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Casey Wilson may not be the next celebrity to turn into a celebrity chef, but she still enjoys being in the kitchen.
The Shrink Next Door actress recently spoke to PEOPLE about what her cooking struggles are, her favorite Food Network star, and her partnership with Hellmann’s for the brand’s new spicy mayonnaise dressing.
“I’m not the most amazing cook. I like to cook,” the mom of two tells PEOPLE. “I have too much confidence in the kitchen — but my results don’t reflect my confidence.”
One chef whose recipes always work out for Wilson? Ina Garten, of course. “I’m obsessed with the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten, like the OG,” she says. Wilson says the Food Network star’s recipes actually allow her to cook dishes she wouldn’t normally make. “Her recipes are so good and so detailed,” she adds.
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Of all of Garten’s recipes, Wilson says she’s “very into the Jeffrey chicken, of course,” referencing Garten’s most popular roast chicken recipe, often made for her husband Jeffrey. (It’s also a go-to for Jennifer Garner, Meghan Markle, and more stars.)
Wilson admits her kitchen fails typically aren’t even over elaborate recipes.
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“[Garten] is the only person I’ve actually been able to attempt a little more. I struggle sometimes with some basics, like how long am I leaving corn in the steamer?” she says. “But I’m getting better, and I love to try, which I think, that’s all you can really do.”
The actress, who co-hosts the Real Housewives breakdown podcast Bitch Sesh, says that her kids Max and Henry give her “fearless feedback” about what she cooks. She recalls when she made French toast for her son and a friend of his who was sleeping over.
“[His friend] was actually the most fearless. And I said, ‘What do you guys think?’ And he said, ‘This is genuinely terrible.’ Hard to hear from a friend of your son. But my last was nodding vigorously, agreeing it’s absolutely terrible,” she jokes.
She did, however, have a kitchen breakthrough recently with a recipe her two sons enjoyed. “I had a win in the hamburger category. They’re liking those,” she says. “So I can make an okay cheeseburger.”
In a personal essay for The New York Times in 2019, Wilson opened up about her son’s journey to being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. She gets creative when it comes to making his gluten-free school lunches. “I’ve gotten into trying to do little peanut butter cupcakes, but they’re not real cupcakes,” she tells PEOPLE. “I try to sell things. I think a lot of it is about how you have to try to just get him some protein and make it feel like he’s getting to have the things the other kids are having.”
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Especially during the early stages of the pandemic when Wilson was spending a lot of time at home, she struggled with her food choices.
“I was feeling a lot of guilt over the pandemic of like, am I cooking the right things? Am I doing enough? And I think part of spicing up your life is letting go of some guilt,” she says, giving a nod to her Hellman’s spicy mayonnaise campaign, which poses the question, “How to get spicy?”
As she “emerges from the pandemic,” Wilson is taking on a more carefree mindset to alleviate guilt, both in and out of the kitchen.
“I’m ready to get out there and see people and see friends,” she says. “I just want to spend time with the people that I really, really care about. It’s both a balance of life is so short and we have to get out and live. I’m like we have to feel alive. Life is so short “