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Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Food, Broadway, & Gwyneth Paltrow


The Modern Family actor dishes on his favorite eateries and his new partnership with Pepcid.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson may be America’s gay sweetheart but he’s also our favorite foodie. As a new season of Modern Family kicks off, the actor is staying busy with his LA restaurant, Terrine and a mouth-watering food blog. He’s also teamed up with Pepcid to celebrate local eateries and fight heartburn.

We recently caught up with the actor and self-taught cook following his run on Broadway in Fully Committed, a one-man-show in which he played the entire staff and patrons of a hip New York restaurant. We talked about food, Modern Family, and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Out Traveler: You recently teamed up with Pepcid. What’s that about?

Jesse Tyler Ferguson: It’s been a really fun partnership to celebrate local eats and encourage food enthusiasts like myself to enjoy the foods they want to enjoy without the discomfort of heartburn. It’s been really fun because I love talking about food. I’m a chef – I use that word very lightly because I did not put myself through culinary school. But I love cooking. I love trying things out in the kitchen. And usually my go-to flavors are all spicy because I’m very influenced by New Mexico which is where I grew up. So I’ve been thrilled to team up with Pepcid.

Where do you and Justin like to go on date night?

There are so many fantastic places. One of our favorites in Los Angeles is Bestia which is a really fantastic Italian place downtown. There’s a great place called Night + Market Song in our neighborhood that has fantastic flavors. That’s one of our favorites. Anything Roy Choi does, we love. Korean barbeque is a big one for us. In New York, there’s a place called ABC Kitchen. We’re very lucky we live in two cities with amazing food. Justin’s favorite thing to do is go on the eater blogs and find out what’s new and hot. We’re not looking for super fancy. We like comfortable dining and we like really tasty, great food.



Have you discovered any good restaurants on any of your recent travels?

We were just in Hawaii and I can’t remember the name of the restaurant but it came to us through a recommendation, and we had to drive 45 minutes away. It was really delicious local cuisine. That was pretty amazing. There’s a great place in San Francisco called Flour + Water that we always have to go when we go to San Francisco. It’s really amazing Italian food.

Your food blog has some great recipes. What’s one of your go-to dishes for dinner at home?

When I cook at home, I try to cook healthy. Not too many carbs. But I do go big on flavor. So one of our standard easy recipes is a sriracha salmon that I actually found on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog. It’s sriracha, lime, and maple over some baked salmon. It’s really fantastic, and it’s one of the dishes that can stand alone but you can also put a million different sides with it and create a pretty hearty meal.

Did you have anything to do with all those Gwyneth Paltrow references in Fully Committed?

I was actually a fan of her books and what she does before I even started Fully Committed. That reference in the previous version of the play was Naomi Campbell. Her assistant kept calling in, trying to get this table. So we updated it to Gwyneth Paltrow, and it worked out pretty well. I don’t know her very well but I reached out to her because I wanted to let her know that we were referencing her in the play in a sort of fun, tongue-in-cheek way. Hopefully, if she heard about it, she was amused.



So excited to be back on stage in @fullybroadway tonight after a night off! PS. I'm totally '' in this production shot.

A photo posted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) on


In the play, you played the entire staff of a restaurant as well as its patrons. Have you ever worked in a restaurant?

I was a host at a restaurant in New Mexico for about three years. That was the closest I got. I think I would have been a terrible waiter. I don’t multitask well. I get stressed out pretty easily. Ironically, cooking calms me down. I don’t get stressed out when I’m in charge of the meal but I don’t think I’d be very good at having multiple customers. I think I’d be a pretty shoddy waiter.

Well you seem like a good multitasker. How many characters did you play in Fully Committed?

(LAUGHS) It was a little under 40. But I only did that for 90 minutes a day.

Are you planning on doing anymore theater soon?

That closed in July, and I started working on Modern Family right away. I don’t have any immediate plans but there are a few things in the pipeline I want to start working on. But I’m always looking for an opportunity to go back to New York and do some theater. It’s my first love, and TV was a happy accident that came from doing theater. So it’s always where I want to return.

And you have your own restaurant in LA now. How’s that been going?

It’s really great. Justin and I are investors in this really fantastic restaurant called Terrine. It’s like a French bistro with fresh California ingredients. It’s been going really well. It’s been open for approaching two years now. It’ll be two years in September. It’s seen really great reviews, and business has been really wonderful. It was one of the places I really missed going to when I was in New York, doing the play. So being back in LA, I’m really taking advantage of that local eat.



Modern Family photo shoot! So excited to start work on season 8!

A photo posted by Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) on


A new season of Modern Family premiered this week. What can we expect for Mitch, Cam, and Lily?

We have an extended houseguest for the first few episodes. We brought in a kid from Cameron’s football team. So he’s with us for a little while while his family is away. We have a lot of really fantastic guest stars who’ve come through already. We’ve had Martin Short. Nathan Fillion’s doing a big arc with us. We have Shelley Long coming back as my mother, which is always fun to have her on set.

There’s been some criticism from gay fans about how the show desexualizes the gay couple. As a married gay man, do you think it’s a fair representation?

Wow, I haven’t heard that question. I don’t agree with that. I’m married myself and I don’t feel like that’s the case in my marriage. I would just remind people it’s a sitcom on ABC. It’s funny because you show people in very small splices of their day, and I feel like when you are the gay couple on the show, you’re already up for a lot of criticism. You have a lot of eyes on you, and you have a community that wants you to represent every facet of themselves, and that’s just impossible. We’re there representing Mitch and Cam, so we can’t be the voice for an entire community. That’s impossible. So I’m really proud of the work that the writers have done with that relationship. They’re fathers first right now, and they’re figuring out how to raise this kid who’s approaching her teens. That’s to me, way more interesting. So I love the partnership. I think they’re a really fun and poignant couple that works really well together.

Tune into ABC, Wednesdays at 9/8C to see Jesse Tyler Ferguson on Modern Family.

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