The untold truth of Trisha's Southern Kitchen

Trisha Yearwood has been nicknamed "Queen" by the legendary Garth Brooks — to whom she's been married since 2005 — and the moniker he's chosen for his wife couldn't be more appropriate. Yearwood is known for smash hits like "She's in Love With the Boy," "Walkaway Joe," "How Do I Live," and countless other hits, with 27 Grammy nominations and three wins (one more than her husband!) under her belt. In her own right, she's a legitimate country music superstar, but it isn't just the stage where she earns her nickname — it's in the kitchen, too.  

Yearwood's hit Food Network show, Trisha's Southern Kitchen, debuted in 2012 and as of 2018 is in its tenth season of production. She's managed to make the move from country music to country cooking look seamless, and has gained whole new fan base with her accessible recipes and drool-worthy comfort foods. So how did she make the transition? And how did she make it look so easy? Read on to learn all about Trisha Yearwood's hit show, along with a few tidbits about the star herself and what it's like when she's in the kitchen with Garth.

She's a control freak

Although it might be tempting to sit back and let the "professionals" do all the heavy lifting, Yearwood is not content to watch from the sidelines, especially when it comes to the creative direction of Trisha's Southern Kitchen. "I'm pretty controlling," Yearwood told the Lincoln Journal Star. "I'm a Virgo, so by nature I'm in the middle of everything I do, but I like that. I think it's important, especially for this show, to maintain its authenticity, for it to really be what I want to do. It's simple things. We work with this incredible culinary kitchen at Food Network, and they're great. But they know what they know and they're all classically trained chefs and I'm not. So simple things, like the first time I sifted flour on the show they had me doing it patting the bottom of this thing and it's going to take me two days to sift the flour. I'm like 'I use a $2 sifter from Walmart that you crank and it's done in two seconds. Oh, we can do that.' Simple things like what utensils you're going to use, how you would do it, what bowl you're going to put it in."

Yearwood even admits to spending time on her day "off" working on details of the show. She admitted to CountryLiving, "I go through a grid of recipes from all three of my cookbooks to see what we've used and what we haven't on my cooking show…"

It's a grueling schedule

We already know she works on her days off, so what does an actual work day look like for Tricia Yearwood? If you think filming a television show is all fun and games, think again. Cowboys & Indians got the inside scoop, and we're tired just reading about it. "A regular day of filming starts about 8 a.m. and ends about 8 p.m. I usually start off doing a sit-down interview that sort of takes the viewer through what the episode is about. These interview pieces will be cut into the show all throughout. There are usually four 'acts' per episode, and I usually cook three to five dishes, depending on how difficult they are and/or how much time they take to prepare," Yearwood explained. "I almost always have at least one guest, so we figure out how we're going to choreograph each act, rehearse it, and then shoot each act. I have a culinary team who makes sure we have all the ingredients we need, and for time's sake, we can swap out dishes in progress with finished dishes. I wish I had those gals at home to help me!"

Just one question: When is nap-time?

It got her halfway to an EGOT

The EGOT: An acronym for what is called the "grand slam of show business." It represents a win at all four major award shows — the Emmys, the Grammys, the Oscars, and the Tonys.

By the time she started cooking on Trisha's Southern Kitchen, Yearwood already had a few Grammys — one for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and two for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals — but the show nailed down the Emmy portion of the equation for her. In 2013, just one year after its debut, the show nabbed a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Culinary Program, tying with Best Thing I Ever Made. Four years later the show was again nominated in the same category, but was beat out by Eat the World with Emeril Lagasse. Yearwood doesn't seem to be phased by the loss though, reportedly saying, "If you would have asked me 20 years ago what I wanted to accomplish in my career, I would not have said, 'I want to win a Daytime Emmy.' But the show won one on the second season and got nominated again, so pretty cool."

Even if she never wins a Tony or an Oscar, she's well ahead of most.

It's not actually filmed in her home

The kitchens we've seen Yearwood cooking in look so authentically "Trisha" that it's easy to picture her whipping up breakfast for Garth and hosting holiday dinner parties for family. But aside from season one, which was filmed in her Nashville home, those kitchens aren't actually hers.

Yearwood told Wendy Williams that it's all about logistics, and among other problems (which we'll let Trisha explain that momentarily), fitting 30 crew members into a regularly configured kitchen (for 12 hours a day, no less) is no easy task. "If you think about it, in most kitchens the cooktop faces the wall, so there'd be just a lot of butt shot, and [my butt] looks good now, but still I don't want to show that side…" she explained, referencing her weight loss. The solution? Rent a house, complete with a cooktop in the island, and remove the possibility of gratuitous butt shots. 

Her Williams Sonoma stalking situation

Thanks to the success and popularity of Trisha's Southern Kitchen, Yearwood was able to see a long-time dream realized with the launch of her Williams Sonoma collection. She jokingly admits that this partnership may have been the result of a bit of stalking on her part, telling the crowd at an event, "The kindest way I can say this, is that this partnership has been a slow, stalking situation for me from day one." Yearwood continued to profess her love for the store, saying, "I could totally work here. If you have a question about any item in the store, please come ask me where to find it."

We're willing to bet that Williams Sonoma is a-okay with a little stalking in this case, given that her cocktail mix, Christmas in a Cup, broke digital sales records and sold out at several locations nationwide. Forbes reports that thanks to Yearwood's plug on T's Coffee Talk, her weekly Facebook Live show, the product became the store's best-selling holiday cocktail mix ever. Not bad for a country singer, right? 

In the kitchen with Garth

If you've heard even one interview with Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks, it's abundantly clear that the couple is head over heels in love. Fans of Trisha's Southern Kitchen know that his appearances on her show make for some of the best moments, as he hams it up for the camera to the delight of his wife. But what's he really like in the kitchen, once the cameras are gone? Does he get his hands dirty?

Yearwood told Cowboys & Indians that Brooks is happy to step in and get cooking. "Garth's a really good cook, and he's not afraid to try anything," she said. "I do love to cook, and I would say I do the majority of the cooking, but he's definitely got his specialties."

And those specialties will make your mouth water. Yearwood gave Today a little insight to her husband's go-to recipes, saying, "He makes breakfast for dinner; he does this breakfast bowl layering everything you'd eat for breakfast like eggs, bacon, sausage and biscuits in a bowl. It's pretty heavy, but you know, he's able to eat like that as a man… He also makes a really good warm pasta salad with tortellini, cheese and olive oil. He does a lot of warm, yummy comfort food. When I cook, I like to go off of a recipe, but he likes to experiment and figure it out based on what's in the kitchen." Drool.

Her most popular recipe

If there's one thing Trisha Yearwood wants, it's for her recipes to be accessible to home cooks. After all, she herself is a home cook with no professional culinary training. She explained her food philosophy to Redbook, saying that "some of the best food is the most simple and basic stuff." 

Proof of that? Today asked Yearwood about her most popular recipe; the one people always ask about, and while the dish could definitely be considered "simple and basic," it's certainly not bland and boring. "The thing that people have said over and over again, especially people who don't cook is, 'I watch your show, the food makes me hungry, and I think I can make that.' That's exciting because we've heard that a lot of people watch cooking shows, but don't make the food," she said. "One that I know people really like is my Crock-Pot mac and cheese. It's comfort food that's good for Super Bowl parties and easy to make." With five cups of cheese, we can understand why it's a favorite.

Revamping southern classics

While southern cooking is Yearwood's specialty, she recognizes that the traditional dishes aren't always the best choice, and wants the recipes on her show to reflect that.

"I agree wholeheartedly that traditional Southern cooking isn't the healthiest way to eat. It's important to tell people that eating this food isn't a daily way of life. (Everybody already knows that, right?) But when you want that comfort food fix, this is how you do it," she told Cowboys & Indians. "We should all try to eat healthy most of the time and indulge occasionally so we don't have to feel guilty about it. There are ways to lighten up some of the heavier recipes, and then there are some, like Crock-Pot mac and cheese, that are just rich and decadent, and you should enjoy it when you have it, then maybe eat a grape the next day and you're balanced out! I'm always trying to figure out how to make these comfort foods healthy without sacrificing flavor. I try to include those tips on the show when I develop them… I'd love to take the show more in that direction as I figure it out for myself."

But there's one thing you'll always see in her recipes: Butter. Yearwood has described butter as "a miracle," and will never ban it from her dishes, though she might sneak in a little olive oil and vegetable broth instead. Don't worry though — she swears no one will notice the swap. 

She didn't want to do the show

Before there was a cooking show, there was a cookbook. Yearwood's first release, Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen, was her way to honor her father; a place to compile all the family recipes — but she definitely didn't expect it to lead to Trisha's Southern Cooking. "I never dreamed it would be successful and especially a New York Times bestseller, never thought it would lead to another book, a show. So I'm the most surprised person that I have a cooking show." Yearwood said.

She told SheKnows that it actually took a bit of arm twisting to get her to to do the show. "Well, it took a lot to talk me into it! …when the idea of doing a show came about, I didn't want to at first. I wasn't sure if it would be fun. I didn't want to stand behind a counter by myself just reading off a recipe," Yearwood explained. "A friend of mine said it can be whatever I want it to. I can have my friends and family on it, tell stories from where the recipes came from, and interact in the kitchen. It's been a lot of fun — everything is natural and we all hang out together."

She wasn't always a good cook

She might look like a natural in the kitchen now, but growing up Yearwood says she had just one goal in mind and it had nothing to do with cooking. "It's funny. If you asked me when I was 5 years old, I was so focused on being a singer that I would never have said 'I want to grow up and have a cooking show, and cookbooks, and furniture, and cookware, and home accessories.'"

But that all changed when she went away to college and started to crave her mom's cooking. "My mother was a school teacher and everyday she'd get home at 3:30 and there'd be a home-cooked meal on the table at 6 when my dad got home from work, every single day," she told the Lincoln Journal Star. "I took it for granted as a kid. I really didn't learn how to cook until I moved away, went to college, missed her cooking, was eating vegetables out of a can, going 'OK, how do I do this?' She taught me then, over the phone, how to make things. The first time I was able to make something of hers, that tasted like hers and it wasn't hard to make, it changed my life."

She'd pick music over cooking in a heartbeat

Let's hope that nobody ever forces Tricia Yearwood to choose just one career, because fans of Trisha's Southern Kitchen would be devastated. When asked by CBS News' Jeff Glor if she'd rather people thought of her as a singer or a cook, Yearwood responded, "Yes! I mean, if you said, 'Trisha, you have to pick one thing that you can do every day for the rest of your life,' I would pick music. Absolutely. That is what feeds my soul."

When she and Brooks first married they made a decision to slow down, both for the sake of their marriage and Brooks' three daughters. But they slowly started dipping their toes back into the country music scene, and in 2017 the couple completed a three-year run of the Garth Brooks World Tour Featuring Trisha Yearwood. The tour seems to have whet her appetite for music again — but don't worry… she has no plans to end her show. "I'm going to start a new record in 2018. I'm going to sleep most of January. Then I'm going to start a new record, "Yearwood joked with One Country." And the cooking show is still going on, so I'll have that. That's the plan right now."

Basically, she's the Superwoman of country music and southern cooking.