Trisha Yearwood is known for her signature sound, and Ryan Gosling got his start on the silver screen. However, both of these celebs used their fame to cook up successful careers in the kitchen, as well.
From opening their own restaurants to hosting top cooking shows, some actors and musicians are as hot inside the kitchen as they are out. While it might not be clear how much revenue they’ve earned from their adventures in eating, it’s clear that they’re taking a bite out of the food industry and growing their business empires.
Last updated: Aug. 3, 2021
Model-turned-social media personality Chrissy Teigen parlayed her Twitter fame into a foodie empire. She released her first cookbook, “Cravings,” in 2016 and its follow-up, “Cravings: Hungry for More,” in 2018. Teigen has expanded the Cravings umbrella to include cookware lines at Target and Macy’s, a YouTube channel and a website.
“I want this to be the place you come to for cooking inspiration, for a restaurant recommendation from my travels (because I just knew that the pasta baby in my belly had a higher purpose), to confirm that [my mother] Pepper really does hack a papaya straight into the bowl with Dexter-level precision, and really anything else you’ve been curious about,” Teigen wrote of her Cravings website.
Trisha Yearwood rose to fame in the country music industry, winning three Grammy Awards, three Academy of Country Music Awards and three Country Music Association honors.
The singer later took her talents to the kitchen, releasing a series of New York Times bestselling cookbooks: “Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen” (2008), “Home Cooking With Trisha Yearwood” (2010) and “Trisha’s Table” (2015). The success of Yearwood’s books helped her land a Food Network series, “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen,” which won an Emmy in 2013.
Check Out: 30 Celebrities Who Went From Rags to Riches
Hip-hop mogul Jay-Z has dominated the music charts for many years now, winning 22 Grammy Awards for his efforts. However, the rapper is also a savvy businessman and investor. He co-owns the 40/40 Club in New York City. The all-American sports bar is named after one of baseball’s most prestigious achievements, which honors players who have hit 40 home runs and stolen 40 bases in a single season.
“I love sports and wanted to create an environment that is conducive to match my lifestyle, while watching the games at the same time,” Jay-Z said on the bar’s website.
Grow Your Empire: The Ultimate Financial Planning Guide
She may be married to one of the most famous basketball players in the world, but Ayesha Curry has made a name for herself, too, as a lifestyle expert and entrepreneur. Following the success of her cookbook, “The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well,” Curry landed her own cooking show, “Ayesha’s Home Kitchen,” which aired from 2016 to 2017.
Curry is also in the restaurant business. She teamed up with chef Michael Mina to open International Smoke, which now has locations in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Del Mar, California. In addition, she has a line of culinary goods with QVC.
Curry’s second cookbook, “The Full Plate: Flavor-Filled, Easy Recipes for Families with No Time and a Lot to Do,” will be released in September.
Other Career Changes: Former Celebrities Who Have Normal Jobs Now
Actor Mark Wahlberg teamed up with his brothers, famed boy bander Donnie and Paul, a chef, to launch the burger chain Wahlburgers.
“I realized what a great opportunity it would be to build a business with my family and pass it on to generations,” Mark said during a Wahlburgers Q&A session, People reported.
The chain has locations across the U.S. — plus Canada and Germany — where you can sample Mark’s go-to menu item: the Impossible Burger, a quarter-pound plant-based patty topped with smoked cheddar, lettuce, caramelized onions, housemade chili-spiced tomatoes and Paul’s signature Wahl sauce.
Rapper Snoop Dogg’s unlikely friendship with lifestyle guru Martha Stewart landed the duo a VH1 cooking show, “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.” The success of the show led Snoop to release his very own cookbook: “From Crook to Cook: Platinum Recipes from Tha Boss Dogg’s Kitchen.” The cookbook features traditional soul food recipes, including baked mac ‘n cheese and fried bologna sandwiches.
Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock is also a restaurateur. Although her French restaurant Bess Bistro closed in 2015, she still owns Walton’s Fancy & Staple, a deli, bakery and gift shop located in Austin, Texas.
Robert De Niro
The star of “Taxi Driver,” “Goodfellas” and “Casino,” Robert De Niro is considered one of the best actors of all time. The Hollywood legend is also an accomplished restaurateur, investing in eateries around the world. His food hot spots include Tribeca Grill and Locanda Verde in New York City and 46 Nobu locations.
“They don’t always work,” he told New York Magazine of his ventures. “I’ve been very successful, but I’ve heard that a lot of times they don’t work. So, I’m mostly very lucky.”
Tiffani Thiessen, formerly Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, found fame appearing on TV’s “Saved By the Bell.” She went on to star in “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Fastlane” and “White Collar.” Following her success on the small screen, the actress invited her celebrity friends — including ’90s heartthrobs Jason Priestley and Mark-Paul Gosselaar — to cook in her home on the popular Cooking Channel series “Dinner at Tiffani’s.” The show ran from 2014 to 2017.
In 2018, she released the cookbook “Pull Up a Chair: Recipes from My Family to Yours.” Thiessen also boasts an impressive following on her blog, where she shares recipes and lifestyle tips.
“I have a true passion for all things food, home and lifestyle,” she said on her website. “This is the place to discover some of my favorite recipes, fun new products, ideas for entertaining and little tidbits of my own life — all the things I love most!”
A two-decade veteran of the entertainment industry, Tia Mowry rose to fame alongside her twin, Tamera Mowry, when the pair starred in “Sister, Sister.” She later continued her television reign without her other half on “The Game.” In 2013, the actress published her debut book, “Oh Baby! Pregnancy Tales and Advice from One Hot Mama to Another” and later released a series of young adult books called “Twintuition” with her sister. In 2017, she released a cookbook: “Whole New You: How Real Food Transforms Your Life, for a Healthier, More Gorgeous You.”
Mowry also had her own half-hour show on the Cooking Channel, “Tia Mowry at Home.” The show ran from 2015 to 2017. These days, Mowry continues to share her recipes on her YouTube channel, Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix.
Ryan Gosling made fans swoon in romantic films like “The Notebook” and “Crazy, Stupid, Love.” However, now he’s delighting fans with his food. The actor, who describes himself as “a real foodie,” owns Moroccan eatery Tagine in Beverly Hills, California.
“I never really wanted to own it, but one of my best friends called me one night, said his cousin was leaving town and needed to sell it. My friend wanted to buy it, but he said we had to do it that night. At the time, I wasn’t very busy so I spent all my money on this restaurant,” he said to Metro.co.uk. “I spent a year working in it and now I love it. I think it’s one of the best restaurants in L.A.”
Valerie Bertinelli first charmed fans as Barbara on “One Day at a Time.” She later brought her talents to the kitchen, releasing the cookbooks “One Dish at a Time” and “Valerie’s Home Cooking.” The star now has her own cooking show, also titled “Valerie’s Home Cooking,” and co-hosts “Kids Baking Championship.” In addition, Bertinelli hosts live and on-demand cooking classes on the Food Network Kitchen app.
Unsuccessful Attempts: 24 Celebrities Who Tried and Failed To Start New Careers
One of the most talented singers of all time, Patti LaBelle has two Grammy Awards to her name. She is also a bestselling author of six books and a two-time Emmy nominee.
The music legend took fans inside her kitchen on “Patti LaBelle’s Place,” where she shared her home-cooked meals with celebrity guests like Whoopi Goldberg and Michelle Williams. The show ran from 2015 to 2016. Although the show’s run is over, LaBelle is still sharing her cooking with the world — she launched a dessert line that’s available at Walmart.
“I’ve been cooking all my life,” she told Rolling Stone. “As a child, I started coming up with recipes for hot sauces and barbecue sauces and ketchup and all those kinds of things. I cook so well — and I’m not bragging, not patting myself on the back — but I cook, I think, better than I sing. I cook my face off, honey.”
Danny Trejo has nearly 400 acting credits to his name — and when he’s not busy filming, he’s running his food empire. His Trejo’s Tacos chain now has five locations throughout Los Angeles, and he also has a doughnut shop and his own line of beer. Trejo put out his first cookbook, “Trejo’s Tacos: Recipes and Stories from L.A.,” in April.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Sarah Michelle Gellar became a household name after landing the titular role in TV’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” She went on to star in popular movies like “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Cruel Intentions,” and continued her television reign on “The Crazy Ones” and “Star Wars Rebels.” While Gellar still has a passion for acting, her kids inspired her to pursue a new dream of creating a cooking and lifestyle brand.
Her kid-friendly line, Foodstirs, includes baking mixes for brownies, cupcakes and cookies, plus frosting and decorating tools.
“There’s really a great connection you only truly get when you unplug for a bit,” Gellar said to People about spending time in the kitchen with her children. “And you realize cooking is so much more than just cooking — [it’s learning] math skills, language skills, motor skills, life skills, and it’s confidence-building because kids start to believe they can accomplish this stuff.”
The company’s co-founder, Greg Fleishman, was named a top dealmaker and influencer in the consumer industry by Forbes in 2016. Following the success of Foodstirs, Gellar released a book about food crafting in the spring of 2017 titled “Stirring Up Fun With Food.”
A-list actor Channing Tatum got into the restaurant business with his New Orleans-based eatery Saints & Sinners. According to the restaurant’s website, “after countless childhood visits and several on-location film shoots,” Tatum “fell in love with the Big Easy’s laissez les bons temps rouler attitude and colorful history in a big way.” Located in the city’s red-light district, the venue is modeled after a bordello and features a seafood-heavy menu.
Chip and Joanna Gaines
Chip and Joanna Gaines have parlayed their HGTV stardom into a number of business ventures — including their breakfast and lunch restaurant, Magnolia Table. The couple renovated Waco, Texas’ historic Elite Cafe, which dates back to 1919, and reopened it as a casual dining spot “specializing in fresh, homegrown ingredients and good, old-fashioned cooking,” according to the restaurant’s website.
The couple also has a line of kitchen and dining goods under their own Magnolia label, and an additional line of kitchen and dining goods with Target. Joanna has also released two cookbooks: “Magnolia Table,” which is a New York Times bestseller, and “Magnolia Table, Volume 2.”
Haylie Duff launched her television career with guest-starring roles on “Lizzie McGuire” and “7th Heaven” before transitioning to the big screen in “Napoleon Dynamite.” While she still has the acting bug, Duff opted to follow her passion for food and launched “The Real Girl’s Kitchen” blog and cookbook. The blog was also turned into a series on Ora TV.
“I needed some kind of balance. I needed instant gratification for all of my creative energy, so I started cooking,” she said on the show. “Growing up in this world of glamour and Hollywood is really such a small portion of my life at this point. I really enjoy going to places like the farmers’ markets and great butcher shops.”
A three-time Olympic figure skater, Brian Boitano has won more than 50 titles, including 23 international gold medals, two world titles and an Olympic gold medal. After finding success on the ice, the athlete took his talents to the stove in 2009, premiering his Food Network series, “What Would Brian Boitano Make?”
He later released his debut cookbook, which includes personal anecdotes and family recipes. Boitano has also starred in series on the Cooking Channel and HGTV and continues to share recipes on his official website.
Norman Reedus used his “Walking Dead” fame to launch a successful restaurant venture. The star opened hot spot Nic & Norman’s in Senoia, Georgia, where the uber-popular TV series is filmed.
“It’s something to pay tribute to the area where we shoot the show and have the cast and the crew have a place to call their own,” co-owner and “TWD” director Greg Nicotero told People.
Not a Bad Way To Start: 35 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Born Rich
Pharrell Williams has had major successes in the music industry as both a producer and artist, and now he’s dabbling in the food industry as well. The 13-time Grammy winner paired up with hospitality pro David Grutman to open the indoor/outdoor restaurant Swan, located in Miami’s Design District.
Model, influencer and former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo teamed up with her father and cousin to open a restaurant in her home state of Rhode Island. Back 40 serves American comfort food including fried chicken, deviled eggs and mac ‘n cheese.
Florida Georgia Line
Country duo Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard — aka Florida Georgia Line — opened their very own restaurant-slash-country music bar in Nashville, Tennessee. The restaurant “fuses unique Southern-style cuisine with California flair” and, of course, serves the musicians’ own Old Camp Whiskey.
“It was something BK and I always thought would be neat, whether it was a bar or a restaurant — we’ve talked about opening a coffee shop before,” Hubbard told People. “We have a knack for food and beverage; taking care of our friends and our people.”
Rapper-slash-actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges has sold 15 million albums and starred in the uber-successful “Fast & Furious” film franchise — and he also has a restaurant in the Atlanta airport. Named for his third studio album, Chicken + Beer serves Southern-style comfort food and is the first airport restaurant in the U.S. to be a contender for the James Beard Award, according to the restaurant’s website.
It Took Some a Little Longer: Samuel L. Jackson and 34 Other Celebrities Who Got Rich and Famous Later in Life
Gloria Estefan has had 29 singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and earned three Grammy Awards. And she also owns several restaurants along with her husband, Emilio. The couple opened the Cuban restaurant Estefan Kitchen in Miami in 1992.
“We felt it was a great extension of what we had already accomplished through our music, which was to showcase our culture to the world,” the couple states on the restaurant’s website. “It is another way to show our fans who we are, not just through our music, but through our culinary heritage.”
The Estefans also own Larios on the Beach, also in Miami, and an Orlando location of Estefan Kitchen. In addition, they have their own line of Estefan Kitchen spices, sauces and coffee.
You probably recognize Jon Huertas as Miguel from “This Is Us,” but you might not know that he is also a restaurant owner. Huertas owns Clutch, a roadhouse Calimex restaurant and bar in Venice, California. The restaurant is known for its dry-rubbed barbecue and craft beer, plus the motorcycles and classic cars that are always parked outside.
Emmy Award-winning actor Ty Burrell is best-known for playing Phil Dunphy on “Modern Family,” but he’s also the co-owner of three restaurants and bars in his home of Park City, Utah: Bar X, Beer Bar and the Eating Establishment.
“I used to say that I was a foodie, but then my wife pointed out, after she went to culinary school, that I’m just someone who likes to eat a lot,” he told Grub Street. “I don’t have a very discerning palate. I will eat anything you put in front of me.”
“Coyote Ugly” star Piper Perabo co-owns two of New York City’s hottest restaurants — Employees Only and Jack’s Wife Freda. She told Interview she’s a hands-on investor when it comes to those properties: “I invest because I’m really a firm believer in letting the artist make their work […] but all through the construction — the menus, the tastings, everything — I was constantly sitting in the construction site with them.”
Jack’s Wife Freda now has three New York locations while Employees Only has now expanded to the West Coast with a location in Los Angeles.
Zach Braff has made a name for himself on the big and small screens — with acting credits that include “Garden State” and “Scrubs” — and he’s also dipped a toe into the food industry as a partner in Mermaid Oyster Bar, which opened in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village in 2009. The restaurant won a Time Out New York reader’s choice award for best new seafood restaurant in 2010.
Trisha Yearwood isn’t the only country music legend to land her own cooking show. Martina McBride starred on the Food Network show “Martina’s Table” in 2018. The 14-time Grammy nominee also released two cookbooks: “Around the Table” and “Martina’s Kitchen Mix.”
- What Money Topics Do You Want Covered: Ask the Financially Savvy Female
- 5 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About Social Security
- 20 Home Renovations That Will Hurt Your Home’s Value
- What Income Level Is Considered Middle Class in Your State?
Rachel Hoffman contributed to the reporting for this article.