Vilailuck Teigen is one of the Internet’s favorite moms. Living with model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen and singer-actor John Legend, she makes frequent cameos in the candid videos and pictures that her daughter posts, casually filling the kitchen with homemade sausages or reenacting scenes from Varsity Blues. But Vilailuck (or Pepper, as her family likes to call the spice-loving matriarch) has her own public presence, too, sharing pictures of her farmers’ market hauls, pepper-filled papaya salads, and, like any good mom, photos of her daughter and granddaughter.
Pepper worked closely with Chrissy on her first cookbook, Cravings, and made sure to infuse the whole book with a healthy dose of heat. In a tribute chapter titled “Thai Mom,” Chrissy writes about some of the spicier dishes her mom likes to cook for the family, like jok (rice porridge), pad grapow (stir-fried basil chicken), beef salad, and of course two different kinds of hot sauce. On a recent afternoon while Pepper and Chrissy tested out a new recipe for a soup called tom kha gai for Chrissy’s next cookbook, I called into the Teigen-Legend household to talk about nicknames, spice tolerance, and the importance of carrying ghost chiles around in one’s purse.
Who was the first person to call you Pepper? How did that nickname come about?
My husband. I love hot food, and my name is kind of long. Every time I eat, I have to have peppers or something spicy. Sometimes we even have a contest to see who can eat hotter, and I always win. Continue Reading Vilailuck Teigen Talks About Her Daughter’s Upcoming Cookbook