Madison Lehman (Edelman x Ajinomoto)

Chrissy Teigen’s Mom Talks Love For Thai Cuisine, New Product Line

By: Broadry, National Lifestyle Content Desk

In this week’s Q&A, we talk with Pepper Tiegen, cookbook author and mom to Chrissy Teigen about her favorite Thai recipes and latest product launch.

Q: Pepper, who taught you how to cook?

Pepper: I learned how to cook from my mom starting around the age of 6. She worked as a cafeteria lady at a school in the town where I grew up in Thailand and would cook food every morning for people who were coming into the school. My first cooking experiences were helping her with that job.

Q: What is one of your first childhood memories of cooking?

Pepper: I remember working alongside my mom every morning before school. At first I would be responsible for all the prep every morning, and I remember going to the market to do all the shopping. I loved that market so much, and it’s still one of my favorite places to visit when I go to Thailand now.

Q: :What are some of your favorite dishes to cook and why?

Pepper: Some of my favorite dishes are ones I can cook with and for my family! My Thai coconut pancakes, or kanom krok, have always been special to me because it’s one of the first dishes that my mom taught me to cook, and I would make them starting when I was 10 years old. Later, I taught my daughters Chrissy and Tina the recipe when they were young, and now it’s one of Luna’s favorite things to cook with me! In our family, kanom krok is passed down from mother to daughter, which makes it a very special dish to me.

Q: What is it like cooking with your grandchildren?  What is their favorite dish you cook?

Pepper: I love cooking with my grandchildren! It’s a way for me to share our Thai culture with them. Luna is becoming a really good cook already, and Miles loves to eat and try new foods all the time. They both love many dishes, but my Pad Korat noodles is a family favorite. It’s the style of Pad Thai that’s most popular in the town where I grew up (called Korat). Now I’ll mix the noodles with whatever we have in the fridge at the time, and it’s always a hit. Usually, the family asks me to make it multiple times a week! 

Q: What is Chrissy’s favorite dish you make and why?

Pepper: Chrissy loves many of my dishes, but one of her favorites is the Scalloped Potatoes. She calls it her comfort food. It’s one of the first American dishes I learned how to cook, and it’s also a dish that can be enjoyed in so many different ways. You can make it for a special holiday meal with the family, but it also makes great leftovers. I even make extra on purpose so that we always have some to eat the next day!

Q: Why did you partner with Ajinomoto on the KNOW MSG campaign?

Pepper: I’m excited to be part of this campaign because I’ve been cooking with MSG (Note: Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the sodium salt of the common amino acid glutamic acid) for years and want to bring justice to this misunderstood ingredient! In Thailand, MSG is a staple ingredient, I even keep a small MSG shaker in my purse to bring on family vacations because it makes everything taste better. I think it’s important for people to have a better understanding of MSG.

(Editor’s note: According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions. Source: FDA.gov)

Q: I heard you will be having a product launch this Spring, can you share what it is?

Pepper: I’ll be launching my own Pepper Thai seasoning in collaboration with Omsom this spring. I can’t share too many details yet, but I’m so excited share more in the spring.

To learn about Pepper, find her on Instagram.