BY: GIBSON JOHNS
Tiffani Thiessen has worn many hats throughout her life: actress, wife, mother and, most recently, celebrity chef.
The former "Saved by the Bell" and "Beverly Hills: 90210" star's show on the Cooking Channel, adorably titled "Dinner at Tiffani's," debuted last winter and just wrapped the filming of its second season, which, she revealed, will feature fun celebrity guests such as Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Daisy Fuentes when it premieres this winter.
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We recently sat down with the iconic star to discuss her passion for cooking, her partnership with Quaker Oats and her continued success in show business. Throughout our conversation, Thiessen was frank and unguarded when reflecting on the lasting impact of "Saved by the Bell" (though, she notes, a full-on reboot á la "Full House" is something she "highly doubts" will happen), and she was quick to point out that the sex symbol status of Kelly Kapowski is, well, "strange."
Thiessen's love of cooking shone through throughout our time with her, as did her adoration for her children Harper and Holt -- and, yes, Harper does help her mother in the kitchen.
See throwback photos of Tiffani Thiessen from her "Saved by the Bell" days:
Check out our full conversation with Tiffani Thiessen below:
Between "Dinner at Tiffani's" and your collaboration with Quaker, it's clear that you have a passion for food. Have you always had an affinity for cooking?
I've always loved cooking and I was always in the kitchen with my mother, aunt and grandmother. I think it just evolved as I travelled and started going into other countries and experiencing different cultures and foods around the world, but becoming a mother and a wife, it's gone into a whole other phase where I just like to get really creative in the kitchen with them and for them.
How has the experience been on "Dinner at Tiffani's"? Now that you've wrapped your second season, you must feel like a pro!
It's been so fun -- I never thought I would have so much fun on the show. It's been fun because on the second season I was able to open the doors to people that I hadn't seen in a long time, so you'll get to see people that I haven't seen in forever: Old co-stars and people I've known for years like Daisy Fuentes and, one of the most anticipated ones, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, is coming onto the show and everybody is very excited about that. He comes with his wife and we do a fun little double-date type thing!
Does your daughter Harper ever join you in the kitchen to help out?
Harper cooks with me a lot of the time! I usually put her towards the sink, though, so I can just kind of wash it out. [Laughs] It's so cute because she's always using salt and pepper and saying, 'Mommy! Use salt and pepper!'
Do you make an effort to be healthy when you cook? Or is that not something you really worry about?
I'm definitely trying to be on the healthier side now, since I've just had a baby. But, generally, no -- I'm a foodie -- I like food.
What do you think of the pressure on celebrity mothers to lose baby weight?
I try not to [let it get to me] because I think us, as women, we put that pressure on ourselves already. Right now, I have a 6-month-old baby and I'm here to feed him -- so I have to eat, you know?
There's no way that I could starve myself and try to get back into my size-4 jeans -- it's just not possible at the moment. I'll get there; I've done it before, and I'll do it again. I'll get there when I get there.
You recently partnered with Quaker Oats on the Bring Your Best Bowl campaign. What about that felt like the right fit for you?
I'm a huge fan of oatmeal and I use it in a bunch of my recipes, so I was pretty honored when they came to me. Harper [also] loves oatmeal! She changes it up a little bit, but she's 5 so she just likes the sweet stuff -- you know, brown sugar and bananas and raisins. It's been really fun to work with these guys because I've been able to be more creative with my recipes.
What are some other ways that you have learned to spice up your oatmeal?
We have three highlighted recipes: A savory one, grilled cheese and tomato soup, which is super interesting and actually really amazing -- that's a really fun one. Then there are two sweeter ones: Raspberry crumble and raspberry lemonade, which I really love and I'm obsessed with because it has chia seeds in it.
I have to ask you about "Saved by the Bell" -- reboots of older TV shows like "Full House" and "The X-Files" are all the rage these days -- is that something you think will ever happen with "Saved by the Bell"?
I highly doubt you'll get any of us [for something like that]. We did People, we did Fallon, and I think we felt like we at least delivered a little bit for the fans, but I think we're done on that front. We couldn't have done it in a better way [than doing it with Fallon].
What do you think of the lasting legacy of "Saved by the Bell?" Is that something that's surprising to you? Is it weird being on *that* T-shirt?
It's a bit of a surprise -- I'm almost 42 years old! And is [the t-shirt] weird? Yeah, a little bit. It's a little strange seeing yourself at 15 on people's t-shirts. [Laughs] It's definitely a little strange.
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