Former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo Opened Her Own Restaurants To Spread 'Love And Joy'

It's not just in our heads. Celebrities are making forays into the food world left and right. There has been a slew of celebrities really leaning into their cooking game, especially since the COVID quarantine. Selena Gomez, for example, started a cooking show, "Selena Gomez + Chef" that fans are eating up. Sometimes those who don't cook open restaurants and hire chefs instead. For example, Priyanka Chopra – who told Drew Barrymore that she enjoys eating but not cooking (via YouTube) – opened an Indian spot called SONA last year (via Vogue).

But for Olivia Culpo, the food world came before fame. According to her website, she gets a real kick out of cooking for family members and friends. Culpo, who was crowned as Miss Universe in 2012, also grew up watching her father run restaurants and wanted to follow in his footsteps at a young age, per The Providence Journal. Well, it looks like she not only threw her hat in the ring but did it more than once.

A labor of food love

In a recent episode of the "Food Network Obsessed" podcast, Olivia Culpo opened up about many details of her life from fame to food, revealing that she co-owns two restaurants in her home state of Rhode Island: Back 40 and Union & Main. Partly owned by her father as well, Back 40 first opened its doors to guests in 2017 while Union & Main made its big debut this year, reports The Providence Journal.

As Culpo explained during the podcast, food was important to her as a child because it was a way of "celebrating together" with her big family. Her mother always offered food to guests. According to Culpo, food is "also creative and it's fulfilling, and it's a sign of love." Eating out was a "luxury" to her growing up, especially because her family was so large. So the idea of being able to spread the same "love and joy" and excitement she felt was too good to pass up.

Though Olivia Culpo's fame helped entice customers to come to Union & Main when it opened, The Providence Journal predicted that people will keep coming back for the ambiance and food. One of the reported highlights of the menu is a Korean BBQ chicken sandwich. Back in 2017, described Back 40 as "a relaxed venue focused on comfort food with the occasional twist." Some of the menu items that stood out were chicken pot pie-inspired fries and the lobster roll.