Celebrity Chefs and Food Network Stars Share Their Sweetest Throwback Photos with Mom for Mother's Day
Buddy Valastro & Mary Valastro
"This is me and momma at my engagement dinner about 17 years ago. I vividly remember how excited and proud she was that night — bouncing all over the room, with a huge smile on her face. She took any opportunity to boast about the wedding, me, my bride, and the babies that would inevitably be coming that she couldn’t wait to hold and spoil. It’s been nearly a year now without my mother and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her and her incredible energy. I’m so thankful she had the chance to meet, love, and hold all four of my children. To be in the presence of my mother and to know her was such a gift that I will remain forever grateful for."
Gail Simmons & Renee Simmons
"This is my mom, Renee Simmons, and me, when I was about 16 months old, sitting on the front stoop of our house in the sunshine, eating what looks like a delicious chocolate chip cookie! I love my mom’s super-70s outfit here as well as how relaxed and happy we look. I also love the little dimples on each of the knuckles of my little hand. My favorite thing about looking at a picture of myself at this age is that my daughter Dahlia looked so similar at the same age. It’s actually quite amazing. My mother juggled so much when we were small and I am always amazed at how capable and confident she was. She worked full time, raised three children and it always felt like she was there for us without exception; for breakfast, lunch or after school, to make us healthy dinners together every night, take us to countless classes and sports, nurture us when we were down and celebrate our accomplishments, throw us elaborate birthday parties and plan lots of quality family time too. She definitely was responsible for fostering in me a strong sense of self-worth and a broad global perspective, which led to a love of food, travel and culture, as well as a curiosity about the world around me, and ultimately to my own career. I don’t know how she did it exactly, but I truly hope I am able to do the same for my daughter, and our second baby which is on the way (due by the end of May!). Happy Mother’s Day Mom! You are the gold standard by which all my mothering is emulated and measured! THANK YOU!"
Alex Guarnaschelli & Maria Guarnaschelli
"As you can see from the photo, my mom and I share a love of food and of being in the kitchen. She is bossy though! And so am I. My mother is a cookbook queen and cook. She follows recipes to the letter. I’m more of a throw-things-together-type. We meet somewhere in the middle—especially on Mother’s Day!"
Guy Fieri & Penny Ferry
"This is my mom reading me a recipe out of the local newspaper. Thank you for the great examples that I follow in raising my kids. You’ve always kept it real and you’re an awesome mom."
Tia Mowry & Darlene Mowry
“I have many memories of playing on this swing set. I can still hear the screeching sound from the swing going back and forth. This was on my birthday and my mother always made me feel so special on that day. It was a huge celebration. She really taught me at a young age that life is to be celebrated. You only get one.”
Andrew Zimmern & Caren Heyman Zimmern
"This is my mother and I after a particularly joyous birthday celebration of hers, taken a few years before she passed away. My mother was my tireless champion, the one whom above all others never stopped believing in me. When everyone had given me up for dead in the late 1980’s, she kept the candle burning, hoping someday I would recover from my seemingly hopeless condition as a homeless street addict and alcoholic. For decades, I was a user of people and a taker of things, and no one took more abuse than my mother. The great joy of my life was getting sober and staying sober not only so she could see that her faith paid off, but also that for as much as she took care of me throughout much of my life, I was able to return that commitment to her over the last 15 years or so of hers. My Mother’s Day dedication is to all the mothers and care givers of the world who so righteously stand by their kids no matter what, the embodiment of truly unconditional love."
Ludo Lefebvre & Colette Colin
"It is hard to have no family members that live in America, but Mom comes and visits every other year. It is so special to be able to share my restaurants with her when she comes. But I promise you my very French mother never thought I would be serving ice hot cocoa with spiced whip cream and jimmies. Good to keep Mom guessing."
Geoffrey Zakarian & Viola Zakarian
"This photo was taken in Greenwich Village in front of my apartment at 70 Perry St. Probably around 1990. We both loved sitting on steps and watching the world go by and chat. We would do it all the time in Worcester, Massachusetts where I grew up. NYC streets are made to people watch. Invariably the subject always turned to food. When she visited me in NYC I always treated her to a dinner a Le Cirque or another fancy restaurant."
Duff Goldman & Jacqueline Winch
“The apple don’t fall far from the tree.”
Donatella Arpaia & Maria Arpaia
"This photo was taken at an event in NYC where my mom cooked my award winning meatballs with me. She was very nervous to be in front of a lot of people but once we started, she couldn’t help but criticize my cooking and tell me everything I was doing wrong. The audience fell in love with our mother daughter interaction. At the end of the demo, everyone wanted photos with my mom and she ate it up. I was so happy that she got to be in the spotlight! She has always been my inspiration, her kindness and strength is a beautiful gift she has given me. She showed her love for her family through her food and it has inspired my work and life."
Judy Joo & Chris Young Nim Joo
"In this photo I strangely remember fighting with my sister over the coloring book in the foreground, which is why we look like we are both mad in the photo. I completely remember and loved that yellow onesie I am wearing too. It was a jumpsuit with the feet built in, and a hoodie all in one. The feet had a slightly plasticky material on the bottom, so whenever I walked it made this scuffing brushing sound and I never could sneak up on anyone. My mom always taught me to value myself from within and that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to. It was never important to be the prettiest in the class or the best dressed, etc; it was only important to be the smartest, work the hardest, and get the best grades. Because my self worth was always derived from within, I have a much stronger sense of self worth and confidence in my adult life. It is this confidence that also allows me to shoot for the stars— something that my mom always told me to do. You may not always catch one, but you have to try your damn hardest, take the risk and try try try!"
Michael Schulson & Pearl Schulson
"This photo with my mother was taken when I got engaged to my amazing wife Nina and I shared the news with my parents. It’s so meaningful because it shows the joy my mother has for my amazing wife and how happy she was for me. It's one thing to marry your best friend but it’s another thing when your mom is so happy about the person you are marrying. My mother is truly a special person and I’m so grateful for all that she has done."