Plus the inside scoop on her favorite food, her cookbook and her hit TV show.

What happens when a city girl moves to her husband's family farm in rural Minnesota? A hit TV show, a lot of baking (sprinkles!) and two cookbooks. EatingWell talks with Molly Yeh about her love of bagels, what she eats in a day, being a mom and everything in between. Don't miss her delicious Crispy Veggie Buns recipe, either. Here is our interview with Food Network star Molly Yeh.

Molly Yeh cooking
Credit: Chantell Quernemoen

Finish this sentence: To me, cooking is ...

My favorite creative outlet. I love nothing more than decorating cakes—picking the perfect sprinkles, color palette and cookie cutouts to adorn them with. Cooking is also a window into other places, cultures and communities. And it's a way to connect to my Chinese and Jewish ancestry.

Is there a kitchen tool that you can't live without?

I love my kitchen scale because it eliminates most of the need to use measuring cups and that decreases the amount of dirty dishes! You also get more consistent results when you weigh things, especially with baking.

What's always in your fridge?

Greek yogurt, because no matter what dairy product I'm out of, I feel like Greek yogurt can always be a good stand-in.

Is there a food that says home to you?

I would say matzo brei. Growing up, my mom would make it for me, and when I moved from New York City to northern Minnesota, making it felt like bringing a little part of myself to this kitchen. It's so comforting.

What was your biggest adjustment transitioning from city life to farm life?

Learning how to live without a bagel place down the street! After months of ordering bagels online and keeping stashes in my freezer, I finally decided that I was going to learn how to make them. They require special high-gluten flour, which helps get bagels extra chewy ... so I had to track that down. It turns out, it comes from the type of wheat grown right in these fields. So, I basically live on a bagel farm!

What do you typically eat in a day?

Each day is different, especially if I'm in recipe-testing mode. [Which would be now. Yeh is testing recipes for the next season of her Food Network show, Girl Meets Farm, and her third cookbook.] A few days ago, I made a gigantic spread of dim sum! Today, I'm testing lasagnas. I try to maintain some sanity by just pairing whatever I'm eating with a salad. Sometimes I'm testing as many as 20 recipes a week!

How do you define healthy?

Healthy to me is very much a process. It's figuring out what makes me feel good and recognizing it can change over time. A few months ago I was doing a lot of HIIT workouts. I was exhausted all the time and began dreading them. So, I reassessed and started lifting weights instead. I'll probably get sick of that soon, too, but it's about listening to my body and striking balance when I can.

Mother's Day is coming up! What is your favorite thing about being a mom? Seeing Bernie's [Yeh's 2-year-old daughter] smiling face every day. Whenever she gets excited about something—which is so often—whether it's Elmo [on TV] or building with blocks or reading books, I just love being in the presence of her joy.

EatingWell, May 2021