Why Food Is So Important To Jake Gyllenhaal

Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, some may say that acting is in Jake Gyllenhaal's blood. According to Useless Daily, Gyllenhaal's parents, director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner, are both heavily embroiled in the world of show business, and so is his older sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, a fellow actor. Naturally, Gyllenhaal kick-started his acting career early on, making his big-screen debut opposite Billy Crystal in "City Slickers" when he was just 11 years old (via The Things). The talented star went on to build a remarkable acting career, starring in cult-classic "Donnie Darko" alongside his sister, and landing his first leading role in "October Sky" when he was just 17 years old. "He really gave me my first shot. And I owe him a lot that he believed in me," said Gyllenhaal in an interview with GQ, referring to "October Sky" director Joe Johnson (via Hey Alma).

Famed for the depth and authenticity of the characters he plays, Gyllenhaal has been honored with a slew of award nominations and wins for his incredible talent, including winning the BAFTA for his role in "Brokeback Mountain." While stars aren't really just like us, they share a few things in common with us regular folk. For one — they also gotta eat! In an interview with Ruthie Rogers on the food-based podcast, "River Cafe Table 4," Gyllenhaal dives into his unique history with food and dining and why it's so meaningful to him.

Some of Gyllenhaal's most treasured childhood memories were at the dinner table

For decades, The River Cafe in London has been a regular dining destination for renowned celebrities worldwide, including Emily Blunt and Michael Cain, as noted by The New York Times. In her podcast, Ruth Rogers, the British chef who owns and runs the beloved Michelin-star restaurant, interviews her famous diners about their memories surrounding food. In this episode, Rogers sits down with Gyllenhaal and asks him what family meals were like in his house growing up.

"I would say, rather honestly, food and meals were the only thing that really worked. And by that, the only thing without drama or tumult," said the "Nocturnal Animals" star. Not only was the entire Gyllenhaal family involved in the Hollywood scene, but the actor claims that they were also "competitive" and "partial control freaks." 

"The thing that was pure, the thing that was clear, was always the meal," Gyllenhaal concluded. In each podcast episode, Rogers asks her guests to read out their favorite recipe from one of the River Cafe cookbooks. Gyllenhaal's pick was a simple yet delicious tomato sauce recipe. "25 years of cookbooks, and 11 books, and so many recipes that you could have chosen, but you chose tomato sauce," Rogers remarked, asking Gyllenhaal to explain his choice to her audience. When it comes to food, Gyllenhaal believes that "simple is the most difficult." And the key to good cooking? Using the best ingredients.