You may remember him as a Chelsea Lately regular or as Ross the Intern from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. But Ross Mathews is no longer just the sidekick. He’s a host on Fox’s Hollywood Today Live as well as his own podcast, Straight Talk with Ross Mathews.
But celebrities and pop culture aren’t his only jam. He’s also a self-described foodie who cooks up a storm at home, putting to use tips and tricks he picks up from guest appearances on cooking shows like The Next Food Network Star and Dinner at Tiffani’s. “I get a spark of an idea and then make it my own,” Mathews explains.
The red carpet host hasn’t always made the best food decisions. “My choice back in the day was, ‘Let’s eat a bag of Cheetos!’” says Mathews. Now you’re more likely to find him snacking on honeycrisp apples, string cheese, and carrots. And the result? He feels better than ever (and recently lost 34 pounds). “I want to be around for a long time and I think that it starts with food,” he notes.
The TV host invited us to peek inside his refrigerator, to see what he’s into—from sriracha to specialty eggs—now that Cheetos are off the menu.
You have a really organized fridge! Does it always look so nice and neat?
That’s how we roll. I like my refrigerator to look like a grocery store so I know what I’m shopping for. Honestly, it looks like this most days. I like to have it all presented to me so I’m not reaching for the first bad thing I see. I’m trying to make good choices. There’s a lot of protein in there and lots of vegetables and fruit. I grow my own lemons and limes.
How do you use the lemons and limes?
I have water with lemon and lime and I cook with a lot of citrus. I use it when I cook chicken or fish. If we make pozole, we use some lime on top. And soup. We make a big pot of soup every week.
Do you make the same soup every week or change it up?
I change up. It has the same base—carrot, celery, onions and garlic—and I make my own stock with chicken. I cook the chicken and then use whatever’s left for the stock. Then I go crazy. Sometimes I make chicken noodle or chicken quinoa and bean. I make it fun and go from there.
Is there a signature Ross cooking style?
When I was growing up, the spiciest thing I ever ate was ketchup. We ate meatloaf and mashed potatoes and canned green beans. And I still love a good meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Salvador, my partner, grew up on Mexican food. My cooking is a hybrid of the practicality my mother had and the excitement of Salvador’s family.
I see there’s a big piece of ginger in your crisper drawer. What do you use it for?
I love ginger. I make this chicken fried rice with it. I cook up some chicken with stir fry vegetables like baby corn, water chestnuts, broccoli. Then in another pot, I cook quinoa with chicken stock and lemon juice. I put that all together with some soy sauce, fish sauce or whatever you want to do. Then, I put some egg white in there as a binder. It’s like chicken fried rice but healthier. You can also put some chili garlic sauce and a little sriracha on top. It’s also good with ground chicken or ground turkey.
What’s in the plastic container on the top shelf? Are those tomatoes?
I just started eating tomatoes. I like things with tomato like salsa and tomato sauce but eating a tomato was never for me. You know how when you grow up, your taste grows up a little bit? Now I love heirloom tomatoes. I have those with some cottage cheese with dinner sometimes.
What would people be surprised to find in your fridge?
A1 sauce. When you’re grilling a chicken breast or anything, sometimes it’s boring. A1 is a celebration in every bite.
What’s your favorite thing in your fridge?
I love the eggs we have. We buy Happy Eggs because they’re so humane with their hens. We want to be responsible when we’re eating.
Another fan of fresh produce and soup? Today correspondent Jenna Wolfe, who eats 425 calories of fruits and veggies per day.