Taylor Swift, viral memes and custom portraits. $11 and up, funnyfacebakery.com
Celebs’ Go-To Cooking Tools: Jimmy Kimmel
Giving Back: Feeding Ukraine
Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, José Andrés’s World Central Kitchen has been on the front lines, providing more than 150 million meals to those affected. “We always find a way to reach people who are in need of a plate of food,” he says. Other famous faces have joined in aid efforts, including Rachael Ray, Marc Murphy, Jessica Seinfeld and Liev Schreiber, who helped cook a Passover meal for refugees in Poland.
Meal Delivery: Shef.com
A home-cooked meal doesn’t have to be cooked in your home. Using the online platform, diners can order fresh, delicious meals made by members of their local community. The service helps talented cooks—many of them immigrants and women—earn money doing something they love, all from the comfort of their own kitchens.shef.com
The Rookie: Chigs Parmar
The Great British Baking Show ace won two star-baker titles, two coveted handshakes from judge Paul Hollywood and the hearts of viewers who fell for his earnest charm and dazzling creations. Parmar, a 41-year-old sales manager who learned to bake “by watching YouTube videos because I was bored” during the COVID-19 lockdown, eclipsed more seasoned cooks to reach the series finale. “Moving forward, I’m never going to doubt my ability to do anything,” says the Leicester, U.K., native. “If I want to do something, I’m just going for it.” While there have been some “monumental mess-ups” along the way, Parmar hopes to inspire other latebloomer bakers. “Get a wooden spoon and try,” he says, suggesting his soda bread as the easiest for beginners. “I’m very proud that I’m still learning, and I’m getting better every day.”
Cocktail: Dirty Martini
Flavors may have their moment (ahem, espresso martini), but a classic never goes out of style. As nightlife returned to its pre-pandemic glory, the sexy cocktail— gin, dry vermouth and a splash of olive brine— became the symbol for living the good life again.
Wellness: Canyon Ranch Woodside
Tucked within the towering redwoods of Northern California, this luxury wellness retreat serves decadently nourishing meals made with local, organic and biodynamic ingredients. Follow your morning yoga class and afternoon forest bathing with stellar California wine pairings and meals like tamales with roasted carrots and cauliflower. It’s feel-good food done right.
Pop-Culture Cookbooks: Seinfeld
Yes, soup for you! Inspired by the iconic sitcom, there are more than 60 recipes inspired by memorable scenes from the show — including George’s jerk store shrimp cocktail, Jerry’s fusilli and Elaine’s muffin tops. $34.99; amazon.com
Pop-Culture Cookbooks: Gilmore Girls
Come for the nostalgic trip to Stars Hollow and Luke’s Diner; stay for the fast cooking (and fast-talking) tips from Lorelai, Rory and chef Sookie. $27; amazon.com
Pop-Culture Cookbooks: Pokémon
Whether a Pokémon trainer or master, cooks of all levels can make recipes are based on their favorite characters, such as Pikachu lemon tarts and Charizard arrabbiata pasta. $25; amazon.com
Pop-Culture Cookbooks: Parks and Recreation
Cook like you’re a citizen of Pawnee and treat yo’self to Leslie Knope’s favorite diner waffles or Ron Swanson’s “World Famous” baby-back ribs. $25; amazon.com
Pop-Culture Cookbooks: Emily in Paris
French classics (like croissants and crème brûlée) and show favorites (like chef Gabriel’s omelette) are Instagram-worthy, in true Emily style. $32.50; amazon.com
Pop-Culture Cookbooks: Black Panther
The collection celebrates cuisine from the fictional kingdom of Wakanda and real culinary traditions from Africa, inspired by more than 50 years of Black Panther comics. $26; amazon.com
Food & Travel Show: Chef’s Table Pizza
“Perfection through simplicity [is] the greatest revelation that I’ve ever had,” says Chris Bianco, founder of legendary Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix and one of the chefs featured on the Netflix docuseries. Transcending a show about dough and sauce, episodes reveal how Bianco, Minneapolis icon Ann Kim and pizza makers around the world channel their skills and passions to elevate the humble pie. into an art form.
The Rising Star: Buddha Lo
“I set a goal a long time ago to win Top Chef,” says the Port Douglas, Australia, native, who did just that on the show’s 19th season in Houston. Not only did Lo, 31, impress the judges early with his fine-dining skills — host Padma Lakshmi deemed his Parker House rolls and strawberries-and-cream dessert two of the best dishes ever made on the show — but he also demonstrated his mastery of preparing simple foods, like his “Marry Me Pasta”, inspired by a dinner his wife made him 12 years ago. Now the executive chef at Huso in New York City is looking for a restaurant space of his own where he can focus on achieving his next goal. “I’m hoping to get three Michelin stars one day,” he says.
Pantry Shortcuts: Omsom Spicy Bulgogi
Cook meat, tofu and vegetables in this all-in-one, smoky Korean barbecue sauce, and dinner is done! $12 for 3, omsom.com
Pantry Shortcuts: Diaspora Co. Tandoori Masala
The Indian blend is a potent mixture of 15 single-origin spices from small regenerative farm, including turmeric, red chile, saffron and jaggery. Use it as a dry rub or mix it with yogurt as a marinade. $15, diasporaco.com
Pantry Shortcuts: King Arthur Alaskan Sourdough
Loaves bake up with a crunchy crust and airy, chewy texture— no sourdough starter needed. The dough can be prepared by hand or in a bread machine. $7, kingarthurbaking.com
Pantry Shortcuts: Trader Joe’s Honey Walnut Shrimp
Toss the crispy, lightly battered shrimp with the enclosed packet of sweet-and-sour sauce and candied nuts. $7, at Trader Joe’s stores
Pantry Shortcuts: Good & Gather Ramen Soup Starter
The chicken broth— seasoned with ginger, tamari, garlic and seaweed—is an excellent base for Japanese noodles. $2, target.com
Pantry Shortcuts: Guelaguetza Mole Negro
Mexican mole needs time to develop its deep flavor. This starter, made with three types of chile, does the work in 10 minutes. $15, ilovemole.com
Star Foodie: Dwayne Johnson
We can’t smell—but we can see—what The Rock is cooking. On social media, Johnson documents his epic Sunday breakfasts, fast-food adventures (his first In-N-Out meal!) and even afternoon tea-parties with his daughters. It’s a reminder hard work should be rewarded: “Don’t cheat yourself, treat yourself,” he says.
Viral Recipe: Grated Egg on Avocado Toast
“Put an egg on top” took on a whole new meaning when this hack — finely grating a hard-boiled egg over a slice of avocado toast — became a hit on TikTok, racking up almost 53 million views to date. The light, fluffy shreds virtually melt in your mouth, elevating the basic toast in a satisfyingly simple way.
Mobile App: Resy
It’s not just for dinner reservations anymore! While the app still lets people snag tables at the most popular restaurants, it has also expanded into staging curated, one-of-a-kind culinary experiences. Events have included The Boardwalk — a chefs’ takeover of the Santa Monica Pier in L.A. complete with rides, games and elevated beachside food — and Drive-Thru Miami, a 10-course tasting menu delivered to diners in their cars.
Best Salt for the Table: Morton Salt
Made for a shaker, the tiny, cube-shaped crystals dissolve quickly over food and won’t clump in the bottle. $1.30, target.com
Best Salt for Finishing: Maldon Sea Salt Flakes
Pyramid-shaped flakes add a delicate final crunch to seared meats, scrambled eggs and chocolate desserts. $5, amazon.com
Best Salt for Baking: La Baleine Fine Sea Salt
Accuracy is essential in baking. The uniform crystals incorporate easily into batters and doughs. $7, freshdirect.com
Best Salt for Cooking: Diamond Crystal Kosher
Preferred by chefs (and the PEOPLE test kitchen!), the light, flat crystals have a neutral flavor without being too salty. $12, amazon.com
Best Salt for Cocktails: Jacobsen Classic Margarita Salt
The rim-gripping flakes make drinks pop, enhancing sweetness and balancing bitterness. $13, williams-sonoma.com
Food on Film: The Bear
On the FX on Hulu series, fine dining chef Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White) comes home to Chicago to save his family’s Italian beef sandwich shop after his brother’s death. Pushing through the bedlam surrounding him, Carmy learns to stand the heat — in and out of the kitchen. It’s tough, raw, tense and tender, and leaves viewers hungry for season 2.
Gadget: Electric Hot Pot
Designed to sit in the center of a table, the easy-to-use hot pot keeps seasoned broth boiling as you add and pull out meat, seafood, noodles and veggies. When not making hot pot, use the grill plate to sear ingredients, like chicken and bell peppers for fajitas. Open Kitchen Hot Pot, $90, williams-sonoma.com