Hollywood icon Pamela Anderson has had many dreams come true in her decades-long career. But one dream that she has been waiting on for many years is the opportunity to have her own cooking show where she can learn everything about the culinary world. Now, after the success of her HGTV show Pamela’s Garden of Eden, Pamela’s dream is coming true with Pamela’s Cooking With Love set to premiere on Food Network Canada in 2024. Some of the world’s most exciting chefs join Pamela in her kitchen on the coast of Vancouver Island to make the perfect plant-based meal for a dinner party at the end of each episode. We recently sat down with Pamela to discuss all things Pamela’s Cooking With Love season one. Read on for why this means so much to Pamela, how her son Brandon helped make it happen, what might surprise viewers about this show and what’s next in her cooking adventures.
You’ve been vegan for a long time and are now bringing your love for veganism and dinner parties to Food Network Canada. What inspired you to take on Pamela’s Cooking with Love?
I wanted to do a vegan cooking show a long time ago, and I brought it to Food Network U.S. like 30 years ago and they were like ‘What are you talking about? Nobody wants to hear about plant-based cooking!’ But I’ve always been an eternal kind of homemaker, and I feel like that was part of the reason why Brandon was so insistent on me doing and him producing the documentary [Netflix’s Pamela, A Love Story]. People really got to know me as a person, as a woman, as a mother, and as a homemaker.
This has always been my dream to have a cooking show. Always, always, always. Brandon came to me and said, ‘Mom, your dream is going to come true.’ And now we are on Food Network Canada, which is even better because I am so insistent on doing Canadian projects and working with Canadian production companies.
I’ve been an activist for a very long time. I’ve always fought for animal rights, human rights, vulnerable people, vulnerable beings and nature and climate change. All of those things are things that have really applied to my life and to my celebrity or whatever you want to call it. So I don’t really even want to say the word ‘vegan’ when it comes to the show. We’re just celebrating vegetables. This is just how we eat.
It’s a very sensual, compassionate way of entertaining. This is just a celebration of the way I love to cook. I was so blessed because I’ve always wanted to go to culinary school. That never happened because I always thought if I’m just cooking vegetables that [would] probably [be] really hard to find a culinary school [like] that. But [on Pamela’s Cooking With Love] Michelin star chefs, James Beard Award winners, and all these incredible chefs from all over the world came to my little barn on the island, and we cooked the most amazing mind-blowing meals. I mean, my head just exploded every episode. I was so excited! I was like a sponge, just soaking it all in!
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So because I’m a very outdoorsy person, I love to eat outdoors and create beautiful dinner parties for family and friends. And so it’s all these entertaining little tips. It’s also a lot of crafty things because I’m actually a very crafty person. I love to make candles and flower arrangements and I don’t know, I was just in heaven. It went by so fast. I just want to do it again.
I’ve cooked my whole life. I love to cook.
Everything about the show, from the table settings to the kitchen, looks so beautiful!
That’s a big draw! I love setting the table. It’s just as important as the food. We eat with our eyes as well as our stomachs. So I feel like it was really nice to be able to share that on a stage like a TV show that I can share with so many people instead of just my kids, my kids’ friends and their girlfriends.
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I’ve cooked my whole life. I love to cook. People have always loved my cooking, but this took it to a whole other level. And so it’s not just the basics of cooking with vegetables. It’s serious cooking. It was challenging and beautiful and just kind of just makes your head just spin because there’s just so much you can do. I think that’s what’s going to be very inspiring about the show, is that it’s not your basic plant-based beginner cooking show. It’s about seriously entertaining and making beautiful things and putting the effort in.
Is there anything that you think will surprise viewers most about this show?
Everything’s a surprise! I don’t know if people realize how much I love entertaining and cooking. So I just think in that setting might be a little bit different. I feel I’m a romantic activist and I feel like this is a way to kind of [show] the proof is in the pudding! Showing people authentically how [my sons and I] live and create and build and share things. It’s really fun to do these projects because it just magnifies all the things I’ve learned in my life and want to share.
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Do you have a favourite moment from filming the show?
Well, my great-auntie Vie won all the pickle and mustard awards on the island. She had all those ribbons on her fridge, and she wrote a book called From Pickles to Pearls. So there is a pickle episode, which I am just crazy about. My pickle game has been elevated! I got to work with David Zilber from [The Noma Guide to Fermentation], and we preserved lemons and pickles. If you’re a pickle person, you’re going to freak out.
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I’m a pickle person, so I’m excited to see it! Do you have any favourite vegan restaurants in Canada?
We can go anywhere and I can order vegetables! You don’t have to go to a vegan restaurant, I think I can always find something to eat anywhere. You know, I’m trying not to really push the whole vegan thing!
I’m writing a cookbook and I’m not saying the word vegan in it because I don’t want to be stuck on the part of the shelf with the vegan cookbooks. I want access for all! I’m not someone to dictate how someone’s supposed to eat. So this [show] is just really celebrating plants, my garden, being self-sustainable… vegetables and eating really healthy, but not boring!
This is just a celebration of the way I love to cook.
Vegetables can totally be the main star of a dish!
You have to make that the star of the dish! Like cauliflower or cabbage… and that’s what we really proved on the show. If you went to a dinner party with all that food, you would not miss anything. Guaranteed. Promise you!
This interview has been edited and condensed.