Meet the Tastemaker: Pepper Teigen
Pepper is the Southeast Asian auntie we knew + loved growing up - always cracking jokes, making sure you’re fed, and flashing a megawatt smile that can light up any room.
Mom to supermodel extraordinaire and beloved celeb Chrissy Teigen, Pepper (whose official name is Vilailuck) is originally from Korat, a city in Thailand’s Isan region. This area is known for its rich culinary history - and that embedded itself into Pepper’s life from an early age. She is the oldest of five children, spending much of her childhood helping her mom cook and sell food outside of the local schools.
Pepper brought this depth of experience and love for Thai food to the US - even when it wasn’t easy to do so.
“She didn’t cook American food until she came here, but she did her best to learn so she could make meals that her American family would love. After she fed us, she’d cook a separate Thai meal for herself, from scratch, using whatever Asian-ish ingredients she could find at our local grocery store in Utah, Washington, Idaho, Ohio, or wherever we were living at the time,” recounts Chrissy.
As first-gen Vietnamese Americans ourselves, that experience hits home - an immigrant family whose dinner times so represent this “third culture.” To find a partner like Pepper who “makes it work,” no matter where she is, just feels so special. (Fun fact: whenever the family goes on vacation, Pepper always packs a box of Mama instant noodles + her krok - a wooden mortar and pestle!)
Pepper’s Krapow starter is especially unique, as it is the first product of its kind to proudly feature MSG as an ingredient. We have long been passionate about MSG and engaging with our community about how much of the backlash against this ingredient is rooted in anti-Asian xenophobia and debunked science. Turns out Pepper is a huge fan of MSG (she frequently has to clarify with customs that it’s MSG in her bag!), so we joined forces to show the world that it is 100% safe and 100% damn delicious 🔥
We couldn’t have asked for a better partner to collaborate with for our bright and bold Krapow starter. Perhaps the most perfect sign? Vilailuck Teigen was nicknamed “Pepper” because of her love for spices - and real recognize real 🙏🏽