Hollywood Chef: Reviewing 6 Celebrity Cookbooks

A number of Hollywood celebrities double as home chefs and have even written cookbooks to prove it. Unsurprisingly, a handful of these cooking and baking how-to’s have made best-seller lists, thanks to hungry consumers’ convictions that they hold the keys to Hollywood bodies and good food, too, but some books are still better than others, and that’s what we’re highlighting today.

Readers tend to pick up a celebrity’s cookbook for one of three reasons: They love the celebrity behind it; they want to learn how to make new dishes; or they want to try a new lifestyle diet. Do you fall into one of those camps? If so, before you shell out the cash for one of these celebrity cookbooks, read up on which ones are best, and which authors should stick to acting or song-writing. We won’t deny that these cooks know what they’re talking about, but let’s just say, some seem to know more than others.

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1. Gwyneth Paltrow’s It’s All Good

The first cookbook on our list is Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest, It’s All Good – arguably the most successful recipe book by a Hollywood actress currently out there on the lot. Paltrow is definitely the “it” celebrity slash cook of our time, and deservedly so, considering she has now published two cookbooks and has even been featured on the cover of Bon Appetit.

Paltrow undeniably knows food, but still, before you buy her book, bear in mind that her idea of food might be a little different than yours. She sticks to an extremely clean and strict diet, and her book focuses on elimination-diet friendly recipes. Low-carb, gluten-free, and dairy-free recipes are the name of the game in It’s All Good, but Paltrow never said following her diet regime was going to be easy. With the help of Julia Turshen, Paltrow’s book is a collection of 185 easy recipes that follows her doctor’s guidelines of no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deep-water fish, no wheat, no meat, no soy, and nothing processed at all.

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2. Sheryl Crow’s If It Makes You Healthy

Sheryl Crow’s cookbook is next to be reviewed, and first we must point out the obvious: This singer gets major points for her killer title. That alone immediately draws readers in, as long as they’re old enough to recognize Crow’s famous lyrics. Beyond the title, Crow’s content is also satiating. Her book features 125 recipes grouped seasonally that reflect the singer’s focus on eating healthy and in-season — a commitment she made after she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Together with Chef Chuck White, Crow tells an inspiring story through her recipes evidencing how a wholesome and sensible approach to food can also be integrated into all aspects of our life.

Though Crow has been praised for her book, others complain that the singer’s recipes are too complicated and time-consuming — unrealistic for the consumer base it promises to appeal to — but, as Crow says, to each his own.

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3. Eva Longoria’s Cooking With Love for Family & Friends

Another actress hot on the Hollywood scene who published a cookbook recently is Eva Longoria, the author of Cooking With Love for Family and Friends. Longoria’s book came out in 2011, and it has a focus on Texan and Mexican recipes, which Longoria says she grew up on as a child. In her cookbook, Longoria not only shares 100 of her favorite dishes — many of which are family recipes collected over the years — she also weaves family memories into the text and traces her life story from the food she was brought up on to the dishes she still serves her family at her home.

Many critics felt prepared to give Cooking With Love for Family and Friends a bad review even before it was released, as they only knew the Longoria from Desperate Housewives; however, this cookbook has proven to be a pleasant surprise, with many reviewers granting it positive feedback.

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4. Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet

The Clueless star’s cookbook is on tap for our No. 4 spot, and in this New York Times bestseller, Alicia Silverstone shares the secrets to surviving as a vegan. The actress’s veganism shouldn’t come as much of a shock to readers, considering Silverstone has long been an outspoken vegan activist. However, it’s still important to warn readers that Silverstone’s recipes are exclusively vegan — some don’t know what they’re really getting into when they buy the actress’s “simple guide to feeling great, losing weight, and saving the planet.”

Silverstone published her cookbook loaded with meat- and dairy-free recipes in 2009 and has since enjoyed largely positive reviews from her readers — at least the vegan ones. In her book synopsis, Silverstone explains that once she committed to swearing off meat and dairy forever, she realized the benefits of adopting a plant-based diet and has never turned back. She attributes her easy weight loss, clear skin, boundless energy, and smooth digestion to her diet, and shows an interest in helping her readers reap the same benefits, too. Although some of her beliefs — namely the one where she blames the consumption of meat, fish, milk, and cheese for the current rates of disease and damage to our ecology — have proven to be controversial, Silverstone has resolutely stood behind her way of eating and living and, for that, we have to tip our hat to her.

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5. Haylie Duff’s The Real Girl’s Kitchen

And Haylie Duff also has a cookbook out, too, and if you’re wondering who exactly Haylie Duff is, you may be more familiar with her sister, Hilary Duff, the former Disney star. Haylie Duff is still in Hollywood, but she also runs a popular food blog, Real Girl’s Kitchen.

Duff’s easy-to-read, handheld volume of recipes covers breakfasts, salads, soups, appetizers, snacks, and desserts, and in a strange turn of events for Hollywood cooks, not all of her recipes are vegan or vegetarian or dairy-free or gluten-free. Sure, they’re healthy, but Duff’s cookbook isn’t as polarizing as the others we have highlighted on our list. While it may not be as fully developed as Paltrow’s or Longoria’s, it still is accessible to readers and gives fans a nice window into Duff’s real life and unrestricted philosophy of eating.

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6. Teresa Giudice’s Fabulicious!

Lastly, just in case you want to cook like Teresa Guidice, there’s a guide for that, too. In fact, there’s two, but today we’re looking at the Real Housewives star’s most recent cookbook Fabulicious! Guidice published this text in 2011, and like Skinny Italian, it comes loaded with 60 recipes straight from Salerno. In Fabulicious! Teresa shares her tips for simple and inexpensive dishes, and she especially focuses on secret family recipes, celebration cooking, light lunches, and kid-friendly meals.

Say what you want about Guidice’s character on Real Housewives, most critics have given this cookbook two thumbs up. Whether its Guidice’s candor in her book that wins over readers, or just her cooking, there’s something stirring in Fabulicious! that makes this text worth reading.

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